What Was Before is Left Behind
If a lesser-known British clothing brand struggles, it is invariably picked up by a Hong Kong-based rag merchant or an Italian holding company. It then has its eccentric Britishness squeezed out and its products made more saleable to a global market. All but the (trophy) logo is binned and the marketing deception begins. At this point, readers, the battle is lost; we regret the brand's passing and dig deeper for a hidden gem that can fill the gap.
Thankfully, there is no lack of genuine British sweater-makers to fill the sweater gap. We may sometimes have to seek out smaller-scale operations, but that's where the real hidden gems can be found. Swaledale Woollens is a sweater-making operation on a micro scale.
Swaledale Woollens — in the Yorkshire Dales, England — started life as a village cooperative in the 1970s. A shop was opened in the village of Muker. Locals hand-knitted in their homes to supply the shop with knitwear to sell; and this excellent enterprise continues today.
The wool used to make the knitwear is from the local Swaledale sheep, but also the neighbouring Wensleydale sheep (of cheese fame). The wool is spun in Scotland.
This is artisanal knitwear with excellent provenance. The Swaledale sweater above — the house style —is hand-framed and made from the local Swaledale wool.
Why not visit the shop if you're that way and give the locals (people and sheep) your support?
Tradcore Not Normcore
Too may words are being written about 'normcore', which seems to mean dressing like you couldn't care less about how you're dressed. If it's meant as a reaction to the fast-fashion-industrial complex, then a better bet might be to seek out the timelessness of the products we present on the pages of The Tweed Pig.
We'll call this philosophy 'tradcore'. Swaldale is a classic tradcore company: small, local manufacture, good provenance, timeless products, no deception. And featured by The Tweed Pig.