Plain Herringbone Scarf in Grey. Picture credit: Flock England
Winter has well and truly set in and one thing I love doing at this time of year is wrapping up warm ready to brave the cold.
Anyone who knows me will know I own just a few scarves…I have never actually counted, but I would say the number is high in the 40s…yep just a few!
So naturally, my pick for a December must have had to be a scarf, a woolly scarf, and where better to go to than a British wool brand making beautiful products from the fleeces of their very own flock of sheep.
Large Chocolate Brown Herringbone Blanket Scarf. Picture credit: Flock England
Flock England, based in rural Oxfordshire, collect fleeces from their 200 strong flock of sheep every summer, before turning them into beautiful products like scarves and blankets.
All products are 100% wool and one of my favourites from the range is the Herringbone Scarf with its classy natural colours – perfect for both city and country outings. Owner and founder of Flock England, Lily Cox agrees, she said: “We love the natural and neutral colours – they go with anything whether it is a tweed hacking jacket in the countryside or a smart suit in the city. You definitely can’t go wrong with wool in the winter wherever you are!”
“We design the products ourselves and use only the natural colours of the wool” added Lily, “no dyes or chemicals used.”
It all began just two years ago for the small company who, rather than burn the fleeces from their flock of sheep, decided to put them to good use. They chose a woollen mill in Wales where they send their wool for a wash, spin and weave before the final product is made.
Large Grey & Cream Check Blanket. Picture credit: Flock England
Some people argue the use of wool is cruel, often making comparisons to the fur industry, but Lily explains how the production of wool products is a world away from being cruel. She says: “Sheep need to be sheared once a year so that they don’t overheat and the fleece doesn’t get too long which can affect their movement and general well being. It’s like a human going to the hairdresser – the hairdresser doesn’t kill or harm you when cutting your hair. If anything we are taking this fantastic byproduct that would otherwise be thrown away and turn it into something long lasting and extremely useful. I think people mistake wool for fur – the two are completely different.”
The Herringbone Scarf has made its way onto my Christmas list, it costs £30 and is available to buy from Flock England’s website.
If you would rather meet the team in person, Flock England will be at Richmond’s Christmas Artisan Market on the 10th and 17th of December inside the picturesque Heron Square.
Large Grey Herringbone Blanket. Picture credit: Flock England
Check our our interview in full:
Where did it all begin for Flock England?“Flock England began in 2015 between two friends. With a small flock of sheep used only for grazing, we wanted to find a way to put their fleece to good use. The wool industry in the UK has been in decline for a while and most farmers now burn their fleeces as it costs too much to send it away, which is a great shame! We searched for a woollen mill and found a traditional one in Wales where they could wash and spin the wool into yarn for weaving and then create a range of products for us to sell. We attended our first Christmas market with only a couple of products in Dec 2015. Thanks to its success we decided to carry on. The project is something we feel passionately about and we are proud to be supporting the British wool industry where we can.”
It’s pretty impressive that you use all of your own wool, how important is that to you? “It’s vital. We know exactly where the fleece has come from and how the sheep are treated. It also sets us aside from the larger chain stores and gives us our USP.”
How big is your flock?“We have just under 200 sheep.”
Small Cream & Brown Stripe Blanket. Picture credit: Flock England
Some people have argued that using sheep wool is cruel, how would you respond to that and reassure the public when buying wool?“I laugh at this and get this all the time. It’s quite the opposite. Sheep need to be sheared once a year so that they don’t overheat and the fleece doesn’t get too long which can affect their movement and general well being. It’s like a human going to the hairdresser – the hairdresser doesn’t kill or harm you when cutting your hair. If anything we are taking this fantastic byproduct that would otherwise be thrown away and turn it into something long lasting and extremely useful. I think people mistake wool for fur – the two are completely different.”
You have some gorgeous products, my personal favourite is your Plain Herringbone Scarf, it can effortlessly transfer from country to city environments, would you agree? “Yes, we love the natural and neutral colours – they go with anything whether it is a tweed hacking jacket in the countryside or a smart suit in the city. You definitely can’t go wrong with wool in the winter wherever you are!
The pattern is simple yet effective, how does the design process work?
“We design the products ourselves and use only the natural colours of the wool. No dyes or chemicals used.”
As well as scarves, you also produce blankets, do you have any favourites in your range? “My favourite is the large grey herringbone check blanket – very warm and snuggly.”
What’s next for Flock England? “We are still in the early stages, trying hard to get the name out organically. We are very small so we are under no illusion this may take us a while. As long as we have the support we will be able to continue. We are very excited to be bringing out more stock and new designs this winter. We will be at the Richmond Artisan market in London on 10th & 17th Dec for those that wish to see us in person!”
Thanks for reading,