Where natural materials meet modern knitwear engineering.

Juliette Sijnja


Only natural materials, no cutting waste and no “dirty” tricks: KNITWEAR LAB’s second collaborative project is a demonstration of the solutions modern knitwear engineering offers for the pollution in the textile industry. This time we joined forces with UNBORN, the entirely transparent apparel brand for circular design. The result of our collaboration is a beanie and balaclava that combine leading-edge knitwear techniques with Cradle to Cradle certified materials.

KNITWEAR LAB has been involved with UNBORN ever since the brand got introduced to the world through a successful crowdfunding campaign in 2020. We are very proud to have contributed to their first collection: No Waste, Slow Paced, Pure Products. We truly share their ambition to fix the design flaw of the industry by reshaping the way garments are designed. 

 For our collaborative project we set out to do exactly that. We made a statement against the knitting industry’s harmful magic potions and linear material blends that enable brands to cut corners and save costs in order to manufacture softness and cheat their way into durability. We replaced all this with three high quality ingredients: Cradle to Cradle Certified Superfine Merino wool, leading-edge knitwear technology and raw talent.

A Knitwear Fabergé
With all the different shapes that the head has to offer, the balaclava was going to be the ideal testing ground for our challenge. Modern knitwear engineering vs the circular design requirements. Within the set boundaries all knitting techniques were fair game. No cutting waste was created and no elastic was used to create a fit that follows the complex shapes around the nose and chin.

This challenge resulted in a balaclava that has so much detail to it that we have named it the Fabergé Egg of the balaclavas. Two 2/30 Nm threads applied in three different stitches, a 3D knit and a double-sided fabric make this a unique piece from top to bottom. A true demonstration that there are no limits if you want to create a fair product, regardless of the complexity. It is a matter of the right design goals and modern knitting craftsmanship.

In search of balance
Unlike the complex layering of stitches and techniques to make the balaclava become whole, the beanie’s challenge was all about finding balance. The goal was to create a chunky beanie with good shape retention that could become everyone’s favourite. We challenged ourselves to create a seamless knit & wear construction using only one type of stitch. To create the chunkiness, we selected a half cardigan stitch and a 2/30 Nm yarn in 5 ply and used our coarsest 3.5.2 gauge STOLL CMS 530 KI machine. We had to navigate five threads, one yarn carrier, two needle beds, multiple transitions and tensions to find the sweet spot that would allow a seamless construction without sacrificing the shape retention and durability.

Experience the comfort of a fair product
Care to experience for yourself how soft, warm and comfortable a fair product can feel? You can order The Beanie and The ‘Clava’ at KNITWEAR LAB’s SHOP! If you are interested in the entire production process of The Beanie and The ‘Clava’, you can follow every step of the chain at the website of UNBORN.

Branded collaborations for KNITWEAR LAB
KNITWEAR LAB x UNBORN is part of a series of collaborations by KNITWEAR LAB with high-end brands that share a passion for knitwear innovation and sustainable design. Previously, the LAB collaborated with the eccentric London based knitwear brand AGR. More exclusive collaborations will drop throughout the year.