Ethical Knitwear Brands You Should Know


“Chilled to the bone.”

Only one memory comes to mind when I hear this phrase.

It’s raining. Not buckets, just a steady March drizzle that can be staved off well enough with an umbrella. The walk to the park is eight minutes, our shoes kicking up water as we pass the houses. Everything is green and heavy with wet. The clouds seem so low you could touch them.

I have a raincoat and a light sweater on, but it’s hardly warm enough for the way the wetness in the air crawls into my skin. I’m used to dry cold, prairie cold, where you might get frost bite if you stand in the snow for too long, but you warm up instantly when you’re back indoors. It’s my first time in Vancouver as an adult and this moisture is foreign to me.

We’ve only brought one umbrella. An excuse to lean into him, to put my hands in his for warmth. We stand in the middle of the park, observing a group of teenagers playing ultimate Frisbee, undaunted by the rain. The grass squelches underfoot as they sprint and slide into each other. I’m beginning to feel like any and all warmth has left my body, made worse by watching these brave youth in their bare arms and legs. By the time we move on and reach the duck pond, even the lure of bird watching isn’t enough to keep me there.

“I’m cold. Can we go back?”

To my surprise, the chill doesn’t leave my body when we shuffle back inside Kevin’s family home. I think that must be why this memory is so firmly etched in my mind. Another layer of socks, another sweater, but it still feels like my blood has been replaced with ice water. I’ve experienced ‘wet cold’ before, but this gives the phrase a whole new meaning. The comforting sense of internal heat doesn’t return to my body for nearly the whole day.

Now when I visit Vancouver during the winter, I know that an above-zero temperature forecast is somewhat misleading — always pack an extra sweater.

I’m a terrible Canadian, truthfully. Maybe I’m overly optimistic about the weather, or perhaps just scatterbrained. But every winter I find myself pressing my numb, white hands against the heating vents in my car, because I forgot to wear gloves again. Walking around with the tips of my ears feeling like they’re about to fall off because I didn’t wear a toque (wanting to preserve a good hair day, obviously). My neck foolishly exposed because I’m wearing a stylish, but impractical, coat… and misplaced my scarf.

I swore to myself that this winter would be different. I would remember where I left my gloves, remind myself to throw on a scarf, wear a toque no matter what my hair was doing. It’s been pretty successful, so far. And the trick? It seems to me that the trick is to start with beautiful, quality pieces that I actually want to wear. Thanks to this blog post, I had the pleasure of connecting with brands who create timeless, ethical knitwear, and trying out some of their products. Now, I actually remember to wear my scarf because I love its unexpected forest green colour, one of the few green items in my wardrobe. I remember to wear my warm sweaters because they’re more than sweaters — they’re like cozy works of art. To put on a toque, because the craftsmanship inspires me to wear them whether dressed up or dressed down. I know the quality and hard work that went into these pieces. Each has a story, a bigger purpose.

Which is precisely why I wanted to create this blog post. Yes, because I live in chilly Canada, but also because the best pieces are the ones that are painstakingly created by brands fueled by compassion, dedication, and attention to detail.

I hope you find this blog post helpful and discover a brand you may not have known about. I’m highlighting five knitwear brands, but if you scroll to the bottom, you’ll find a list of many more. If you have any other favourite ethical knitwear brands, do mention them in the comments!

Founded out of a desire to empower the people of Nepal and lift them out of a cycle of poverty and injustice, Dinadi is a slow knitwear brand that exists to offer fair, meaningful employment. They provide their employees with liveable wages, help with school tuition, health care benefits, retirement savings, flexible work, and more. The brand’s founders moved their family to Nepal in order to live and work alongside their employees: strengthening community, overseeing quality, and fostering lasting relationships.

All of Dinadi’s winter accessories are carefully crafted out of 100% extra fine merino wool to be high-quality, super soft, and made to last. Packaging contains no plastic, and they don’t let any leftover yarn go to waste. Everything is unisex and one-size, designed to mold to your unique features.

This is a brand I couldn’t be more proud to be representing.

what they make:

Unisex scarves, beanies, and mitts.

what i’m wearing:

Anders Hat in Charcoal Grey ($55 CAD)

Greta Scarf in Forest Green ($75 CAD)

Both pieces are truly so well-made and incredibly soft. I’ve been wearing both regularly since I received them, and can see myself getting use out of them for a long time. I especially love the green scarf — I’ve been trying to add more green into my wardrobe, and this forest green goes perfectly with my otherwise neutral wardrobe and adds a beautiful earthy pop of colour.

A note to my fellow Calgarians: you can find Dinadi at Purr Clothing Boutique!


Luxury quality meets meaningful production.

BARE Knitwear is based out of Vancouver, BC, but its collections are responsibly made in Peru. The female artisans are from one of the poorest regions in the country, but Kelsey — the founder of BARE — works to ensure that her brand provides them with safe, life-giving work. Many of the women are mothers, often facing domestic and sexual violence, with very limited employment opportunities. Bare Knitwear seeks to provide a career for the women that not only helps preserve the tradition of Peruvian knitwear that the women are proud of, but offers a safe space for them to form relationships with and support one another. They have access to free daycare for their children and an on-site counselor.

The production is Fairtrade certified, and the timelessness and quality of each piece is unparalleled. I still vividly remember the first time I pulled on a BARE sweater. It was back in 2017, when I had the opportunity to model one of their sweaters for a product shoot. I practically begged the organizer to let me keep it! I had never felt a sweater so thick, warm, and well-constructed.

These are truly investment pieces — the kind you could pass on to your grandchildren, if taken care of. I will certainly be treasuring my turtleneck for many, many years.

what they make:

Sweaters, cardigans, scarves, and beanies.

what i’m wearing:

Grey Traditional Turtleneck (on sale for CAD $264, normally $378). Made with 93% baby alpaca and 7% Polyamide. Size XS/S


Slow, classic, seasonless. These values are the foundation of ethical French label L’envers, which creates unique but timeless made-to-order pieces that are knitted in a small family workshop in Spain. They offer pieces for both men and women, and reflect a desire to rebel against the flawed fast fashion model while preserving a family legacy of the French Northern textile industry.

Each sweater is truly a work of art, responsibly crafted with precision and attention to detail. They take great care in the sourcing of their wool to ensure sustainability and fair practices. Inclusivity is also important to L’envers; if you are concerned that a piece won’t fit, they will tailor-make a garment for you to your dimensions.

what they make:

Sweaters, cardigans, beanies, scarves, and balaclavas.

what i’m wearing:

The Johnny Jumper (€ 210), one size. 100% pure Spanish merino wool.

This sweater is, without a doubt, the warmest sweater I own. It’s thick, billowy, and preserves my body heat like no other. Seriously, the perfect sweater for a cold climate! Some may find this wool a bit scratchy (L’envers offers soft sweaters as well), but layering a thin shirt underneath helps a lot. I found that I got used to the texture pretty quickly and didn’t end up needing a shirt underneath.


Everlane has come a long way since I first discovered them. They’re not exclusively a knitwear brand, but their collections of sweaters and winter wear seem to only get better and better — and the new textured cotton cardigan is no exception. Made in an award-winning responsible factory in Nan’an, China, this cardigan is reminiscent of the ones my grandma used to knit me when I was a child, complete with the pearly buttons. Except this is the grown-up version, and I’m loving the look of it draped over a vintage skirt. It’s machine washable, a little bit stretchy and bouncy, and looks great over a shirt — or with nothing underneath at all.

what they make:

All the things… plus cardigans, sweaters, scarves, beanies.

what i’m wearing

Women’s Textured Cotton Cardigan in Ivory. (73% cotton, 27% nylon), size Small. ($98 USD).


5. forefolk

When you think of a slow knitwear label, you might imagine a small team of people working away in a studio, busily creating product for the shop. But in Forefolk’s case, the production team is one person — Erin, who hand-knits each and every piece in her small studio in Minnesota. But it doesn’t stop there. Instead of simply going to her local sewing supply store for yarn, she ensures that her yarn is responsibly sourced from small family farms and happy sheep. She aims to keep her business as environmentally friendly and ethical as possible, while crafting exceptional beanies and scarves.

what they make:

Beanies, scarves.

what i’m wearing:

The Dubbel Beanie in black ($55 USD)

I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a toque like this before. I even gushed about it to my friends, something I normally wouldn’t do about… a toque. It’s that good. The best word I can think of to describe it is ‘plush.’ Honestly, it feels like a thick, fuzzy pillow! Perfect for the freezing temperatures we get here in Calgary. Also, the double brim is stitched in place, which means no fuss — just pull on and go.


This post was sponsored by Forefolk, Dinadi, and Everlane. When you purchase items through some of the links above I may make a small commission from a sale. Thanks for supporting the brands that help make this blog possible and allow me to keep doing what I do! As always, all opinions are my own.