Knitted things made from wool. That's our thing. But not all wool is equal. And it's often very hard to differentiate the different types available, the provenance of the wool and whether it comes from a good place.
There are so many different terms you've probably come across - 'British-spun,' 'locally-sourced,' 'certified,' 'organic' - but all of these can mean different things and that can be confusing, particularly when the price points of the end products can vary greatly.
We thought it would be helpful to breakdown some of the different phrases used and what we mean when we talk about wool.
100% British wool
When we, Navygrey, say we use 100% British wool, we mean that we use wool that is from only British sheep, that graze on British farms and land and which is spun into yarn here in the United Kingdom. British right through from soil to sheep to sweater.
However, the term 'British wool' can be used for wool that has just been spun into yarn here. We, for example, use a Lamb's Wool that is spun in Scotland, but the wool originates from South African. We detail this on every product page so as to be completely clear. We describe this wool as 'Scottish-spun but we would never consider this wool to be British wool.
It's very much like 'Scottish cashmere'. The goats from which the cashmere comes from are not reared in Scotland. Those goats will live on the grasslands of Mongolia and China - and the raw cashmere material is then transported to the mill in Scotland to be 'spun.'
What can add further confusion is when you read 'locally-sourced' - as this can mean a number of different things. Locally-sourced could refer to wool that comes from British sheep, but equally it might just refer to the location of the mill. But that 'local' mill, while based in Yorkshire, Lancashire or Scotland, will most likely have sourced said wool from much further afield.
It’s not that it’s wrong to use these terms, we just know that it can be confusing, as so many different brands and companies use different phrases, and so many of you have said that you'd love to have the differences explained.
Navygrey x GB
Our Navygrey x GB Collection is made with 100% British wool sourced exclusively from farms in the north-west of England - Lancashire, Cumbria and Yorkshire. Here farmers have farmed sheep for over two millennia, and in the process have weathered changes to the landscape, our cities and economies.
Our current collection is crafted entirely from one breed of sheep helping to reverse the decline in demand for British wool. The Bluefaced Leicester, bred into existence in the Eighteenth Century, yields the finest fleeces of any British breed. These sheep are helping to bring value back to an under-valued British industry, and to celebrate decades of connection between farmers, the land and their sheep.
We're thrilled to be on this journey supporting British farms and farmers, and celebrating our English heritage along the way. You can see some of the sheep shearing up in Lancashire here - captured last July.
The Responsible Wool Standard
The two other wools that we use are a Scottish-spun superfine Lamb's Wool and a superfine Merino wool that's spun in Italy and originates from Australia and New Zealand. All of the wool we use is traceable and always mulesing-free. You can find out more about that and what that means on our sustainability page just here.
Our Scottish-spun Lamb's Wool starts off as wool from South African sheep and once a year it is transported by boat to Scotland for washing, spinning, dyeing and finishing.
This wool is fully certified by the Responsible Wool Standard (RWS). This is a global, voluntary standard - addressing each stage of production, starting with the sheep themselves. The wool comes from farms that have a progressive approach to managing their land (protecting soil health, biodiversity and native species) and that protect the welfare of their sheep in accordance with the 'Five Freedoms' of animal welfare.
We hope this helps explain a little bit about our wool. We insist upon knowing where our wool comes from and make sure that the sheep, and everyone else, along the way is treated fairly.
100% natural, traceable wool every time. That's our promise to you. It's one of the things that make our jumpers and hats really special. Go-to pieces, that bring you home.