Behind the Brand: Rove Knitwear

Rove is a Margate based brand founded by knitwear designer Rose Brown who has a passion for sustainability and British wool. 


Rose started her career first interning for several different designers, including Nicole Farhi. She then found full time employment at a knitwear design studio in South London, designing for many different high street brands. During her time there Rose saw most of her designs mass produced using synthetic fibres which unsettled her. 

A couple of years later Rose took up a design residency with Awamaki, and was based in Ollantaytambo, a village in the Sacred Valley in south Peru. She worked with Quechuan women who were honing their inherited skills in traditional craft processes in order to make a living. When talking to the women she realised how many important craft processes were being lost through generations. It was this reality coupled with how the richness of the UK textile industry was disappearing as production moved overseas that was the driving force that led Rose to start a knitwear label using ethically sourced, natural yarns crafted in Britain.

Rove was founded in 2013. It began at a workstation set up around the kitchen table. The label was born from a desire to find quality, long lasting knitwear manufactured in Britain using British spun wool. The brand has evolved with the modern day need for sustainable, low impact clothing by offering organic, natural, recycled or biodegradable materials as well as a traceable production process. The yearly collection showcases unique designs which can outlive each season and beyond.


Sustainable Materials

It is hard to challenge wool for its sustainability (sheep are not intensively reared). Wool, like hair, occurs naturally and is renewable i.e it quickly grows back. It is also a valuable bi-product of the meat market.

Not only is wool sustainable to grow but also to dispose of. Rove intend all our our products to have a very long lifetime (when looked after correctly) but when it is finally time up for your item then the 100% natural wool will naturally biodegrade in the right conditions. 

Wool decomposes readily in as little as three to four month but the rate varies with soil, climate and wool characteristics. This then releases essential element such as nitrogen, sulphur and magnesium back to the soil, able to be taken up by growing plants.

Made in Britain

Rove are proud to say that 100% of our products are made in Britain. Slowly and sustainably using a small batch production process. Skilled craftsmanship is key from the initial sketched designs, through to pressing, finishing and labelling. Everything is managed by experienced designers and makers. 

For the core collection Rove work with an English, family run factory based just outside Manchester with whom they've had a relationship with for over 10 years.

The jumpers are handmade by a retired knitter who works from the comfort of her home in Lancashire. They are then posted to Rove's studio for the final finishing process. 

The socks are manufactured in Derbyshire, where the factory has an incredible history and has been knitting socks for 100 years. Rove are able to continue working with these incredible companies by using the factories seasonal downtime for production. This enables the local skilled workforce continuity at work whilst supporting the future and heritage of the British textile industry.

Sheep Are Good

Sheep are part of the natural carbon cycle, consuming the organic carbon stored in plants and converting it to wool. “50% of the weight of wool is pure organic carbon.” Woollen textile products tend to be washed less frequently and at lower temperatures which has a low impact on the environment too.

Animal Welfare

The fleece for Rove's yarn comes from sheep reared on farms which do not practise mulesing. Mulesing is the removal of strips of wool-bearing skin from around the breech of a sheep to prevent the parasitic infection flystrike. Although it is more expensive, this procedure can be avoided by more regular shearing.


"We hate plastic, so much so that we've started a discussion with our suppliers to question their plastic packaging. While this is in debate we have sent alternative packaging for them to send forward our materials in. Some plastics are still unavoidable... our yarn comes spun onto plastic cones, which we utilise or return to the factory to be re used. Polythene bags that the yarn arrives in for protection are used to protect our yarn from moths, then reused to bundle items for wholesale deliveries. Large boxes which both our yarn and knitwear deliveries arrive in are reused and sent back out to stockists containing our wholesale orders. Our mail orders are sent in 100% recycled, recyclable, biodegradable paper bags and promotional material is printed onto 100% recycled card."


Rove generates very little waste. Unlike making items from woven cloth, you can create a piece of knitwear using the exact amount of yarn required. Ie. They knit the finished article on the machine and then it is ready for washing and finishing, there’s no cutting, no throwing away. Wool products have longer lifespans than other textile fibre products, if you invest in a decent wool jumper or scarf, you will never throw it away and it can last for generations. Statistically wool is one of the most recycled fibres. With a market share of 1.3% of all textile fibres, wool claims 5% within the recycled fibres market. And finally, at the very end of its lifespan, wool biodegrades readily, releasing important nutrients into the earth. 

Also, on another important note, here's some information on how we don't just support our environment, but people and our community too.


Products that aren’t made to order in Rove's Margate studio are knitted in our factory based in Greater Manchester. The factory pass a yearly Sedex Members Ethical Trade Audit (SMETA.) SMETA is an audit procedure which is a compilation of good practice in ethic audit technique, it uses the ETI code and local (UK) law as the measurement tool. SMETA covers Health & Safety, Labour Standards, Environment and Business Ethics. During visits to the factory Rose has spent time with the workers in both the machine room and where items are made up and finished. “Frequent trips are imperative to have confidence in the transparency of our label.” We source all our materials within Great Britain. This enables us to have more transparency and a better relationship with the companies in our supply chain. We are also passionate about investing in local enterprise and supporting our neighbours.