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Why merino and recycled Cashmere?

Banner Lana Serena

This is Anna, the woman behind Lana Serena

Anna Serena, founder of Lana Serena
Anna Serena, founder of Lana Serena

 

We sat down with Anna to get to know more about the way they’ve built their brand.

 

Merino wool and recycled cashmere as raw material

 

JF: Hi Anna, we are wondering, what is Recycled Cashmere?
Anna: Recycled cashmere is a precious and earth-friendly yarn that is regenerated from industrial surplus of 100% pure cashmere. It is carefully selected and then mechanically transformed into woollen fibers. Then these fibers are blended with pure premium merino wool in a ratio 95-5 and spun again into this premium recycled cashmere.

I fell in love with the wonderful recycled cashmere at once. The way it close the loop is great.  On average four goats are needed to be sheared to get enough yarn to knit one cashmere sweater.  That makes this fiber not only precious but difficult to sustain on a large scale. So choosing recycled cashmere feels the most respectful option towards the planet.

15% local Spanish merino wool mixed with 85% recycled cashmere, made into a beautiful high quality natural off white relaxed sweater
15% local Spanish merino wool mixed with 85% recycled cashmere, made into a beautiful high quality natural off white relaxed sweater

 

JF: That’s brilliant use of surplus material! So how did you come up with the idea to use this type of material
Anna: When we discovered that qualified Italian mill that developed a wonderful and pure recycled cashmere (95% recycled cashmere and 5% merino wool), things fell into place.  We wanted to include it in a couple of our designs to get that exciting mix of tradition and innovation.

Cashmere is one of the world’s finest fiber. The demand of cashmere has not stopped growing, and grasslands of Mongolia (which exports one third of the world cashmere) are suffering from desertification because an overpopulation of goats. That’s why it is important to find new solutions.

 

50% local Spanish merino wool mixed with 50% recycled cashmere, made into a beautiful high quality natural off white cable knit sweater
50% local Spanish merino wool mixed with 50% recycled cashmere, made into a beautiful high quality natural off white cable knit sweater

JF: What about your other raw material, the merino wool, how do you work with the shepherds to collect it?
Anna: At Lana Serena we buy all the merino wool yarn through the initiative Transhumance by Made in Slow. In Spain, transhumance is a centenarian practice that consists on moving the flock of sheep from the valley to the adjacent mountains in order to feed them with fresh grass the whole year around. This initiative is important because it agrees with local shepherds, and gives them a fair price for the wool. Thus encouraging them to keep this tradition. In Spring they collect the wool (fleece) and the whole process of the yarn is also made in Spain.

 

Quality bib made of 100% local Spanish merino wool knitted outside of Barcelona
Quality bib made of 100% local Spanish merino wool knitted outside of Barcelona

We wants to support shepherds and their flock of sheep and we also want to contribute to the preservation of Spanish rural traditions and cultural heritage. The goal of  the initiative Transhumance by Made in Slow is to make sure the shepherds can make a living off the wool and by that encourage more shepherds to recover that centenarian practice. Traceability and transparency is crucial in our collaboration.

 

JF: What is the impact you have when you choose to use this type of  source for a product?
Anna: It was the summer of 2015 when I discovered that some Spanish shepherds were discarding the wool of their merino sheep. I researched on Spanish wool heritage and wool happened to be the purpose to start this project. By sourcing Spanish merino wool from transhumant flock of sheep, we are contributing to the protection of our cultural and natural heritage.

Sheep play an important role as part of the countryside’s biodiversity and also contribute to clean the underwood and thus preventing wildfires. By shearing, cleaning, spinning and knitting in Spain, we are helping to preserve the old professions associated to the wool trade and reduce the CO2 impact of the whole process.

 

Manuel's sheep
Shepherd Manuel with his sheep. Picture: Made in Slow


Thank you Anna! 

 

See all of Lana Serena’s pieces here!

Handcrafted 100% merino wool chunky knits

Dive deeper into this story

Transhumance of sheep

The remaining shepherds practicing transhumance, comes from families who have been this for generations.

Transhumance means to follow the old traditions of seasonal migration of livestock, and the people who tend them, between lowlands and the adjacent mountains. Transhumance in Spain has been a key factor for the merino wool quality. The reason is that sheep who roam get better quality of grass and that turns into a better quality of their fleece.

Made in Slow is a platform, founded and directed by Alberto Díaz, whose mission is to preserve and recuperate Spanish cultural heritage at risk of disappearance.

Merino sheep grazing in Extremadura. Picture courtesy of Made in Slow.
Merino sheep grazing in Extremadura. Picture: Made in Slow.

Supporting Traditional Skills

Lana Serena’s merino wool comes from transhumant merino flock of sheep from Castilla y León and Extremadura (Spain). They migrate twice per year with their shepherds from the grasslands to the summer pastures up in the mountains using the centenarian Cañadas Reales or Royal routes.

 

“Lana Serena does not follow trends and seasons. We conceive our designs as timeless, and our quality is premium.  We encourage you to wear them year after year because they will never seem out of date. We mostly produce made to order. And in the unlike possibility that a piece is discarded, you must know that pure wool is 100% biodegradable. It decomposes into the earth acting as a natural fertilizer”

 

Handcrafted 100% merino wool cape showpiece
Handcrafted 100% merino wool cape showpiece

The artisan pieces which are more avant-garde than the mainline are hand knitted by Artisan women from rural regions in Castilla and Leon. By that, Lana Serena also supports the recovery of centennial trades and the empowerment of women. Right now they are working with a group of 5 women who do the knitting the pieces. They decide over their jobs.

Their main line is manufactured  in a family owned workshop near Barcelona. There is a long textile tradition in Catalonia that comes from the nineteenth century.