We know it’s hardly freezing out there, but the British summer does occasionally offer us a chance to get our chunky knits out – as well as our rain coats. So this week we’re featuring Genevieve Sweeney, one of the many ethical brands showcased at Mishcon de Reya’s Spring Style Gallery in association with Lawfully Chic.
First, a little bit about Genevieve herself: she’s a premium British knitwear designer, which has a very patriotic vibe (more in terms of production than design). With her jumpers, socks and skirts, Genevieve has taken her passion for knitting and traditional techniques and fused it with a strong sense of contemporary design. One of the things that surprised us when we met Genevieve was that she still does some of the hard graft herself. As well as sourcing and restoring rare, antique knitting machines – some of which haven’t been used for fifty years and which enable fresh stitch and yarn combinations – Genevieve still does some of the actual hand crafting herself.
The net (or should we say ‘knit’) result of Genevieve’s hard graft is stylish, high-quality knitwear that looks beautiful and lasts years. Genevieve has got some pretty impressive credentials too, having worked in New York, Switzerland and London for brands like Rag & Bone, Hugo Boss, Burberry and Lyle & Scott. What’s more, the relationships she has built with suppliers ensure that each piece she creates is notonly a sophisticated item of clothing, but also has its ownnarrative. The inquisitive customer can learn where the product was made and in what type of environment, as well as what materials were used. The upshot is that the luxury fibres are always sourced from Italy, but otherwise the brand is authentically British and relies upon the artisan skills of the UK knitwear industry. Unsurprisingly, Genevieve is a keen advocate of sustainability and uses small local mills to keep all production within the British Isles.
“I am very passionate about supporting the British knitwear industry from yarn spinners, manufacturing and bespoke cottage skills,” says Genevieve. “I’m currently in the process of applying for a grant to receive funding for a small knit factory so I can start apprenticeships and increase interest again.”
Click here to watch the brand video discussing the importance of supporting of Made in Britain and supporting artisan development.