A WHIRLWIND OF IDEAS

“You’re lucky you were able to find your way back down in this weather. Next time you should line your running shoes with some Herdwick wool. That’ll keep your feet warm and dry. There's so much value in that wool, you know. If there was time, you could really do something useful with it.”

The light was fading, the rain had set in, and, befitting the occasion, a low mist covered the valley floor in a thick wooly drape. There was very little to recommend that day, until this passing conversation with a local farmer set in motion a whirlwind of ideas that ultimately led to the creation of RUSKIN. It is a conversation that I remember vividly that has always proved to be a steadying reminder along the way, of what we set out to do. 

THE RIGHT KIND OF SENSORY OVERLOAD

My husband and I have both led professional careers which have taken us, for many years on an international magical mystery tour. In the winter of 2016 we returned home to the Lake District knowing that we wanted to put our skills and passions into something more creative. In a world of digital explosion and mass production that has left our senses depleted, we wanted to propose something more natural; the kind of design with real depth and beauty that offers up all the right kind of sensory overload. 

 Fascinated by my conversation with the farmer that day, we decided that if we could harness the properties in the Herdwick wool the right way, we could elevate this natural fibre and reimagine its potential. The result is the RUSKIN tweed range. 

TIME TO RECONNECT

Essentially, the designs we produce at RUSKIN are about connection; human connection with the natural environment and exceptional handcrafted work. This comes from working closely and creatively with our artisans who understand that it is the finer details of their craft and the natural nuances and texture of our materials that engage the senses and reconnect us with our world. 

Creating RUSKIN has been a lesson in longevity. It took us the best part of a year and a half to bring the tweed collection to life but the beauty in creating something from scratch is that you can create the product you want, the right way, from the start. We chose worsted weavers in Yorkshire and traditional artisans in Italy who share an appreciation for material and texture and have the same respect for nature’s resources as we do. As we have grown, we have added a leather range, in a softly muted palette that showcases the extraordinary work of our artisans. 

A HAPPY ACCIDENT

It was a happy accident that I bumped in to the farmer that day. Having grown up in the Lake District, where there is an inherent respect for nature and natural materials, two things from that conversation really resonated: firstly the consideration of time and secondly that earnest declaration of value. We have chosen a way of doing things at RUSKIN that is slower and time intensive but we believe in this way, we can offer a truly exceptional collection of the greatest integrity and value that helps to restore that delicate sensitivity which has deteriorated under the circumstances of modern life. We are thrilled that you are here and have discovered the RUSKIN collection; our creative endeavour to offer a considered solution that works with nature, rather than against it.

Alli, who designs each RUSKIN, grew up in the English Lake District and created RUSKIN when she was in London. More recently she moved to Oxford where she now lives with her husband and two children.