Where do you get your inspiration from?
We draw inspiration from the rich traditional knitwear heritage of the west of Ireland, landscape patterns, natural textures, and light reflecting onto land from the sea. The studio is beside the Atlantic,- literally 1 km away from the Atlantic - and the weather and light changes here are amazing.
Our focus is to combine heritage with quality natural yarns, and advanced knitting and finishing technologies to create subtle & modern knitwear.
Where do you manufacture your products?
We design, R&D, manufacture & finish everything here in our Doolin knitwear studio and visitor centre.
What yarns do you use?
All our yarns are high quality 100% natural yarns including cashmere, lamb's wool merino, superfine alpaca, and exotic blends including camel hair and yak.
Where do you sell Ekotree products?
We sell to the higher end design shops in Ireland and export to the U.K., U.S.A., Europe and Japan.
Ekotree has opened Ireland's first open knitwear Studio and knitwear heritage centre here in Doolin, County Clare - it is free to visitors but we also have a 900 sq foot retail space carrying 5 Ekotree knitwear ranges, including: womenswear, menswear, home, gift and babywear.
How 'eco-friendly' is your knitwear?
Some of our yarns are G.O.T.S. certified, others are naturally dyed or regenerated but all of them are made from 100 % natural yarns. We have almost zero waste, and only use eco softeners. All our knitwear is fully fashioned (shaped) so there is no cut and sew/over locked seams typical of the low standard imported copies. We emboss or use natural dyes on our swing-tags, labels & promotional literature wherever possible. Our knitting & finishing machinery is modern with minimum energy & water usage.
As the owner and qualified environmental scientist and a designer-maker - sustainable practice is an intrinsic part of our business.
How do you see your company developing in the coming years?
Just to keep on doing what we are doing and improving all the time. We are continually expanding our product ranges. Before anything else our products are high quality, soft, affordable & modern. Although the new knitwear studio and knitwear visitor centre in Doolin is a fantastic project and super exciting.
Behind the business is a love of craft, heritage, technology, nature, quality & design - our underlying foundation is to be a modern sustainable knitwear business. I love the idea of building on heritage and creating continuity, employing and training local crafts people and making quality heritage and fashion knitwear. Building in resilience through knowledge, technology and sharing.
Our aim is to contribute to the revival and re-interpretation of Irish knitwear, so we R & D, design and manufacture with gusto, and strive to bring quality pieces to our customers at affordable prices - with minimum environmental impact.
Do you collaborate with other designer-makers?
Yes, of course. I love the idea of working and sharing ideas and technologies with other designer-makers. If you have an idea for a collaboration please drop over and chat about it - maybe we can create something amazing together : )
Any exciting plans for the rest of 2017?
As stated the new studio and knitwear visitor centre in Doolin is an amazing project and super exciting. We have been working on it for over 12 months and is now open to the public. It contains a small exhibition area mapping the development of the Irish Aran sweater from the past till the present day. It also explores the elements in this part of Ireland's west coast that influence and inspire Ekotree's ranges. This is presented through a beautifully filmed visually appealing video.
The new product ranges are exciting too - cashmere has become a growing part of our new range. We worked hard to get the product and finish right with a good level of softness without impacting on the quality of the cashmere fibre itself.
I am looking forward to the upcoming products photo shoot as I know they will photograph beautifully in the styled shots.