Wool and the Gang is Fresh (So Fresh), Exciting
Thursday, May 14, 2009
Although I am a novice knitter, I have a yen for yarn. I love to go to knitting shops to peruse the different colors, textures and sizes of the skeins. I imagine myself a master at the craft, fashioning jaw-droppingly gorgeous and unique scarves, hats, gloves, socks and sweaters out of sustainably harvested, hand-dyed Peruvian wool. The reality of my current knitting ability limits me to monochrome scarves and fingerless hand warmers but, still. I can dream. The popularity of knitting, and crafting in general, has been on the rise for a few years, so it’s always cool to learn about knitting retailers that are taking a new and different approach to brand, aesthetic and voice. Enter the cleverly named Wool and the Gang.
Featured in this month’s issue of Paper magazine, Wool and the Gang was founded on the premise of bringing the joy of hand-knitting to people all over the world. While it is not alone in its desire to increase awareness of and interest in the hobby, its brand differs drastically from the competition. While many yarn shops posses an inherent self-consciousness or conscious subversiveness, Wool and the Gang is supremely confident it its personal cool factor. So much so that it substitutes the word “wool” for “cool” throughout. Ok, in the case of the name, it’s “Kool.”
The cool flows into Wool and the Gang’s slick, clean aesthetic, which stands out from convention. While many yarn shop Web sites default to more traditional curly fonts and flowers, a handmade/DIY look, a cozy feel, or the dreaded Comic Sans approach, Wool and the Gang presents itself as the American Apparel of knitting retailers.
Wool and the Gang’s sparse, sexy look complements its fun, flirtatious voice. “Just back from IBIZA and our COTTON COLLECTION shoot with photographer Martin Bruno,” an entry says on the company’s blog. It’s easy to insert the words “dahling” or “ciao!” at the end of each sentence, which is not something you see everyday in the world of the fiber arts.
The company blog also brings knitting and fashion together and highlights new music for a knitting soundtrack, in this case, the French artist Sliimy and his plasticine dream-like video with European flair.
Wool and the Gang also is unique in that, instead of offering a wide variety of yarn and needles, it keeps things simple. Only seven (lovely) colors are available in its exclusively Peruvian wool selection, and only two kinds of needles. This simplification ensures that whatever the customer chooses is an excellent choice.
A friend of mine (an amazingly talented needle-wielder herself) says that knitting is so satisfying because it proves how much can be created through a series of tiny gestures. Wool and the Gang reminds us that such tiny gestures can truly be fresh and exciting.