Did you know that farmers in the UK are burning sheep’s wool, while we continue import it from overseas?
The price paid for British wool has slumped so far that it is now often worth less than the fuel farmers would use to drive it to the depot, prompting some to burn it instead. Meanwhile, we continue to import wool from countries such as Australia, Peru and China, including wool from Merino sheep, who can’t be kept in the British climate.
When Jules Von Hep – known to many as a celebrity tanning expert – saw the story covered on BBC’s Countryfile, he was horrified. “My family were all sheep farmers, so I just found the whole thing so hard to compute” he says.
Thankfully, it drove Jules to action, and now he’s launching the fabulous Yan Tan knitwear brand, using locally-sourced wool to create stylish, sustainable jumpers.
All the wool is sourced from accredited sheep farmers in the UK, who must meet the government’s strict animal welfare standards. The website says: “Our contemporary designs are comprised of stitches and designs inspired by British history. Knitwear has its heritage within Great Britain, which is why you’ll see our love of cables, nepps yarns, vintage inspired details and designs knitted to last.”
Yan Tan has launched with five jumpers, three of them made from British wool and two from Shetland wool. “British wool and Shetland wool has a raw and natural feel to it, that’s its charm. British wool, made for British weather” reads the website. Plus, unlike many high street knits, the wool isn’t mixed with manmade fibres, making it completely biodegradable.
What’s more, Yan Tan is also size inclusive, going from a S (8-10) to an XXL (24-26).
Shelly Vella, YOU’s Fashion Director, says: “A great piece of knitwear should last a lifetime – it’s all about the care you lavish on it and choosing well in the first place. For me, it seems crazy that we import foreign wool when we have some of the best yarns on offer here in the UK, and I love the plethora of brands now working with British farmers to do just this, creating gorgeous knitwear that’s as stylish as it is homegrown.
“Yan Tan has a range of beautiful, textural knits in a mix of natural and upbeat colours. These are built to last and made with love for the discerning buyer wanting to buy British. My personal favourite? Definitely the Camille (below) – lusciously oaty in hue with fabulous detail.”
You can shop the jumpers and find out more about Yan Tan by visiting the website here.