At the end of the day, slow fashion is about people. Every time you put on a hand-knitted garment, a story is told. A story about the people who have taken care of the animals, who have washed and dyed the wool, who have spun the yarn, and who have transported it to you. People who, with their own hands, have added personality to every yarn Önling offers our customers.
We call it human responsibility, and at Önling we have focused on ensuring the quality of life of the many people involved in producing our yarns. As their story is woven into yours, it is our responsibility that it is also a story you want to tell - and perhaps pass on.
Awareness of the impact of the world's clothing consumption on the people involved in production has grown in recent years - and we believe that this has been an important realization. It is in no way sustainable that our clothes are produced on behalf of human lives, and we have a responsibility to ensure that the employees of the textile and yarn factories have proper and safe working conditions. That attitude is molded into the very core of Önling's yarns.
98% of our yarns are produced at European producers – mainly in Italy and Scotland – who guarantee that the basic working conditions are determined according to EU directives.
We have visited our producers, the majority of whom are family-run businesses with a staff of permanent employees. During our visit, we experienced up close how they value safety, good working conditions and a high quality of life for their employees.
One thing is to have good and close contact with our immediate suppliers, and that several certification schemes embrace the entire supplier chain – it is quite another thing to make a personal visit to the manufacturing facilities and experience how the employees are doing. Nothing beats shaking another person's hand and looking them in the eyes, to ensure that working conditions in reality live up to those on paper.
That is why we hope to be able to visit those places in fx Australia and New Zealand, where animals provide the raw materials for our yarns, and where passionate people are the first to get their hands on the wool. Even if that part of the production takes place on the other side of the globe, it must be done in the right way.
At the same time, we are also in the process of learning more about how our cotton is produced - including what conditions the workers on the cotton farms have. Even just an annual online 'visit' can make a difference to our – and thus your – confidence in the supply chain.
You may have noticed that we are not price leaders when it comes to the price of our knitting patterns - and there is a good reason for that. We pay a higher price to the knitwear designers for their digital patterns, because we want to ensure that they can actually make a living from their work.
It can easily take 50+ hours to develop a high quality knitting pattern, plus the time to knit a prototype and translate the pattern. Still, there is a tendency towards a knitting pattern not having any value, something that should be given away for free. We have chosen to go the other way and insist that the price of a pattern should reflect the work the designer has put into it. We believe that this creates long-lasting relationships and makes the designers want to keep creating the amazing patterns that you'll want to knit.
The feeling of wool yarn between your fingers, the sound of busy knitting needles, the pride when you have created a favorite piece of clothing with your own hands. Knitting is about so much more than filling the wardrobe - it's also about stress relief and mental health. Turning off the brain and using the hands for something that is created out of desire and creativity brings happiness to the soul.
But when it comes to our customers, sustainability is also about ensuring that the finished piece of clothing is just as good for the skin and body as it is for the soul. That's why none of Önling's yarns are 'superwashed'. Superwashed is a chemical surface treatment given to the yarn to ensure that it doesn't shrink.
Önling has one single yarn labelled 'unshrinkable'. Here, the effect is the result of an old-fashioned and more gentle process, where the wool is placed in a sodium bath, which protects it from shrinking in wash. This yarn is especially good for baby knitting as it is machine washable.
Image by Freepik
For many, knitting is a solo activity – perhaps because it is an activity that is also about giving the brain a much-needed break. But at Önling, we would also like to show how knitting can be a social activity that makes it easier to meet new people.
We dream of being able to invite you to even more events, such as knitting salons and lectures, and to create a stronger bond between you and us. We believe in giving back - and in this case in creating a space where you can meet around the common passion that binds you together.
If you have a concrete idea or a suggestion for how we can crack the event nut, we would love to hear from you.
From the very start, the aim was to create a company that we would love to work in - every day. In our eyes, an employment relationship goes both ways, and as an 'önling' you must also bring energy home after a working day. Our employees are, of course, white-collar employees with conditions similar to collective agreements, and we value a healthy and humane balance between leisure and work.
As a matter of course, we take interns, and we take both flex-jobbers and people on job trials via the municipality. As you have probably experienced yourself, knitting is healthy for the soul, and we have seen many times that the tactile work with yarn is so good for overloaded brains that many people have started their work life again after having spent time at Önling. This is where going to work really makes sense.
On the whole, Önling is still a small company, and we are not market leaders in terms of salaries.
We know that good karma, soul and yarn cannot be put into the household budget. Therefore, we continuously work towards being able to increase our salaries and improve the conditions for our employees.
Of course, we believe that knitting is the solution to most things, but admittedly there are a few things in the world it is not the solution to. And yet.
From the very start, Önling has put effort into contributing to organizations that make the world a better place in various ways. For us, human sustainability is also about doing good for other people.
Some of our projects:
# We create special knitting patterns, where all or part of the sales go to various charitable organisations, e.g. to a home for vulnerable children ('Julemærkehjemmet') and to the national organization for people with mental disorders (The SIND organisation).
# We collect yarn for people who knit for homeless shelters - among other things they make scarves for homeless and socially disadvantaged.
# We are happy to donate yarn if people approach us with a good project. Among other things, we have donated yarn to a clinic for eating disorders, where they use knitting as part of the therapy work.
# We have an agreement with the association Neonatalstrik, who knits hats for premature babies - we collect and deliver the softest yarn scraps from our Danish customers, who in return receive a discount on their next purchase.
Currently we unfortuantely only accept scrap yarn from customers living in Denmark
Pitch us if you have an idea for how Önling can help?
We always like to hear from people or organizations who believe that we can make a noticeable difference for a good cause - and if it's yarn-related, it's even better. Feel free to contact us at email@example.com