Who is… LN Knits?
The brand name LN Knits, which sounds like ‘Ellen Knits’ when said out loud, is a nod to the founder of this Belgian clothing label: Ellen Kegels.
More than ten years ago, this power woman had a plan: treating women, men and children to fair trade clothing made from the softest materials in the world.
It all started from alpaca wool knits, but the collections quickly expanded to include T-shirts in organic cotton too, among other goodies. LN Knits even sells books and knitting needles, so creative minds can get to work with LN Knits’ leftover yarn, which the label rolls into little balls and sells online.
Ellen Kegels settles for nothing less than baby alpaca yarn of the highest quality. To this all-time favourite she adds a small percentage of polyamide to make sure the knits retain their shape. But LN Knits doesn’t shy away from the occasional sidestep into merino wool either, offering customers a bit of extra variation for limited items.
Wearing pure alpaca wool is a dream come true when it’s freezing outside but would be less than comfy in summertime. That’s why LN Knits shifts to a blend of alpaca wool, silk and linen when the temperatures rise. For the numbers guys and girls among you: that’s 52% baby alpaca, 20% silk, 18% polyamide and 10% linen.
All LN Knits items are designed in Antwerp. Every season, with a great deal of care and meticulously following the brand’s vision, Kegels and her team of freelancers come up with timeless basics. LN Knits is a big fan of wool in basic colours, so most balls of yarn come back season after season to prove their worth. Yet the label also works with so-called ‘trend colors’. The leftover yarn stock in these hues is sold online, so the DIY community can get all crafty with it. Zero waste: check. When it comes to hangtags and other labels, Kegels makes a point of picking the most eco-friendly options available.
For many people, LN Knits is synonymous with Peru. That’s because there, in sunny South America, every knit is made by hand or with a hand knitting machine by a team of knitters, employed mostly by LN Knits’ main supplier Solid International. LN Knits provides jobs to about 350 women, who get fair wages that allow them to build a better future for themselves. Furthermore, LN Knits attaches a lot of importance to establishing a safe and inspiring work environment for these women, who can also rely on childcare services and receive healthcare. Kegels wants them to feel secure and surrounded by like-minded souls. In short, her brand creates a safe haven where women are rewarded for their hard work.
Moreover, LN Knits doesn’t turn a blind eye to the fact that it is part of the fashion industry and that it does contribute to air traffic – hence air traffic pollution. That’s why the brand teamed up with a Kenyan partner of Solid International for a carbon offset scheme, compensating its carbon footprint by investing in nature conservation and recovery projects.
LN Knits collections are sold in several multi-brand boutiques and concept stores, as well as via the LN Knits web shop. Every order passes through the skilled hands of Ellen Kegels, who adds lots of love to every box she packs and who consistently opts for the most eco-friendly shipping materials available. Via her website, Kegels makes a plea for sustainability and presents her brand’s sustainable vision, its values and beliefs to her customers, who can also browse background information like the LN Knits sustainability report and blog. No finger-wagging, but awareness-raising.
An LN Knits piece lasts a lifetime. If you take good care of it, that is – which is why the brand provides an after-sales service and informs customers, too. The LN Knits blog, for instance, has lots of maintenance tips, while the web shop is full of little helpers like clothing mist, steamers and shavers (to remove the bobbles).
Because of the superior quality of the yarn, an LN Knits knit can be cherished forever. But the brand wants to step up its game, for instance looking into ways to reincorporate old items into the production cycle and organizing online sample sales. After the launch of a new collection, LN Knits always ends up with quite a few samples. These items are often in perfect condition, so they get to spend the rest of their days with a new owner rather than on some dusty shelf. Knits that don’t pass the quality check (meaning they’re unfit for sale) are transformed into pillowcases. Sweet dreams!
What does sustainability mean for you?
Ellen Kegels: “Sustainability not only means working with natural materials and showing respect to mother nature; it means treating all of our ‘resources’ sustainably – including our Peruvian knitters. We provide them with fair wages, healthcare and a safe environment in which they can develop their talents to the full.”
What challenges are you currently facing?
Kegels: “We’re proud of where we stand today, but we know we still have a long way to go. We are not perfect yet and we want to make LN Knits even more sustainable. We have goals to work towards and challenges to work with! We want to keep reminding people of the importance of fair fashion and sustainability. Because we’re such a small company, we have our challenges in terms of budget too. Working as honestly and as sustainably as possible means that we have a lot of expenses. Our prices are high, but we’re raising the quality bar even higher.”
Which lesson(s) do you want to share?
Kegels: “Keep fighting for what you believe in. Make a difference, not matter how small, because every bit counts. And surround yourself with the right people – people who share your vision and can make a difference for you: coaches, employees, freelancers, a talented bookkeeper, …”
This page was created in March 2021. Curious to find out where LN Knits stands now? Feel free to get in touch with email@example.com!