Join us in conversation with founder Kate, where we get to know a bit more about the brand, who is founding relationships between consumer and product through nature led design.
What is the inspiration behind your brand?
“I have always been interested in knitwear production, having studied it at school and university. Having had experience after university in knitwear design, I missed the craft and practical side of traditional knitwear production. I had been reading a lot in the press about mills shutting down in Scotland and a lot of the industry leaving the U.K., so being young at the time I knew I had to try this now or I never would. It’s trying to bring the production back locally, making more within the U.K and reconnecting textiles within the community.’
Getting feedback from customers about the physical making of something, the use of natural fibres, good quality wool...you begin to realise the value in what you do.
Oubas is a name from the local area where I am from, linking back to the community and heritage and sense of place.
Tell us about your team and the studio space.
“There is a team of 5 of us in total working across social media, marketing, photography, production and serving customers direct from our studio. It is an opened planned space with a showroom to the front and we create the pieces in the back. Customers can pop in and have a look at what we are creating, seeing it from yarn to finished product is an insight that you don’t normally get.”
What is your creative process?
“I usually start with a yarn, experimenting with drape and stitch. It is the yarn and colour that brings a shape to life. From here we experiment with drawing silhouettes and creating patterns, before knitting out some proto samples. We then adjust these using digital programming to ensure everything is exactly how we envisioned it, experimenting with depths of tensions and ribs to create the final piece.
I tend to look within nature and the landscape in Cumbria. Lichens on stone walling, brackens on the hillsides, natural tones within the landscape, particularly throughout the Autumn when these earthy tones are in full display.
Which setting or place do you find most inspiring?
“Walking in woodland is most inspiring to me, I go there to switch off and find peace. Coniston is another place I love to walk in, it has an old woodland and a lake, you can sit by the water and it’s a real creative sanctuary to me.”
What is the significance of using British wool within your production?
“I had a frustration that there isn’t a lot of British wool being used. It’s a local fibre that is being wasted. I think that people have a perception that British wool is itchy or old fashioned, but it’s about reimagining the use of British wool; to add value to it so it goes back to the farming community.” The value of wool within British farming is minimal in their income, but if we can change people’s mindsets on British wool this can be a more sustainable fibre source, and in term will help to support the British farming community.”
How has your brand impacted the local community?
"Having a space in which we can run workshops has allowed us to build an inspired customer base. Having this on their doorstep, there is a growing movement in more people wanting to wear wool. People are taking more of an interest in where the things they wear have come from and they are really engaged in the process, as well as supporting local production and small British businesses. It’s also been great to work local colleges and schools to inspire students to go into textiles."
What is your vision for the brand for the future?
"I want to continue to establish and build on the sustainable practices in our business, where we can use more local fibres and promote the use of British wools. Expanding into menswear and home wear is also an area in which we want to explore, as well as increasing the brand to create more employment opportunities in the local area. We would also love to open our own shop more central into the lakes, to promote our product as well as provide a creative space for local crafts people and businesses."
We want to continue to encourage people to dress in beautiful, local fibres.
It was clear to us from the moment that we first discovered this wonderful brand that we were instantly in love with the story, heritage, and deep routed connection Oubas holds with the natural world. It seemed only natural to ask Kate if we could feature some of our favourite pieces on our store, which you can shop here.
You can follow Oubas on Instagram or sign up for updates on their website. We’d love to hear what you think!
***Campaign images are a curated selection from Oubas Website or @oubasknitwear on Instagram in which we have received permission to use.