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The North Circular


The north circular is the name of a UK highway that crosses North London, linking the West to the East, the length of which roughly equates the totality of travel that The North Circular’s garments undertake from sheep to finished product.  A circular neck snug, originally knitted by one of the founders grandmothers, is what inspired the name of the company.


The idea, born over the very English habit of tea, biscuits and gossip, shared between two good friends; the concept, a knitting empire fueled by grannies, furiously creating over yet more cups of tea.  The two founders of the company, Lily Cole and Katherine Poulton, both blessed with talented knitting grandmothers, wanted to produce a collection that capitalized on their talented grandmothers skill sets, with their own sense of high fashion; Lily was a fashion model, and Katherine, a graduate of the prestigious Central Saint Martins Fashion school.  The pair had a desire to reinvest value into hand made products while personalizing the production process, rekindling the connection between producer and wearer.


The connection with Isobel Davies, founder of Izzy Lane, and her sheep sanctuary, acted as the inspiration to take the idea to a reality, by adding the ethical component, that of using wool spun from the endangered Wensleydale long wool sheep, rescued from slaughter.  Yarn from Izzy Lanes organic farm is spun and naturally dyed, all within a one hundred and twenty mile radius, and so the teatime joke between friends, became a reality.


North Circular’s high quality garments and accessories are ethical; supporting animal welfare, are low in mileage and carbon footprint, support the local economy, arts and crafts, and utilize minimal packing.  Keeping the sheep at the forefront of all their promotion, The North Circular places a handmade tag on each item, recording the number of rescued sheep to date, at time of production.


Every piece in the collection is hand knitted with traditional stitches and patterns, but youthful styling.  The collection comprises or a group of short, intricately cabled and ribbed dresses and sweaters, with clean simple silhouettes, along with a unique accessories line.  Items include intricate, cabled warp around snoods, hoods and scarves, as well as scarf hood combinations, fingerless gloves, headbands and hats, in subtle, natural color combinations.


Working and sourcing locally, The North Circular are responding to the British wool industry’s woe’s; devastated by cheap imports, while UK farmers burn their wool for lack of a viable market.   Working to regenerate the ailing wool and manufacturing industry, while supporting craftsmen, and helping the “hands-what-knits” with a few extra pounds, The North Circular are reviving an industry while ethically producing a quality, sophisticated, hard wearing product.

Website: www.thenorthcircular.com

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