Herdwick are a breed of sheep that live on the highest of England's mountains in the Lake District. They are noticeable by their soft alabaster faces and quizzical looks and appear, upon acquaintance, almost as curious about us as we are about them.
As a rare and protected breed, Herdwick has been farmed over centuries in the Lake District and are considered the most hardy of British hill sheep. By nature, their strong protective coats are heavy and dense, perfectly suited to withstand the long harsh winters and severe mountain conditions. Consequently, the wool produced by the Herdwick is uniquely durable and pliable and the lanolin coating on the wool fibres act as a protective water repellent barrier.
As cultural tides shift requesting change, our idea is to innovate with the wool produced by this special breed to bring a fresh creative proposition - a signature performance fabric, full of depth and beauty, incorporating the many attributes inherent in this natural fibre.
Herdwick wool is by nature, extremely difficult to manage due to the complex manufacturing processes involved and the long lead times. To begin with, the raw wool is cleaned and scoured and then passed through a series of carding machines to straighten and blend the fibres. These fibres are then slowly and carefully spun into a fine worsted yarn by machines that require regular tweaking and adjusting to ensure the yarn best suits its final purpose. The completed yarn is then sent down the valley to the next mill where a twill weave structure is used to give a more tightly woven, smooth fabric. Finally, the completed tweed is washed in natural soap and well water, drawn from below the mill, to make the fibres shrink and interlock and to enhance the waterproof properties. Since we do not dye or alter RUSKIN tweed in any way, the fabric is then dried and pressed before being shipped out to Italy.
We are extremely proud to work with the traditional mills in Yorkshire to create our tweed and to be able to utilise this particular type of wool which, in recent years has realised very little return for Lakeland farmers. We believe that our uncompromising adherence to authentic production processes are true markers of quality in this noble fabric. We are delighted to introduce you to RUSKIN Tweed, a fabric designed to meet modern design rigor with a refined sense of ease and soul.