The Best Ways To Shop Sustainable Knitwear

Alicia Lansom
·4-min read

Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, our spending habits seem to have taken a sharp left turn. With many of us spending more time on our devices than usual, our propensity for online shopping has skyrocketed, as boredom and stress fuel our online expenditure.

According to new data, 61% of British consumers admitted to shopping more online during the pandemic, with 89% saying they will likely continue to shop online at the same level or more post-lockdown. Newly released sales figures from e-commerce sites like ASOS confirm this sentiment: the e-tailer has quadrupled its profits since quarantine began.

With many people unable to shop IRL during the pandemic, the pivot towards online shopping was to be expected but as the COVID-19 crisis continues, it's important to make sure that our online shopping experience is as sustainable as possible. Many of us have made the move towards responsible loungewear in the last few months and the next big item on our winter wish list is eco-friendly knitwear.

Knitted garments are often made of plastic-based materials like nylon and acrylic, making the switch to sustainable knitted goods feel difficult – but it doesn't have to be. When it comes to shopping for sustainable knitwear, one of the best courses of action you can take is buying pieces made entirely from one material, like 100% wool, so that the garment can be recycled further down the line.

You could also give an old knitted item a second lease of life by shopping vintage or keep things made for purpose by shopping with small-batch companies. Or you could shop cruelty-free knits by looking for pieces made from materials like organic cotton and Econyl. Whichever way you want to shop sustainably this winter, we’ve got you covered with a selection of the cosiest sustainable knits online right now.

Click through the slideshow ahead to shop our favourite styles...

Refinery29's selection is purely editorial and independently chosen – we only feature items we love! As part of our business model we do work with affiliates; if you directly purchase something from a link on this article, we may earn a small amount of commission. Transparency is important to us at Refinery29, if you have any questions please reach out to us.

While the most sustainable knit you can wear is one you already own, vintage is the next best thing. With secondhand sellers digging out tons of one-off treasures, the best chance of scoring affordable and one-of-a-kind knits is to shop vintage. Look to the '70s for Fair Isle and Austrian knits, the '80s for novelty jumpers and the '90s for sleek button-down cardigans.
While the most sustainable knit you can wear is one you already own, vintage is the next best thing. With secondhand sellers digging out tons of one-off treasures, the best chance of scoring affordable and one-of-a-kind knits is to shop vintage. Look to the '70s for Fair Isle and Austrian knits, the '80s for novelty jumpers and the '90s for sleek button-down cardigans.
<br><br><strong>the wilde shop</strong> Vintage Rad Hand Knit Fluffy Jumper, $, available at <a href="https://marketplace.asos.com/listing/jumpers/vintage-rad-hand-knit-fluffy-jumper/5982153" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:asos marketplace" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">asos marketplace</a>


the wilde shop Vintage Rad Hand Knit Fluffy Jumper, $, available at asos marketplace
<br><br><strong>Moodshop Girls</strong> 80s Vintage Iceland Handknitted Heavy Wool Jumper, $, available at <a href="https://marketplace.asos.com/listing/jumpers/80s-vintage-iceland-handknitted-heavy-wool-jumper-sweater-46/5981748" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:asos marketplace" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">asos marketplace</a>


Moodshop Girls 80s Vintage Iceland Handknitted Heavy Wool Jumper, $, available at asos marketplace
<br><br><strong>Urban Renewal</strong> Salvaged Deadstock Cable Knit Vest, $, available at <a href="https://www.urbanoutfitters.com/en-gb/shop/urban-renewal-salvaged-deadstock-cable-knit-vest?" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Urban Outfitters" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Urban Outfitters</a>


Urban Renewal Salvaged Deadstock Cable Knit Vest, $, available at Urban Outfitters
<br><br><strong>BEYOND RETRO</strong> 1990s Button Front Cardigan, $, available at <a href="https://www.beyondretro.com/products/1990s-button-front-cardigan-l-16" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Beyond Retro" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Beyond Retro</a>


BEYOND RETRO 1990s Button Front Cardigan, $, available at Beyond Retro
<br><br><strong>Missoni</strong> Wool Cardigan, $, available at <a href="https://www.vestiairecollective.com/women-clothing/knitwear/missoni/multicolour-wool-missoni-knitwear-11681735.shtml" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Vestiaire Collective" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Vestiaire Collective</a>


Missoni Wool Cardigan, $, available at Vestiaire Collective
One of the easiest ways to shop sustainably is to buy from brands that have lower production levels than major retailers. Indie labels like <a href="https://www.theknitter.co/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:The Knitter" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">The Knitter</a> are a perfect example, selling a small range of handmade, 100% merino wool jumpers and cardigans. Cutting out the long production line, shopping small can help make your wardrobe more ethical and sustainable.
One of the easiest ways to shop sustainably is to buy from brands that have lower production levels than major retailers. Indie labels like The Knitter are a perfect example, selling a small range of handmade, 100% merino wool jumpers and cardigans. Cutting out the long production line, shopping small can help make your wardrobe more ethical and sustainable.
<br><br><strong>The Knitter</strong> Ugly Jumper, $, available at <a href="https://www.theknitter.co/shop/uglyjumper" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:The Knitter" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">The Knitter</a>


The Knitter Ugly Jumper, $, available at The Knitter
<br><br><strong>The Knotty Ones</strong> Heartbreaker Sweater, $, available at <a href="https://www.theknottyones.com/collections/all/products/heartbreaker-sweater-beige?" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:The Knotty Ones" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">The Knotty Ones</a>


The Knotty Ones Heartbreaker Sweater, $, available at The Knotty Ones
<br><br><strong>Navy Grey</strong> The Rib Funnel, $, available at <a href="https://navygrey.co/products/the-relaxed-funnel-navy?" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Navy Grey" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Navy Grey</a>


Navy Grey The Rib Funnel, $, available at Navy Grey
<br><br><strong>Lenvers</strong> Lucie Wool Sweater, $, available at <a href="https://www.lenversfashion.com/products/lucie-wool-sweater-1" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Lenvers" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Lenvers</a>


Lenvers Lucie Wool Sweater, $, available at Lenvers
<br><br><strong>Ally Bee</strong> Fishermans Rib Recycled Cashmere Sweater, $, available at <a href="https://ally-bee.com/collections/new-recycled-cashmere-collection/products/fishermans-rib-recycled-cashmere-sweater-blue-marl" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Ally Bee" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Ally Bee</a>


Ally Bee Fishermans Rib Recycled Cashmere Sweater, $, available at Ally Bee
Finding cosy knitwear which is also cruelty-free can feel like an impossible task. For jumpers and cardigans that contain no animal fibres, it's best to look to larger sustainable brands like <a href="https://www.everlane.com/?utm_medium=cpc&utm_source=google-brand&utm_campaign=1571687173&utm_content=295930544378&utm_term=kwd-299004661882&adgroup=58441814294&device=c&gclid=CjwKCAjwlbr8BRA0EiwAnt4MTtFbBsacALPf5joIuAFE2XB8Q3pPT1W-Sk0EYIwiQKX22MW_bgeIoRoC-8YQAvD_BwE" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Everlane" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Everlane</a> and <a href="https://www.thereformation.com/categories/new?" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Reformation" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Reformation</a>. Carrying a range of 100% organic cotton-based knits, you can sleep soundly knowing no wool was used in the production process.
Finding cosy knitwear which is also cruelty-free can feel like an impossible task. For jumpers and cardigans that contain no animal fibres, it's best to look to larger sustainable brands like Everlane and Reformation. Carrying a range of 100% organic cotton-based knits, you can sleep soundly knowing no wool was used in the production process.
<br><br><strong>Armed Angels</strong> Yunaa Jumper, $, available at <a href="https://sanchosshop.com/collections/knitwear-and-jumpers/products/yunaa-jumper-in-black?" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Sancho's" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Sancho's</a>


Armed Angels Yunaa Jumper, $, available at Sancho's
<br><br><strong>Everlane</strong> The Mesh Soft Cotton Crew, $, available at <a href="https://www.everlane.com/products/womens-mesh-soft-cotton-crew-praline" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Everlane" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Everlane</a>


Everlane The Mesh Soft Cotton Crew, $, available at Everlane
<br><br><strong>King & Tuckfield</strong> Cable-Knit Linen and Cotton-Blend Sweater, $, available at <a href="https://www.net-a-porter.com/en-gb/shop/product/king-and-tuckfield/cable-knit-linen-and-cotton-blend-sweater/1214063" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Net-A-Porter" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Net-A-Porter</a>


King & Tuckfield Cable-Knit Linen and Cotton-Blend Sweater, $, available at Net-A-Porter
<br><br><strong>Toast</strong> Indigo Cotton Sweater, $, available at <a href="https://www.toa.st/uk/product/womens+knitwear/canbc/indigo+cotton+gansey+sweater.htm" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Toast" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Toast</a>


Toast Indigo Cotton Sweater, $, available at Toast
<br><br><strong>Reformation</strong> Sami Cropped Sweater, $, available at <a href="https://www.thereformation.com/products/sami-sweater?" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Reformation" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Reformation</a>


Reformation Sami Cropped Sweater, $, available at Reformation
Made to order is the latest wave hitting the sustainability movement, as brands produce only what's in demand, meaning less waste overall. <a href="https://hades-shop.co.uk/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:HADES" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">HADES</a>, our favourite Scottish label, is perfect for those looking for pure wool jumpers with cute and cult graphic prints. If you're in search of something more classic, look to <a href="https://birdsong.london/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Birdsong" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Birdsong</a> for an array of crochet cardigans.
Made to order is the latest wave hitting the sustainability movement, as brands produce only what's in demand, meaning less waste overall. HADES, our favourite Scottish label, is perfect for those looking for pure wool jumpers with cute and cult graphic prints. If you're in search of something more classic, look to Birdsong for an array of crochet cardigans.
<br><br><strong>Hope Macaulay</strong> Venus Chunky Knit Sweater Vest, $, available at <a href="https://hopemacaulay.com/collections/knitwear/products/venus-chunky-knit-sweater-vest" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Hope Macaulay" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Hope Macaulay</a>


Hope Macaulay Venus Chunky Knit Sweater Vest, $, available at Hope Macaulay
<br><br><strong>Birdsong x Katie Jones</strong> Recycled Denim Crochet Cardigan, $, available at <a href="https://birdsong.london/collections/birdsong-x-katie-jones/products/birdsong-x-katie-jones-recycled-denim-crochet-cardigan" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Birdsong" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Birdsong</a>


Birdsong x Katie Jones Recycled Denim Crochet Cardigan, $, available at Birdsong
<br><br><strong>Hades</strong> Alphabet T Knit, $, available at <a href="https://hades-shop.co.uk/collections/shop/products/alphabet-t-knit" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Hades" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Hades</a>


Hades Alphabet T Knit, $, available at Hades
<br><br><strong>VeganLoops</strong> Vegan Hand Knit Striped Chunky Oversized Jumper, $, available at <a href="https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/859663680/vegan-hand-knit-striped-chunky-oversized?" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Etsy" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Etsy</a>


VeganLoops Vegan Hand Knit Striped Chunky Oversized Jumper, $, available at Etsy
<br><br><strong>People Tree</strong> Maisie Stripe Jumper, $, available at <a href="https://www.peopletree.co.uk/women/knitwear/maisie-stripe-jumper" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:People Tree" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">People Tree</a>


People Tree Maisie Stripe Jumper, $, available at People Tree
<br><br><strong>Genevieve Sweeney</strong> Lambswool Slouch Turtleneck Jumper, $, available at <a href="https://www.genevievesweeney.com/product/thame-lambswool-charcoal-grey/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Genevieve Sweeney" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Genevieve Sweeney</a>


Genevieve Sweeney Lambswool Slouch Turtleneck Jumper, $, available at Genevieve Sweeney

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