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London Fashion Week estethica highlights: North Circular

Posted Feb 24 2010 6:36am

North Circular The North Circular were at London Fashion Week this week to showcase their new collection of high fashion ethical knitwear. George Walker talked to The North Circular about the grandmothers behind the clothes, plans for the future and about having Lily Cole as the face of their new campaign.

The North Circular stand at London Fashion Week had a distinct mariner vibe, with fishing nets holding a variety of sumptuous knitwear, just waiting to be touched. The Autumn/Winter collection is named ‘Seacables’ and is inspired by the seafaring communities in Britain. Celtic patterns combine with modern knitwear pieces like snoods to make a luxurious range of hand crafted, fashionable knitwear.

As you may know, The North Circular employ grandmothers living in the UK to knit their wares. Knitters age from 21- 91 and the label now has around 80 knitters on its books. In this collection the label is focusing upon the individuality of each piece by tailoring each design to the interests of the knitter. On each garment a tag reveals the name of the knitter who spent their evenings knitting and pearling to create the accessory or dress.

Alice Ashby, knitwear designer at The North Circular, told me more about the story behind each piece. Picking up one ,particularly beautiful hooded scarf, Ashley said: “This one, for example, is Sheila and we worked with her and talked about what she liked and what stitches she likes doing. So, we’ve come up with this pattern for her and she’ll be the only one that does this one.” Lily cole

The North Circular ensures a low carbon footprint in its production techniques by developing each collection in the UK. What’s more, the company is saving the ailing wool industry here in the UK (and the sheep that produce the wool!) by buying sheep that would have been slaughtered and using them for their wool instead. The company uses only Izzy Lane wool, which was awarded an RSPCA award in 2008.

With the support of supermodel and ethical fashion enthusiast Lily Cole, the label certainly looks set for great things. The North Circular plan to develop their ready-to-wear range in the future. This should definitely please you female readers, as the dresses I saw were a perfect example of how a knitted dress can be both flattering, fashionable and warm.

I asked Alice Ashby how London Fashion Week had been for them this year, she said: “Really great, because it’s our second season it’s about getting out name out there.” I for one, think The North Circular won’t have to try too hard to get their name out there- the designs speak for themselves.

Visit The North Circular website for more info.

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