British Vogue commissioned special knits from us for this fashion shoot, look out for this emerald green oversized beanie in our new collection next fashion week.
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Metamorphosis short film on VOGUE.COM
The North Circular's Katherine Poulton with the label's knitting grannies.
Welcome into The North Circular world - a favourite ethical fashion label of ours, it has created a short film entitled Metamorphosis featuring its very own Lily Cole (as well as being a model and actress, she is co-owner of the label) Directed by Lorna Love.
A collaborative arts project in conjunction with Between Man & Beast, the film-cum-arts installation is inspired by a combination of Kafka's Metamorphosis, the evolution of life and William Boroughs.
"Unlike Kafka's vision, which sees a monster emerge, our metamorphosis is beauty emerging out of dark times - science marching on, but people waking up to their responsibility to protect the world in which we live. By working with our communities we can contribute to this vision. Even the humble beanie and knitted dress can be a symbol of the future we want to see. It's our choice to nurture beauty and not the monster," explain The North Circular girls, made up from model and creative director Katherine Poulton and Central Saint Martins-trained Alice Ashby alongside Cole.
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Long sleeve knit dress in recycled wool, $557
Photo: Courtesy of North Circular
British Vogue November issue featuring our diamond fingerless gloves in great navy.
The North Circular
Lily Cole and fellow model Katherine Poulton started their wool based label,The North Circular,as a way to embrace the lifelong skills of their own grannies and other home knitters.After teaming up with Central Saint Martins graduate and knit specialist Alice Ashby,and Izzy Lane's Isobel Davies,whose rescues Wensleydale sheep provide the ethical sourced wool ,the pair are now launching their collection of hand knit accessories at Harvey Nichols.There are wool beanies,scarves and gloves; and we love the cable knit 'necklace' which can be worn as a scarf or snood,and comes in cream,black,red,navy and soft dove-grey.Each has a tag with the knitter's name and the number of sheep rescued to date.
US VOGUE SEPTEMBER ISSUE
Lily Cole is a model, actress (see her next in Roland Joeffe’s There Be Dragons) art-history student at King’s College, Cambridge, in her native England and part of the eco-ethical knitwear design collective the North Circular. Each of the pieces in the collection –be it a hat, scarf, gloves, or another snug item- is made of luxurious wool from a flock of rescued rare Wensleydale long wool sheep that roam the Yorkshire countryside, or recycled or surplus wool. Everything is hand-knit by a team of women of a certain age (plus one lad) across the U.K. “We thought,” Cole says, “wouldn’t it be cool, in this machine age, to employ grandmothers?” She and her partners (horticulture enthusiast and fellow mannequin Katherine Poulton; designer Isobel Davies, who runs the sheep sanctuary and Central Saint Martins graduate Alice Ashby) aim to bring awareness to Britain’s wool industry and crafts people. “We want to promote the idea that ethical, capitalist business models can make beautiful clothes.”
New York Times -T Magazine
Warm and Fuzzy Department | Tending the Fashion Flock
With cheap cashmere so ubiquitous even dogs are wearing it, whither the lowly sheep? Ranchers of the gentle creatures, whether for milk or for meat, can hardly give their wool away after their seasonal shearings. Wool is literally now considered a waste product in much of Britain. Perhaps what the hearty fiber needs is a pedigree, some T.L.C., a bit of pizazz and maybe a supermodel.
Mutton fuzz, you have found your champion. The North Circular is a capsule collection of snappy knitwear handmade by Yorkshire-area grannies out of the wool of endangered, dreadlocked Wensleydale sheep. It’s all fronted by the model and actress Lily Cole and her partner, the model and designer Katherine Poulton. They both come from hardcore-knitting stock and wanted to turn experienced hands like theirs into an empire, churning out the kinds of chunky sweaters, scarves, shrugs and dresses that have been enjoying an extended fashion moment. Cole and Poulton hired Poulton’s granny, Alice Ashby from Rag and Bone, to head up the design, and at an eco-fashion show in 2009, they found their skeins in Isobel Davies, who runs a rare-breed sheep rescue sanctuary in north Yorkshire.
“We all spent a weekend up with the sheep, and I love them!” Cole says. “They’re beautiful and cool.” (They also make remarkable wool with a long staple, high sheen and mohair-like warmth. It’s especially good for bulkier designs.) Customers who pick up The North Circular’s goods at Isetan, colette, Dover Street Market or Net-a-Porter will be kept apprised of the progress of these groovy creatures, too, as each item comes with a hand-sewn tag listing the number of Wensleydale saved by the project at the time of its knitting.
Cole has now lent her support to The North Circular. No, not the A406 but an online knitwear company-slogan: 'knitted by grannies, supported by supermodels ' dreamt up 'originally as a kind of joke' by her and some friends, one of whom owns a farm in Yorkshire and keeps endangered Wensleydale sheep rescued from the slaughterhouse. By now i am glazing over. May God strike me down with a shepherds crook hewn from sustainably harvested bamboo, but ethical fashion?Yawn. I am thinking formless calico and scratchy wool. ''Its not itchy!'' exclaims Cole, handing me the knitted necklace from round her neck. Shes right, it's soft and lovely (There's no Kemp in their wool') and all the more desirable for having Lily Cole endorse it.
There can't be much room left on Lily Coles CV,but the model/student/Hollywood star can add eco-warrior to the list thanks to the huge buzz about her new ethical knitwear brand,The North Circular.......
we have no idea what it says but it looks great.
SUNDAY TIMES STYLE
The North Circular
The model Lily Cole has co-founded a clothing business using wool from rare-breed wensleydale sheep, which has been hand-knitted into garments in the UK, providing meaningful paid work to British knitters and reducing the carbon footprint. It specialises in cool, artisan-produced knitwear and is part of the British Fashion Council's sustainable initiative, Esthetica, which mentors ethical start-ups.
WWD Womens Wear Daily
''Just seeing (designers)altering things....you spend so long looking at other peoples visions,its like an on-site design school.You know how things should fit to the body,how they should hang'' Katherine Poulton,The North Circular
...Fledgeling label the North Circular meanwhile,which in September will enter Colette in Paris,Dover Street Market in London and Isetan in Japan is a collaboration between Cole,fellow British model Katherine Poulton,knitwear designer Izzy Lane,who runs her own sheep sanctuary in Yorkshire, and Central Saint Martins trained designer Alice Ashby. While Cole doesn't design the knitwear, she acts as the face of the company.However Poulton said her own experience as a model helped shape the range.I didn't even realize how much I'd absorbed from designers until I started'' said Poulton who has worked with designers including Roland Mouret and Anna Molinari and photographers Mario Testino and Tim Walker. "Just seeing (designers)altering things....you spend so long looking at other peoples visions,its like an on-site design school.You know how things should fit to the body,how they should hang''...
To Chiswick and Livia Firth’s Eco-Age for the launch of Lily Cole’s gorgeously cosy new knitwear line, The North Circular:“Knitted by grannies, supported by supermodels”. Love that the navy bobble hat I snapped up is made of wool from rescued Wensleydale sheep! Ethical fashion up Kilimanjaro - a first? At least it will make me smile - and keep my ears warm - when the going gets tough.
The Last Magazine
What do a dozen grannies, a flock of nearly extinct sheep and a couple supermodels have in common? Together they are the driving force behind The North Circular, a new knitwear company that produces cozy wool sweaters and accessories for ethically-conscious customers. Early this year model friends Lily Cole and Katherine Poulton invited Central St Martins graduate Alice Ashby to come up with designs for a line of knitwear pieces using the wool of rescued Wensleydale sheep from the Izzy Lane Sanctuary in Yorkshire. Then they recruited a few friendly grannies for knitting duty. Katherine’s grandmother, Eileen Poulton is 91 years old and has been knitting since the 1950s. While in those days she relegated her talents to teapot covers, her knowledge of garment patterns has become a major asset to the company. “Knitting is a dying art,” she explains. “In those days it was cheaper to knit items for your family than to buy. And what better way to spend your evening?” We concur. Place your orders at www.thenorthcircular.com.
BBC News - Supermodel Lily Cole gets grannies knitting
"It seems good old-fashioned skills like knitting never go out of fashion. A group of pensioners from Surrey have been employed by a London supermodel to make hats and scarves for the world of high fashion."
Click on the link to watch the video.
The Global Herald
On Wednesday 24th February 2010, supermodel Lily Cole hosted a party at the Brompton Club in Kensington to launch the first womenswear pieces from her collaborative ethical fashion label, The North Circular, which uses British sourced wool from rare breed sheep. The launch marked a step-change in the momentum behind ethical fashion which has been fostered by schemes such as Estethica – a mentoring and exhibition scheme supported by Monsoon and the British Fashion Council.
New Images of The North Circular in Esthetica Magazine
The North Circular has been featured in the latest issue of Esthetica magazine, part of an initiative by The British Fashion Council.
A new article on The North Circular is now live on Greenmystyle.com as part of their London Fashion Week highlights feature.
New A/W 2010 Collection 'Sea Cables'
The North Circular are very proud to present their AW10 collection 'Sea Cables’ at London Fashion Week, Stand 77, Somerset House.
‘Sea Cables’ is inspired by the rich patterns of the British seafaring community and the Masonic symbols that go unnoticed underfoot on London’s ancient cobblestones.
For more information, please see our Press Release.
Not content with being a top model and acclaimed actor, Lily Cole is embarking on another fashionable venture.
The North Circular is a new knitwear label that Cole has created with fellow model Katherine Poulton and knitwear designer Alice Ashby.
The notion was inspired by their friend and fourth member Isobel Davies’s work at her Wensleydale sheep sanctuary in North Yorkshire.
The women shared a passion for knitting, and soon came up with the idea of using wool from the sheep to make the designs and local knitters to create them.
"I love the fact that because knitting is hand-made, there is personality embedded in the process," says Cole.
In the immortal words of Albert Einstein, “in order to be an immaculate member of a flock of sheep, one must above all be a sheep oneself.” We’re not too keen on blindly assembling into anybody’s fashion flock, but in the case of the North Circular Knitwear Company, the English woolies brand “knit by grannies and supported by supermodels,” we could be persuaded to wear a bit of sheep, if not become one ourselves.
At the end of October, North Circular will launch a collection of handmade knits fashioned entirely of rescued Wensleydale wool, available on a made-to-order basis via their website, where not only can you meet the handsome Wensleydale flock, but select the color, size and style of your lovingly woven garment. The Wensleydale sheep — along with the entire British wool industry — have fallen on hard times as of late, and brand founders Lily Cole, Katherine Poulton, Alice Ashby, and Isobel Davies made the downtrodden breed’s improved well-being the main concern of their stylish business venture.
The wool itself is spun and dyed naturally within 120 miles of the happy flock’s snuggly shed at an organic sanctuary in North Yorkshire, where rescued sheep are guaranteed ample grazing for the rest of their lives. Each North Circular garment will include a hand-sewn tag specifying the total number of rescued Wensleydales at the date of purchase, so the wearer can always keep their fuzz-friendly deed in mind when cozying into an oversized scarf. Be sure to check their website for updates. The launch collection includes a chunky knit hood that’s sure to sell out as soon as it becomes available. We know these Wensleydales are very accomplished, but who knows how quickly they’re able to force those fantastic coats to grow?
We love the idea behind The North Circular, a new ethical knitwear company that keeps you warm while also saving our furry friends.
Three friends, models Lily Cole and Katherine Poulton and Central St Martins graduate Alice Ashby, joined forces with Isobel Davies (founder of Izzy Lane sheep sanctuary) to produce a range of 16 knitted pieces. The garments are made using ethical wool from rescued Wensleydale sheep, housed at the sanctuary in North Yorkshire.
Using the expert hand-knitting skills of local knitters, you can create your own piece, in a choice of five naturally dyed colours, and keep up to date on the progress of your garment by logging on to the knitters’ blog. Every garment comes with a hand-made tag with details of how many sheep have been rescued to date.
The world is Lily Cole’s oyster at the moment. The 21-year-old face of Rimmel is studying for a degree at Cambridge, and is currently receiving rave reviews for her role as Valentina in The Imaginarium Of Dr Parnassus – the late Heath Ledger’s final film. And now Miss Cole has decided to join the green bandwagon by teaming up with friends to create an ethical knitwear line.
Lily has joined forces with model Katherine Poulton, Central St Martin’s alumni Alice Ashby, and eco-conscious fashion designer Isobel Davies (founder of the Izzy Lane ethical fashion label) to produce the range. With a tag line of ‘Knitted by grannies, Supported by supermodels’, The Northern Circular includes 16 designs of modern chunky knits all produced in the UK using wool from rescued Wensleydale sheep (awww) from the Izzy Lane sheep sanctuary. All items are knitted to demand and you can even follow the progress of your order on the local knitters’ blog written by the grannies who make the clothes!
'There's a great dynamic between us,' says Isobel. 'We live evidently different lives and come from different places but underlying The North Circular are shared passions and ideologies knitted together by our fabulous grannies. It's important for TNC to support our crafts people and our textile industry while continuing to rescue lambs from slaughter.'
Although the line is in the early stages right now, the foursome hope to expand it to include accessories, jewellery and even more womenswear. Exciting times ahead for Lils then! Beauty, brains and a social conscience… grrrr.
Green My Style
‘Knitted by grannies, supported by supermodels’ is the motto behind Lily Cole’s new eco knitwear label, The North Circular. Amiee Jones writes.
The brand is a joint effort between models Lily Cole and Katherine Poulton, Central Saint Martins graduate Alice Ashby and entrepreneur Isobel Davies. The line is comprised completely from the wool of rescued Wensleydale sheep and employs local grannies to whip them up into next seasons must-have, eco solution to blustery english weather.
The rescued sheep are from Izzy Lane’s sheep sanctuary in North Yorkshire, where the sheep chew on organic grass and live out their entire life. The dyes used to colour the wool is also natural, the dyeing being carried out within a 120 mile radius of the sanctuary to cut down on cO2 emissions. They also keep the packaging they use to a minimum and use recycled materials wherever possible.
Traditional English pieces are injected with a dose of the contemporary to create cozy, individual pieces you’ll be pulling out year are year. The knits are thick, chunky and practical, with just the right amount of quirkiness.
You can also invest in your very own bespoke North Circular piece by choosing from one of sixteen designs and five colours, so you get the exact combination you want. There is even a blog that keeps customers updated on the progress of their personalised order.
Gloves and scarfs are only the first step however, as the brand is working on expanding into other areas of accessories as well as luxurious yet understated eco women’s wear in the near future.