Founder Ruth Rands piece for Fashion Roundtable on 'why wool'?
I am often asked where the idea for a soil to skin, vertically integrated yarn and knitwear brand came from - and perhaps HERD would never have come into being without these unconventional roots - but it actually came from seaweed of all things, in my prior brand where we sourced wild, naturally occurring seaweed directly from harvesters around the U.K, Ireland and Northern Europe. There I came to understand how things are made from the soil or sea to become things we need and desire, through the hands of manufacturers and with the shiny gloss of branding and marketing. I found that minimal processes make more beneficial things - the less they are processed and changed from their natural form. I also found that shorter supply chains meant being able to meet and understand the suppliers, the farmers, the factories to understand how to get the absolute best from those things, for everyone.
Wool, in the right hands, is one of those rare things that is truly beneficial for all. It is native, abundant, occurs naturally and requires to be shorn every year. It makes a yarn that is warm, temperature regulating, wicking of moisture, antibacterial and anti-flammable. It is biodegradable so if processed naturally as we do at HERD will actually benefit the soil at the end of its life. Working with certain breeds means it can be soft or hardy depending on the need. And it is beautiful! Win-wins are very, very rare - so let’s make the most of this one!
Ruth Alice Rands / Ru is the catalyst for the emerging British wool movement in luxury apparel. She is the creator of vertically integrated wool ecosystem comprising of HERD knitwear, Herd Wool knitting and the Upland Yarns supply collective. HERD makes discerning knitwear for the environmentalist, drawing on a folksy femininity inspired by crafts of time gone by such as lace/pointelle stitches and patchwork. Herd Wool supplies finest quality, local and traceable 100% BFL knitting yarn and kits, and Upland Yarns produces the only 100% Bluefaced Leicester yarn for machine knitting, and supplies British brands Navy Grey, Bamford, Sunspel and Toast, along with HERD and Herd Wool.