Aurelie and Jade at the Wool and the Gang HQ

Since I discovered Wool and the Gang back in January this year, the posse of knitters seem to be cropping up all over the shop; A feature in the sidebar of The Sunday Times Style section, a link from one of my favourite bloggers and a celebrity collaboration with some of my favourite British designers – it would appear the gang, keen on making knitwear sexy are gaining some much deserved momentum. I caught up with the founding knitters to find out how it feels to see Britain’s model of the moment sport your threads, what it means to be #madeunique  and why your gran’s old knitting needles might be the most en vogue accessory you own.

Please introduce yourselves. Aurelie Popper, 29, Geneva, Switzerland, Co Founder – Creative Director at Wool and the Gang and Jade Hardwood, 28, UK, Co Founder – Creative Director at Wool and the Gang

Where can we find you? woolandthegang.com, on twitter and insatgram @woolandthegang, on Facebook search Wool and the Gang and on you tube here.

How did the idea of launching Wool and the Gang come about? We both specialised in knitwear at Central Saint Martins and saw more potential into knitting than any other textile. Back then knitwear wasn’t as fashionable and trendy as it is now. What led us to Wool and the Gang was mainly the fact that we were fed up with mass production and fashion throw-aways and we wanted to create clothes that people will cherish and keep, as we do with all the valuable things in life. The main idea was to make knitting sexy and rock n roll.


At London Fashion Week wearing my very own #madeunique EEK hat

What are the biggest challenges you have faced and continue to face launching the Wool and the Gang brand? The biggest challenge is trying to do things differently of what it’s been in the fashion industry. We believe in sustainable design which is made unique. Therefore, we’re always strive to involve our community of makers into the production process and lately – an even bigger challenge – into the design process too.

Our second challenge is cutting the road from design concept to production. It takes us 2-4 weeks to turn trends to garments, a process which normally takes from 6 to 12 months to the rest of the fashion world. Producing fast and sustainable fashion while staying fresh is a constant challenge for us – which we so much enjoy :)

Knitwear has been reinvigorated by the likes of yourselves, SIBLING, Bella Freud, House of Dagmar and Mark Fast – why is wool spinning back into fashion? Because it’s versatile and playful, giving you endless possibilities to create different patterns and combinations. And also because there’s great emotion in it. All of us we picked up by someone who gave us its time and knowledge – most of us from our grandmothers. There’s a bit of nostalgia in knitting, an art that passes from one to another which is a nice social act too. What WATG does really well is using technology to pass on the art of knitting, we live online these days we believe people crave offline activities in the real world.


 You pledge to offer “fashion that’s produced in a unique, sustainable way”, can you briefly talk us through what it means to be #madeunique? It means that someone whose name you’ll find soon after you place your order, has handknitted your piece of clothing on her own time and place. It means that every single garment it’s made with great love and care by one of our makers who turn their passion into a financial activity via woolandthegang.com

 “Conscious Consumerism” is very much a buzz phrase of late, have you noticed an increased interest in where people are sourcing their clothing? It’s definitely time for change. The world’s resources are running out and fashion industry can’t be ignorant anymore. A year after the big Rana Plaza factory disaster in Bangladesh where more than 1,000 people lost their lives, £5m are still owned by big retailers to the workers and their families while 202 out of a sample of 1,436 people were under 18 years old. It is important to know who made your clothes and under which conditions. Buying clothing isn’t just a fashion statement, is a conscious and responsible act. We are what we buy.

You collaborated with GILES at London Fashion Week for AW14, how did the collaboration come about? We met Giles last year at the Save the Children’s Jumper campaign. Giles was one of the designers who took part at the project. Errm, it was instant crush. He loved our chunky knits and we loved his style. So, when Giles needed to add knitwear to his collection he knew who to call! And its been the perfect partnership for our Gang. He’s never been afraid of being bold and daring – he’s like ‘go big or go home’. And we love that.


Cara Delevingne models her EEK hat at the GILES AW14 show at London Fashion Week, and tries out knitting herself.

What do collaborations offer you, and what is the key to making a successful collaboration? Collaborations are always an exciting experience but it’s important that they share a common concept, idea or ethos in order to work. Or they could be complementary. For example we have an exciting collaboration (ssssh) with MFP that’s coming up! We put our knitting magic and MFP added her gorgeous charms and jewellery details making it more personalised and unique. The whole process of sharing creative ideas and finding ways to make something work both on a brand and financial perspective is very rewarding.

You’ve lived in Paris, New York and London – which city has the best style and why? Both of us LOVE New York. Its style is powerful, more casual business-y and polished. And that’s because of the city. However, the creativity comes from London. This is where all the crazy stuff’s happening. Paris is traditional and timeless.

You went for an inspiration trip in Peru – can you share with us a particularly inspiring memory from the trip? We love working in Peru. A memory that keeps coming back to me is working with the women and their kids in Peru wearing colourful hats. In Peru the working life is flexible. Women bring their children to work and they have nowhere else to go. It feels like a big family. We knit and teach different thing to each other.

What’s next for Wool and the Gang? We have an exciting Winter collection in progress and lots of nice collaborations on the pipeline. As we mentioned above a bold MFP collab is coming to fruition very soon and also Giles’ knitwear will hit our website from September and onwards. You’ll be able to make your own high-end fashion item from your kitchen table. How cool is that?


The Powa Backpack: Made by The Gang: £125 / Knit your Own: £39 The bag is made with Jersey Be Good Yarn which is made from fabric roll off–cuts from fashion factories in Turkey. These unused ends of the rolls are sliced off before sale, then made into a new yarn by locals.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *