• LET'S TALK ABOUT: SUSTAINABLE KNITWEAR

    Knitted Love Handgestrickte Pullover

    Orsola Bertini, the designer of Knitted Love explains...

    Since when do you deal with the topic of sustainability? 

    After racing around the world as a fashion manager for many years, one day I said "stop" to the fashion industry and disposable consumption. I wanted to create a project, that could embrace my values of quality over quantity, fair working conditions, support women and small local suppliers, reduce pollution and respect the animals. Since the end of 2015 Knitted-Love has been my idea of downshifting.  

    Was there a key moment? 

    Moving to Austria to a small city of Carinthia, surrounded by lake and nature, in a house with wood heating helped me to slow down and discover new values in life.

    Can you explain us why a sweater costs 450 Euros? 

    Every piece is made by hand only using only knitting needles or crochet hooks. To give you an example: to hand-knit a regular scarf  (25 cm large/150 cm long) I need 24 minutes x 10 cm. This means that, including the finishing, behind 1 scarf there are around 10 hours of hand-work, excluding the cost of the material. 

    I strongly believe in fair working conditions and fair wages, but I do not believe that producing overseas is really an empowerment action for the people who live there.

    I see people struggling here every day, they can hardly cope with their pension or their small paycheck. That’s why I produce locally between Italy and Austria, working directly with women in need. I personally know each one of them, listen to their stories and try to meet their wishes. They do something they really love (most of them are “knitting-addicted”!) and can work in the comfort of their homes, without any pressure. That’s why I believe my products carry positive vibes only, because they are made by happy people ;) 

    The materials I use are an important part of what makes every Knitted-Love piece a luxury item. All my yarns and fabrics are 100% made in Italy or Germany. My suppliers are mainly small local businesses, that are recognized for the best quality, design and colors of their products also by well-known brands such as Brunello Cucinelli, Valentino, Stella McCartney.

    Of course I know that I cannot compete price-wise with clothings made overseas in China, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Vietnam,... But I will not compromise by paying a cheaper price and increase my own mark-up. 

    If you see a hand-knitted sweater that costs 100 euros, the possibilities are the following:

    • it’s not really hand-made with knitting needles, but with a knitting machine controlled by hand (that saves a lot of time!) 
    • it’s not made with 100% natural wool, it may have some acryl or polyester mixed in
    • it’s not locally manufactured
    • it’s sold directly from the designer, without the mark-up of the shop (most of the shops use a mark-up of 2.5 to 3.0 on all the products they sell)

    I am aware I did not choose an easy way, because many people still do not understand the difference between my brand and others. But I am sure I chose the right path, allowing everyone who buys Knitted-Love to experience the possession of a luxury “hand-made-to-order” limited edition timeless piece.

    The limited crewneck sweater with handmade "blablabla"-embroidery, is realized with pure cashmere recycled fibers

    What is the meaning of "Pure Cashmere Recycled Fibres" ? 

    I first would like to talk about cashmere in general. It’s not a secret that in the last decade cashmere has been "disrupted" and is not a sustainable fiber anymore. With the increase of the demand, conditions of goats and pastures got worse. People are so used to buying “on hand-feel”, so manufacturers are pushed to wash it with extra cycles, wasting huge amounts of water.

    That’s why my first choice has been to use only 100% recycled cashmere, Made in Italy.

    Italy's (and Scotland’s) meticulous techniques for spinning, knitting and weaving cannot be found elsewhere. They can make sweaters that last, that can be passed down from generation to generation, and they still use traditional methods that help with the material’s longevity: they simply wash it less…

    Not everybody knows that most of the world's highest quality cashmere is not soft to the touch in the beginning at all, but it gets softer over time!

    The “Pure Cashmere Recycled Fibres” I use are 100% sustainable and come from excess of Italian productions. They are sourced by “Green Line”, washed and reworked into new yarn by the historical manufacturer Filipucci. It is very interesting to read their press-release, in which they explain in detail their philosophy about responsible innovation. I am very proud to be among the designers to use such a special fiber!

    In addition to this, each of my sweaters has been stitched by hand with drawings and/or writings (that I have drawn with my own calligraphy) in the sunny land of Puglia, in the South of Italy.

    Do you have a secret sustainable hot spots in Austria? 

    I am very lucky… Austria is one of the best places for sustainable tourism! The mountains, the lakes, the forests, the animals, the mushrooms…

    But I would like to mention the St. Martin Chalets and one particular Chalet in Carinthia, the Nossberger Hütte. Throughout summer, they lug 20kg of supplies up the mountain three times a week to reduce the number of helicopter flights needed to supply the hut!

  • Comments on this post (1 comment)

    • ROSA ZAVERDINOU says...

      I WISH EVERY SUCCESS IN YOUR IDEA!

      January 06, 2019

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