Ethical & sustainable values are at the core of Ally Bee. Garments are produced with fair reward to the makers and special attention is given to the sourcing of environmentally sustainable materials. All machine-knitted pieces in the Ally Bee collection are designed in London and made in limited volumes in small factories in Scotland and England.
The small line of hand-knitted garments in the 2017 collection are made by a fairly managed knitting team based in Tamil Nadu India. Fair labour standards were essential when sourcing production for this new strand in the Ally Bee story.
“Fashion brands need to take care to ensure the stakeholders in the production chain – from the farmers, the spinners and makers – get a fair deal for what they do. Employing the services of knitters in a B Corporation certified studio in Tamil Nadu gave me the assurances in these standards. And when I visited the facility this year I saw what a difference this employment opportunity means for the women trained and invested in this venture. Knitting for this company means not only fair pay and a safe working environment, but also new opportunities for illiterate and semi-literate women in these local Tamil communities, and their kids.” ~ Alison Baker, Founder, Ally Bee Knitwear.
Ally Bee hand-knits have been designed exclusively for the Ally Bee collection by freelance New York-based knitwear designer, Laura Zukaite. The design process began in February 2017, with mood boards and design brief, and in August Laura and Alison travelled to India to visit the knitters and oversee first stages of production of the collection.
Each woman apprenticed to the knitting hub is given 7 months paid training and mentoring. When her knitting is perfected and flawless she is assigned to a design and takes ownership of the making. Illiteracy is common in this region of India, so most women receive a basic education in reading, and maths for the first time in their life, while also learning the skill of knitting.
The training and employment offered through this project is supportive, nurturing and stimulating in a safe environment. As a norm, work is 6 hours per day in a well-lit, spacious and clean studio.
As a B Corp registered organisation, worker’s rights are are held in the highest regard.
Sustainable superfine merino
For the hand-knit collection, Ally Bee chose a superfine merino yarn – the softest merino fibre – from Gostwyck farm in south east Australia. The sheep on the farm are bred to not require mulesing and the farm is recognised for its sustainable land management practices.