They started a knitting revolution. Jade Harwood and Aurelie Popper, former fashion school buddies, transformed the wonderful world of knitting thanks to their on-trend knit kits and drool-worth designs. Attracting beginners and experts alike, Wool and the Gang bring together a global network of knitting fanatics to create sustainable fashion made with love. We caught up with the dynamic duo—and their flock of merry knittings—at New York hotspot The Wooly.
How did you get started with Wool and the Gang? The concept of Wool and the Gang was born out of a passion for sustainable fashion. We met while studying textile design at Central Saint Martins in London. After school, we both worked at Alexander McQueen and Balmain in Paris. Our initial idea was to bring back knitting in a way that was fun, cool, easy and fast. We wanted to dust off the “old image” of knitting.
During the past five years, we built a community of makers, and with a rising trend for transparent fashion, we’ve pushed our brand further by allowing our community of “Gang Makers” to make clothes for our customers through our online platform. Our vision is to reevaluate the traditional fashion business model; we want to connect people to the products they’re buying and to the people who make them. It’s all about transparency!
Localized, transparent manufacturing can actually speed up the traditional fashion cycle, all made possible using technology. Our Gang is growing around the world, delivering fashion in a sustainable way.
Have you been surprised by its success? We are surprised every day that our dream and vision has come to what it is today. It’s hugely grounding seeing the Wool and the Gang team enjoying and supporting our mission. However, we sincerely believe the time is now for change in fashion; this is the drive to bring a new business model to the industry. For us, it’s important to connect with your clothes whether you’ve made them yourself or someone has made them for you. So, in that sense, finding people who have this same value and passion isn’t a surprise, it’s a movement, and we’re proud to be a part of it.
Why do you think knitting and DIY crafts have become so popular? Learning a craft is the secret of happiness. We live in such a fast paced world, we think crafts have made a huge revival. As with food, there currently is a trend with going back-to-basics. Making your own clothes gives such a wonderful feeling of achievement, not to mention there is proven research that knitting is a form of meditation and can even help fight dementia. In last few years, the top five Google “how-to” searches were crochet, knitting and meditation. I think this is reflection of what people are craving in order to create balance in the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
What do you love about working in Wool and the Gang? We love bringing back the connection between yourself and clothes, from creation to wearing. That goes to appreciating the materials your clothes are made with, to the values of how your clothes are made, to ultimately feeling good in the clothes knowing they have been crafted in a sustainable way. We love good, timeless designs, therefore we love to design apparel and accessories that will withstand the test of time. A basic, good quality sweater will probably be worn with love and less likely end up in the fashion graveyard, a landfill.
What’s the most difficult thing you’ve ever knitted? Socks are the most challenging little things to knit but equally rewarding. We love to knit bonkers things, from giant six-foot snowflakes to yarn bombing over shiny disco balls.
What new developments do you have in the works? We have just started releasing our new spring and summer collection for 2015. People tend to think knits only are for winter, but we have the silkiest soft Pima Cotton, which is perfect for summer breezy evenings. We’re adding a new craft category to the mix, which includes knit pillows and we will also be introducing a crochet homeware collection in May. We also encourage our community to host knit parties in their home or a local bar or cafe where you get to bring your friends together and get your knit on. We have two gorgeous, exclusive pieces for the spring and summer knit parties—a necklace as well as a clutch. We always have a few tricks or knitting sticks up our sleeve so watch this space! — WoolandtheGang.com