Emerson Fry’s fall collection launches on August 25th (sign up to shop early) and I am beyond excited about THIS sweater. The whole collection is wonderful, as usual, but this wool sweater, in all it’s oversized glory, has me giddy. Honestly, it reminds me of the colorful, GIGANTIC, sweaters I used to wear with my stirrup leggings in the 80’s. You remember those, right? But in a much more mature palette and shape. Anyway, it’s cozy, warm, and EXACTLY what I want to live in this fall/winter.
AND, if you’re concerned about wool after the recent “scandal” surrounding Ovis 21, the commercial-scale ranch system that supplies wool for Patagonia and Stella McCartney (although no longer), you can rest a little easier, because Emerson Fry uses Imperial Stock Ranch in Oregon (the same ranch Zady used for their sweater last year).
I haven’t, and won’t, watch the PETA video; I can only imagine the horror. But I take this as yet another reminder of how it’s become increasingly difficult for clothing brands to monitor their supply chains, within which there is often lack of transparency and oversight. It’s surprising also, that this is true even among brands like Patagonia & Stella McCartney for whom sustainable manufacturing and humane treatment of animals is a cornerstone of their business. It’s shocking, frankly. And exceptionally disappointing.
More on this later, much more, but at least with regard to Emerson Fry and Imperial Stock Ranch wool, after some research, I am a bit more confident that they respect the animals and the process at every stage, which makes me feel better about promoting it, and using my money to buy it:
The Carvers believed that even more important than the ranch heritage, or the heritage of the Columbia breed, was the fact that we are all called to honor the vital role sheep have played on the landscape and in the history of man. The Imperial Stock Ranch also happens to believe that sheep simply belong…grazing the landscape.
The Carvers set out to prove you don’t have to cross an ocean to make clothing. Similar to the farm-to-fork “slow food” movement that reconnects us to our food, the Carvers are leading a ranch-to-runway “slow wear” movement that reconnects us to the source of the fibers we wear, and the animals that provide it…tending and honoring the nature of sheep. The first step was to create and sell premium wool yarns. As a spinoff of the historic Imperial Stock Ranch, Imperial Yarn was born.
Granted, this is from Imperial’s website, but I absolutely respect Emerson Fry and Zady (who worked with the ranch on their wool sweater), and trust that they have done their homework with regard to the ranch and the process.
Now back to Emerson Fry. They’re using more linen (flax) and organic cotton in place of cheaper synthetic fibers this season. Whenever they DO use synthetics though, it’s for:
specific purpose and function of the fabric, for instance an extraordinary ponte that has great stretch and structure. But the majority of the line is focused around natural fibers, so you are buying a line that feels very natural and good on the body, and materials that are long wearing and texturally dynamic/beautiful.
Don’t you just love that description? “extraordinary” ponte? Makes me want to try it…
Please take a moment to look through more of the preview and read through the interview with E on Emerson Fry’s website. I purposefully left out lots of photos just so you’d be enticed to go over there. It’s worth it, I promise. And the interview. I literally got goose bumps reading through it, and consider myself honored to be able to introduce you to such a woman, and indeed, a company that embodies all that I believe and respect about clothing:
Clothing is one of our great forms of self-expression and art. Look at the history of clothing and you see the evolution of thought, social structure and human progress. And in terms of enjoyment, look at the way you can change how your entire body reads by the change of proportions. You can make yourself really big, imposing. You can be light as air. You can make everything sleek and simple. you can make yourself the canvas of everything you think about and love in life. Its as light or as heavy as you want it to be. It has deep significance or it can be just for fun. The Clothing we collect represents a freedom, and the continuous opportunity to experience life, and ourselves, in a new way.
Let me know what you think about the fall preview & Emerson Fry. And what are your thoughts on “better” wool production?
I’m working on a couple more articles on this, including a look at alpaca vs. sheep’s wool vs. cashmere. Buckle up 🙂