Every piece I made was unique and whenever I wore one of my creations, people would stop and ask where I’d bought it
Snood’s head designer Ruth Walker recently featured in the centre pages of The Daily Express. Read the full article text below:
THE WONDER OF WOOL INSPIRED MY BUSINESS
Ruth Walker, 28, runs her own recycled knitwear label and is a part-time lecturer.
I’ve always made my own clothes. My school lunchtimes were spent at the textile club and I’ll always remember with fondness – if not a little embarrassment – the first of many outfits I made aged 12: a lilac culotte jumpsuit that I wore all summer.
I got a degree in textiles at Huddersfield before getting a job as a knitwear designer for a manufacturing company that supplied designers such as Paul Smith and Pringle. Working with gorgeous merinos, angoras and cashmeres cemented my love for fine wools and I knew one day I’d like to start my own label specialising in luxurious knits.
I’ve always been passionate about recycling, too, and when I read on the internet that over one million tonnes of textiles are discarded in household waste every year, with only a quarter recycled, it got me thinking about how I could unite the two.
So I visited charity shops and bought 20 pieces that I liked the feel of but which were boring and outdated. I began by unpicking the seams and playing around with the fabrics, folding them in on themselves, ruching the sleeves, gathering or wrapping sections of the pieces to create new necklines, new shapes and styles. With a little imagination, I found I could create completely new, modern pieces, which I couldn’t wait to wear myself.
Boring V-neck jumpers became beautiful bat-wing sleeved sweaters while I flipped long, fine-knitted skirts around, fashioned a neckline and added buttons and belts to create delectable dresses.
Every piece I made was unique and whenever I wore one of my creations, people would stop and ask where I’d bought it. I attracted so much interest that I decided to set up my own label. So in 2006, Snood – which stands for Sustainable, New, One-Off Designs – was born.
A local textiles recycling factory has became my favourite haunt. They give me special access so I can handpick and buy the best quality merinos, cashmere and lambswool from them before transforming the fabrics into gorgeous shrugs, slashneck sweaters, dresses and timeless tunics.
I rarely buy anything from the high street these days. You can never be sure they were made ethically. At least with my refashioned clothes I know I’m prolonging the life of a garment and because my pieces sell for around £40 to £60 anyone can afford them.
My favourite item at the moment is a soft lambswool and angora mix bat-wing sleeved sweater in a pink cable knit. In its former life it was a baggy cardigan but I’ve transformed it from granny to gorgeous.