Lately there has been a heated discussion between groups of people here in Iceland regarding the authenticity of the Icelandic sweater. A sweater designed in Iceland but made in China, is it really Icelandic?
As tourism in Iceland has grown exponentially over the last few years the demand for Icelandic sweaters has grown accordingly. Since the Icelandic sweater has historically been made here in Iceland and the number of knitters is a small finite number there are those who saw an opportunity in making sweaters abroad where the labour was cheep. So the question has been raised, when is a sweater „Icelandic“ and when is it not.
Lately the common scenario been that a store will take a traditional Icelandic sweater design and send it to a manufacturer in, for example China. Some may even ship Icelandic wool yarn abroad and then have cheap labour make the sweaters. Some will make it by hand while others will have them machine made. The sweaters are then sent back to Iceland and sold as „Icelandic Design“.
Common and misleading terms (in our mind) like „Made from pure Icelandic wool“, „Handmade from Icelandic wool“ etc are then used to throw off the customer.
There are those who believe that if the sweater is designed in Iceland then it makes no difference where it is made. As long as the design is Icelandic.
We don‘t agree with this philosophy. We have made a clear decision to make our sweater in Iceland, we wan‘t them to be made by Icelanders and off course from Icelandic wool. Anything less wouldn‘t be authentic in our opinion.
The Icelandic Wool Sweater (is. Íslenska Lopapeysan) is now a protected product name by the Icelandic food and vetinary authority. That means that if you want to call your product an Icelandic Lopapeysa you must adhere to the following criteria:
- The sweater shall be made from wool sheered from Icelandic sheep.
- The wool used shall be new, not recycled.
- The sweater shall be knit from Icelandic lopi.
- The sweater shall be hand knit in Iceland.
What do you think? Is it Icelandic?
I whole heartily agree with you every part of the sweater has to made in Iceland.