Autumn sweaters are officially in season here and I know a lot of us are on the hunt for the perfect sweater to add to our fall wardrobe. There are a lot of do’s and don’s when shopping for a sustainably made sweater that is why I have created this guide to help you navigate where to shop for a sweater that won’t damage the planet. Or one that won’t exploit any living beings that produce the cozy materials that make up a beautifully handcrafted sweater.
Vintage Autumn Sweaters
A second-hand sweater is going to be your most affordable option when it comes to sweaters made of sustainable materials. Sweaters made of synthetic materials, such as polyester, release microplastics every time it is washed. It is best to use a guppy bag or at the very least hand wash the sweater to avoid the fibers from breaking.
However if you can choose a sustainable sweater that is made of wool, alpaca, mohair, or cashmere then this will be the most sustainable choice. This way not another animal or human is getting exploited by the fashion industry and you are saving an item from going into the landfill. Better yet, you will find a one of a kind sweater in a luxury material for much less than you would have to spend buying it new. Sweaters, especially ones made of natural materials, unfortunately are not cheap.
First try looking at your local thrift stores and vintage shops to see what kind of unique treasures you can find. You can also try looking for a more specific design on Etsy, Ebay, Poshmark, Depop, or The Real Real. Just be specific w/ your search and use specific design features as your keywords. Such as a fisherman knit or a fair isle sweater. Also extend your search by shopping on multiple platforms and you will surely find something special.
Toast is a UK brand that has amazing sweaters that are extremely well made and always made with sustainable materials. Above everything else I think Toast does knitwear best but they have loads of other clothes that would fit well into an everyday essentials wardrobe. They can be extremely pricey but if you carefully choose a color and style that fits most of your wardrobe then the cost will pay 10 fold because you will be wearing it much more than any other sweater.
The collection is meant to provide a sense of ease and a slower, more thoughtful way of life. Their commitment since 1997 was to preserve the many styles of craftsmanship on a global scale. They collaborate with makers that practice age-old traditions so these arts won’t be lost or forgotten. And every decision they make they carefully consider every life that is involved and how to best sustain their business without creating harm to the planet.
L’envers is a small company out of Madrid that strives to do better in the realm of knitwear by providing classic pieces made of natural and sustainable materials. If you consider buying a sweater here it has to be carefully considered. These sweaters are investment pieces. Meaning you invest in quality that will last forever. These styles are timeless so you can wear them year after year without looking out of style. Every penny that goes into this investment will pay off for the many many years that you will wear a L’envers sweater.
They have sweaters made of various wools in various styles. They use merino, yak, alpaca, and mohair wool for their fall and winter sweaters. And offer other warmer weather options in organic cotton and hemp when in season. L’envers uses classic styles that stick around every year. But they also come out with new designs every season to provide more individuality with the unique limited edition pieces. Take a look at their autumn sweaters to see if you can find the style that you have been missing.
Babaa is another knitwear company based out of Spain. Every step of the process is locally produced in Spain. Each maker either specializes in making wool or cotton sweaters. Babaa really cares about the environment. So none of their sweaters are mixed with synthetic material, they are all-natural materials. They exclusively work with Spanish artisans that spin, dye, and knit the materials. Building relationships with people in their community is why their sweaters are worth every penny. There is passion going into every level of production. And when there is a collective group that is living their passion they put more time and care into the environment and animals that make this all possible.
Locally sourced natural materials is the heart of the company. The Babaa sweaters help drive local artisans and keep ancient Spanish craftsmanship alive and thriving with their special sweaters. The sweaters are made one size and get better with wear. Their colors and knit style really stand out and add a polished finish to any outfit. Any of their designs would be great autumn sweaters to invest in and add to your wardrobe. Learn more about the artisans that create these sustainable autumn sweaters here.
The dress I am wearing in these photos is by Doen. One of my all time favorite brands. Not only do they make beautiful dresses but they always have the most beautiful knitwear in their autumn and winter collections.
This year they have even released recycled wool sweaters that are a bit cheaper than their other sweaters. With the added bonus of eliminating more waste by re-purposing unwanted materials into beautifully designed sweaters.
Handmade Autumn Sweaters
Making your own sweater is always an option too. If we have the luxury to fully embrace the cozy autumn season then we might have more free time at home. This is the perfect opportunity to take up the dying art of knitting. The craft is extremely rewarding. It empowers your mind when you teach your brain new tricks. The added bonus of a new sweater knitted with your hands that was designed exclusively by you is a rewarding feeling. And a great way to add items to your wardrobe that you know that you will treasure forever.