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The Making Of The New Ethical Knitwear Brand The Endery

The Endery was built on the motto of ‘buying less and buying better.’ Founded in Lima, Peru, in early 2019, with the aim of using ‘the finest waste’ – in other words, deadstock yarn. Focusing on being ‘shamelessly sustainable’ Kelly Phenicie and Ellen Saville make sweaters that are not only made from waste materials but knit by fair trade knitters in Peru. 

Limited edition, small lots and highly individual: The Endery promises to redefine the way shoppers look at knitwear and how to buy a product that is lovingly made, slowly, and that will last a lifetime.

Photo: The Endery
Photo: The Endery

Alpaca Series I

Having strong relationships with the best yarn suppliers and factories in Peru (and as knitting manufacturers in their own right), Kelly and Ellen realized the problem of leftovers is both an issue in their own workshop and also much further afield. Peru, being a producer of high end luxury fibers, has some pretty great leftovers – a whopping 15+ tons of yarn per year in Peru alone. Warehouses full of wonderful material with nowhere to go! Faced with this mounting pile of discarded yarn (and as self-confessed experts of high-end fibers), they became more and more motivated to take the leftovers and give them meaning, creating something beautiful and lasting.

Photo: The Endery

The Challenge of Deadstock Design 

Designing from leftovers is a pretty challenging. It means working backwards, using up what already exists and very limited quantities of each color. However, learning to see this in a new way meant that color and nuances of tone and shade and really creating something with ‘flexible and responsive color’ – Kelly and Ellen found that designs would have to be more conceptual and fluid. They found that punchy, bright graphic intarsia layouts lended well to the cause, and the design concept of pinwheels, movement and changing the system from the bottom up.

Additionally, the designs and color placement would have to allow yarns to be subbed without affecting the overall aesthetic. The founders believe consumers are ready to embrace some variation since it offers unique, one-of-a-kind pieces. Ultimately, The Endery promises limited edition pieces and seasonless drops, lifelong statement knits which transcend trends. 

Photo: The Endery

Why Peru?

Peru truly the home of the best knitters in the world.  Famed for its traditional artisanal techniques, and with its highland temperatures, the art of knitting and spinning alpaca fiber is seeped in hundreds of years of history. So what better way to reincorporate this yarn into the economy than with the support of some super-skilled hand knitters?

Knitting sweaters on manual knitting machines – especially intarsia – means that sweaters are handcrafted with finesse. These are not electric and do not use energy, they are looms that help place the yarns, still requiring skillful hands (and patience) to do the knitting. We work with passionate artisan entrepreneurs that have started their own workshops. Green Design Link is also certified Peru Fair Trade issued through PROMPERU.

The goal is for these sweaters to then be loved, worn, mended, darned, donated or handed down without ever being tossed, as part of a truly circular system.

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Photos: The Endery

What’s next for The Endery?

Kelly and Ellen have big dreams. Given the magnitude of deadstock, the brand also has it sights on bigger projects, like becoming a waste sourcing platform. With many brands now setting their sights on sustainability and a rising interest in using discarded, deadstock materials, The Endery can provide both the sourcing of materials and expert suppliers to make highquality knitwear.

Expect more drops in a variety of fibers, such as pima cotton, merino wool and alpaca. The brand will create ‘series’ to use up what they can source, based on seasons and availability. They also expect to collaborate with some cool brands and designers in the future. While the fashion industry continues to produce so much waste, there will be a need for The Endery transforming waste into beauty. 

Photos: The Endery

Website: theendery.com
Instagram: @the.endery