Anna Has Designs on Bringing Welsh Wool Back into Fashion; MY NEW RANGE WILL COME FROM MY SHEEP

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), September 30, 2011 | Go to article overview

Anna Has Designs on Bringing Welsh Wool Back into Fashion; MY NEW RANGE WILL COME FROM MY SHEEP


Byline: RACHAEL MISSTEAR

IT MUST rank as one of the most exclusive knitwear collections in the world.

Living on a working farm in West Wales, it was only a matter of time before clothes designer Anna Felton spotted her golden business opportunity sitting in a field right outside her window.

Now it is hoped the 70 sheep which provide her with the natural wool for her new collection could inspire a new collaboration with other Welsh farmers.

It comes as demand for wool is so low that some farmers are forced to clip their sheep at a loss - a far cry from a medieval golden age when wool was Britain's greatest national asset and export.

However Anna, like many in the fashion industry, believe the world now yearns for all things natural and insist wool is still a hot product.

"It is amazing how farmers are shearing their sheep for little or no profit," she said. "They have to pay to have their sheep sheared and yet the bi-product often goes to waste because they just don't get a decent return for their wool.

"I now have my own flock of sheep and the idea is to launch my new range from those sheep, all made in Wales.

"At the moment my production is based on the wool that we have from here but I am hoping that soon it will broaden out to include wool from other parts of Pembrokeshire."

Having worked as a designer for other clothing companies such as Fat Face and Welsh company Howies, the 28-year old wanted to step out on her own. Her collection will be sold online, following the launch of her website Monkstone Knitwear next Tuesday. The range is being created together with the help of five hand-knitters and in association with Corgi Hosiery based in Ammanford, Carmarthenshire.

Working from her studio based at the family-run Trevayne Farm in Monkstone, Saundersfoot, her aim is to work closely with farmers to educate people about wool manufacturing, shearing and spinning, with hopes to create a her own shearing collective.

Anna said the process of rearing the sheep has been a real learning curve and wanted to be involved in the process right from the start. …

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