HANDMADE SWEATER STORY
In the heart of Alpine Country their comes a time each year when cool breezes turn to cold and chilly rain crystallizes into hurrying snow. It is about that time that those occupying cooler alpine valleys and mountains begin to long for the one garment that will alleviate the oncoming chill. For many there is no better feeling than being wrapped in a thick wooly sweater while the late Autumn gusts swirl by. A great sweater provides more than just warmth – it invokes a certain nostalgia that no other garment type can match. The look, feel and smell sets memories racing back in time the moment we rediscover that old friend, tucked away in the closet and release it from for another season spent on life’s highway.
The Granted Clothing Sweater has been given a variety of labels in the media such as Fair Isle, Prairie, Canadian Heritage, or Grandma’s sweaters. Granted Clothing views their garments as Heritage clothing and call them Intarsia Knits. Intarsia is a traditional knitting technique is used to create patterns with multiple colors. As with Woodworking of the same name, separate sections fit together like a jigsaw puzzle, yielding an inlaid appearance when in fact they are not. Granted Clothing characterizes this as the “chunky” appearance the sweaters seem to project.
We brand the “g” logo onto these wood pulls …. creating a delicious campfire smell that makes us feel connected with the outdoors.
Handmade and using premium wool from Eastern Canada as well as New Zealand wool their product offerings include mittens, sweaters, vests, hats, and ponchos. Aside form the obvious quality of the wool, each product is adorned with tastefully unique images such as whales, deer, bears, and tribal masks. All of their sweaters feature dynamic graphical designs made using the intarsia techniques. Granted designs are clearly inspired by hand-knitted sweaters and graphics from all corners of the world.
ALPINE HERITAGE – THE CRAFT OF KNITTING WOOL
Though knitting is a thousand-year-old craft, most knitted goods these days are made by machine. Granted Clothing is different that way. All of their products are knitted by hand. One human knitter operates two knitting needles patiently drawing from a skein of yarn beside her chair. By the time it is completed the knitter will have spent about 15-20 hours handcrafting the sweater. As a result of this labor intensive and human process – no two sweaters are ever truly identical.
Working from a small studio on the southwest coast of British Columbia, Canada the designs for a Granted Clothing Sweater are based on the ones their parents began producing in 1978. Now updated with contemporary styling and quirky details that add uniqueness as well as the occasional tickling of our sense of humor. The company itself sees their style as neo-vintage. Carefully pairing classic knitting techniques and styles with modern graphics leads to unexpected surprises. It is this carefully balancing of time honored sensibilities with whimsical inventiveness that differentiates Granted Clothing from all others. Having grown up spinning and winding yarn with their parents and wearing wool through a lifetime of daily adventures – Granted Clothing is perfectly tuned into what a wool sweater ought to be.
In a world in which humans are changing more radically than at any time in history – company ethics have become a more important part of choosing products to buy for a growing number of consumers. Part of LuxNiseko’s correspondence with Granted Clothing revealed this gem of integrity:
“Please note our knitwear is not to be mistaken and used with the term “Cowichan” sweater although that term is widely used in Japan. In order to be called “Cowichan” knitwear must be knit up by the Salish First Nations people of the Cowichan valley. We are a Canadian knitwear company continuing the “Canadian Heritage Sweater” that uses a knitting style passed down from European settlers here in the Pacific North West.” ~ Granted Clothing
In respect to the Salish people from the Cowichan Valley of Vancouver Island only their designs and crafted items ought to be called Cowichan. Cowichan history runs back to the turn of the last century when European settlers introduced new knitting techniques. Today Salish knitters sustain a living by knitting these original patterns. Granted Clothing has clearly expressed that their products are not Cowichan – an admirable honesty not shared by all clothing companies including some rather famous ones as quick Google Search will reveal. It is this ethical integrity that – combined with its nod to traditional ways – so endears us to the Granted Clothing entity.
One of the most original and unique features on the Granted Clothing Sweater is the signature wooden pull-zipper. There are many steps taken during the production of each zipper beginning with using only the finest locally sourced Canadian wood. A series of cuts leads to a final rectangular shape with a precisely drilled hole near the top. Each unique wooden pull is seared with Granted Clothing’s signature “G” logo. This standout feature is immediately noticeable and the company ensures they are both hard wearing and weather resistant. It seems a perfect way to represent the hand made nature of Granted Clothing and quietly suggests this garment is made for the outdoors.
A second feature that is a throwback to another era when garments were made to last is the Heavy Gauge YKK zipper. This is super heavy duty which is quickly apparent on the first pull. Made of antique metal brass that is permanently attached to a wide strips of durable fabric – these YKK zippers suitable for outerwear. This feature really gives adds to the Heritage clothing feel of the brand and leaves the impression that the sweater will be long-lived.
WOOL & MAINTENANCE
Granted Clothing Sweaters are made with only the highest quality 100% wool. Carefully selected yarn is mostly free of debris. Usually debris in the yarn collects when sheep are kept in confined straw or hay barns during the winter months. Granted Clothing chose a select heard of sheep that have access to open pasture year round and thereby keep their coats fresh and clean. Also the perfect climate of sun and rain aids in the natural bleaching and cleaning of the fleece.
Wool is a sustainably produced fibre that is truly a miracle of nature. At once it is breathable, durable, temperature regulating – it keeps you warm when you’re cold, but not too warm – and insulating even when in wet climates like the west coasts of North America, Japan and the British Isles. Quality is so often in the details and a quick perusing of Granted Clothing Sweater specs reveals it is made of soft, 6 ply, pure new wool (wool that is used directly from one sheep and it is not a mixture of leftover wool batches).
You can ensure a long life for your garment by dry cleaning it and by gently removing pills. Pills form when individual wool fibres rub up against each other and felt into small balls on the surface of the fabric. It’s a natural and inevitable occurrence, and doesn’t indicate any defect. Simply remove pills with your fingers or a commercial de-pilling device.
One of the beautiful aspects of a small company is the flexibility to try new directions without acres of red-tape to cut through. For Granted Clothing this means the freedom and willingness to collaborate with others falling outside the company itself. A few intriguing examples follow:
Featuring the iconic CBC logo and zig-zags representing analog radio waves – this sweater was created for an ex-pat Canadian brother-in-law now living in England. Having grown up watching and listening to CBC programming together (CBC is Canada’s equivalent to the BBC in England or the NHK in Japan) they wanted to give him a special connection to home with this nostalgic gesture. CBC Radio 3’s host Grant Lawrence somehow became enamored with the sweater and through on-air promotion took this one time gift to an ex-pat and turned it into an officially licensed CBC sweater.
Bodega Store wanted to pay tribute to the late human rights activist Malcom X with a Granted Clothing sweater design featuring his iconic portrait featured on the backside. Unique features on this sweater included a shawl collar and frontal zip-up closure. In a nod to his African roots, tribal patterns accented the sleeves, chests and pockets.
THE ULTIMATE ALPINE LIFESTYLE SWEATER
There are few companies that check the boxes for quality handcrafted luxury garments like Granted Clothing does – timeless nature, unique, beautiful feel and durable – all this and they operate with an ethical integrity that is a model for their industry. When you buy their garments you get everything you want. A Granted Clothing Sweater is quite simply a compelling addition to a luxury Alpine Lifestyle wardrobe no matter where you may be in the world. Whether aprés ski on the powder snow village of Niseko or mushroom picking in the Cascades Mountains of the Pacific Northwest this is a sweater that will become part of life’s precious moments.