29th June 2022
It is hard to challenge wool for its sustainability (sheep are not intensively reared). Wool, like hair, occurs naturally and is renewable i.e it quickly grows back. It is also a valuable bi-product of the meat market.
Not only is wool sustainable to grow but also to dispose of. Of course we intend all our our products to have a very long lifetime (when looked after correctly) but when it is finally time up for your item then the 100% natural wool will naturally biodegrade in the right conditions.
Wool decomposes readily in as little as three to four month but the rate vares with soil, climate and wool characteristics. This then releases essential element such as nitrogen, sulphur and magnesium back to the soil, able to be taken up by growing plants.
Made in Britain
We are proud to say that 100% of our products are made in Britain. Slowly and sustainably using a small batch production process. Skilled craftsmanship is key from the initial sketched designs, through to pressing, finishing and labelling. Everything is managed by experienced designers and makers.
For our core collection we are fortunate to be working with an English, family run factory based just outside Manchester, Rose has worked alongside the team for 10 years.
Our jumpers are handmade by a retired knitter who works from the comfort of her home in Lancashire. They are then posted to our studio for the final finishing process.
Our socks are manufactured in Derbyshire, our factory has an incredible history and has been knitting socks for 100 years. We are able to continue working with these incredible companies by using the factories seasonal downtime for our production. This enables the local skilled workforce continuity at work whilst supporting the future and heritage of the British textile industry.
Sheep Are Good
Sheep are part of the natural carbon cycle, consuming the organic carbon stored in plants and converting it to wool. “50% of the weight of wool is pure organic carbon.” Woollen textile products tend to be washed less frequently and at lower temperatures which has a low impact on the environment too.
The fleece for our yarn comes from sheep reared on farms which do not practise mulesing. Mulesing is the removal of strips of wool-bearing skin from around the breech of a sheep to prevent the parasitic infection flystrike. Although it is more expensive, this procedure can be avoided by more regular shearing.
We hate plastic, so much so that we've started a discussion with our suppliers to question their plastic packaging. While this is in debate we have sent alternative packaging for them to send forward our materials in. Some plastics are still unavoidable... our yarn comes spun onto plastic cones, which we utilise or return to the factory to be re used. Polythene bags that the yarn arrives in for protection are used to protect our yarn from moths, then reused to bundle items for wholesale deliveries. Large boxes which both our yarn and knitwear deliveries arrive in are reused and sent back out to stockists containing our wholesale orders. Our mail orders are sent in 100% recycled, recyclable, biodegradable paper bags and promotional material is printed onto 100% recycled card.
Our business generates very little waste. Unlike making items from woven cloth, you can create a piece of knitwear using the exact amount of yarn required. Ie. we knit the finished article on the machine and then it is ready for washing and finishing, there’s no cutting, no throwing away. Wool products have longer lifespans than other textile fibre products, if you invest in a decent wool jumper or scarf, you will never throw it away and it can last for generations. Statistically wool is one of the most recycled fibres. With a market share of 1.3% of all textile fibres, wool claims 5% within the recycled fibres market. And finally, at the very end of its lifespan, wool biodegrades readily, releasing important nutrients into the earth.
As we have previously mentioned, all our materials are sourced within the UK, because of this we also have a much lower carbon foot print than most, even the location of our factories means that trips are made by rail. When it comes to shipping your order we use Royal Mail to send most of our UK deliveries. Royal Mail has the the lowest reported carbon emissions per parcel as most of their work is done on foot. Our other courier DPD who are huge steps towards becoming carbon neutral with over 1500 fully electric delivery vehicles. You can read more about their sustainability plan here.
Also, on another important note, here's some information on how we don't just support our environment, but people and our community too.
Products that aren’t made to order in our Margate studio are knitted in our factory based in Greater Manchester. The factory pass a yearly Sedex Members Ethical Trade Audit (SMETA.) SMETA is an audit procedure which is a compilation of good practice in ethic audit technique, it uses the ETI code and local (UK) law as the measurement tool. SMETA covers Health & Safety, Labour Standards, Environment and Business Ethics. During visits to the factory Rose has spent time with the workers in both the machine room and where items are made up and finished. “Frequent trips are imperative to have confidence in the transparency of our label.” We source all our materials within Great Britain. This enables us to have more transparency and a better relationship with the companies in our supply chain. We are also passionate about investing in local enterprise and supporting our neighbours.
ROVE offers paid internships to students who want to learn more about design, production and running a small business. Our spinning mill, Todd & Duncan also nurtures new talent through sponsorship of students at over 15 fashion colleges and universities each year to encourage students to foster new challenges in cashmere product innovation.