Choosing the right materials is the first step in making a truly beautiful garment. The texture, weight, softness, colour and drape all effect how the finished article is going to look. Not only this, but the materials we choose have an environmental and social impact too. At Laine we use only the highest quality raw materials; they are always totally natural - no acrylic, no ‘poly’anything; they are always produced sustainably, no water thirsty cotton and most importantly they are always sourced ethically, absolutely no sweat shops here.
Below is a little information on how we source five of our favourite raw materials.
Our Shetland wool is from Shetland sheep who live on the Shetland Isles - this sounds intuitive, but much ‘Shetland’ wool today fulfils only one of those criteria! We offer this wool in either totally undyed, perfect for those who feel strongly about the dyeing process and in a range of carefully chosen heritage colours. We buy our undyed Shetland wool from a small husband and wife duo on the Shetland isles and our dyed wool from Jamiesons of Shetland - a family owned mill in Sandness, that has been running since the 1890’s.
Our linen is all sourced from the oldest linen mill in Lithuania. Whilst we often think of Ireland as having the longest history with linen, this beautiful fibre is so important to Lithuanian tradition that it is the focus of many elements of their folklore. Linen comes from the beautiful blue flax plant, a plant that grows very well without heavy pesticide use or intensive irrigation. Our favourite thing about linen is how wonderfully it ages, the more you use it, the softer it becomes, meaning your clothes just get better and better with use.
Our alpaca fibre all comes straight from Peru! Alpacas originated in the Peruvian mountains, where their soft, thick coats enabled them to stay warm in harsh winters, whilst the lofty texture of the fibre kept them cool in summer. Their fibre is so soft that the micron range of high quality alpaca is even smaller than cashmere! Unlike sheep and goats, alpacas don’t produce lanolin, so their fleece is excellent for people with allergies.
Our lambswool is the very first clip that the lambs ever have and is comparable to cashmere in quality. This wool earns the title of ‘Geelong’ lambswool; whilst a farm may produce hundreds of tonnes of wool each season, only one or two bales will earn this superfine status. All of our wool is dyed and spun by Z.Hincliffe & Sons, one of the oldest spinners in Yorkshire - so you can rest assured this fibre is of the highest quality.
Our cashmere is bought in small quantities from trusted stockists who sell on behalf of Johnston’s of Elgin and Todd & Duncan, both highly skilled spinners based in Scotland. Perhaps the most famous for its incredible softness, cashmere is a truly luxury fibre. Angora goats produce super soft wool, which is spun relatively loosely to allow for a super squidgy and totally luxurious handle.