I saw it in green and I knew I had to have one. It started with the striking emerald colour, but then I heard the babaà story and knew I wanted babaà to be my primary wool sweater for the winter. As I write this I am wearing the green sweater and it speaks of the ancient traditions of Spain. It speaks about the place where we need to go to slow down mass consumerism and lack of connection to ourselves. Maybe the biggest joy this sweater gives me is knowing that it journeyed through the Spanish countryside and if I look hard enough, I can still find bits of nature where the sheep travelled.
Looking decent is important to me, but I want my clothes to represent my values. It’s hard for me to buy fast chain fashion: it doesn’t feel good, it doesn’t look right, it’s not the right thing to do. Educated readers know that the skills of fine craftspeople in fashion are disappearing in Europe and around the world, now that Zara and H&M can produce clothes and shoes for a throwaway, runaway plastic culture.
How do we slow down and recoup what we are losing? Supporting artisan designers and the farms and the craftspeople who keep them in business, of course.
Of course you can go to a local mall and likely find something decent, but babaà is more than just clothes. It’s connecting us to our past, present and future.
There is something about Europe and fine craft. We taste it, feel it and see it.
babaà is a boutique business that locally sources and knits sweaters in Spain for women, men and children. The items are knit to last and if you’ve ever had a pure wool sweater know that it can last a lifetime or at least a good decade if you love it enough. It’s the sweater that I would have liked to knit.
babaà is founded by Marta Bahillo (pictured below), from Madrid. She studied Fashion and Textile Design in Dublin, Ireland and after graduating – with a particular passion for knitwear and natural textiles – Marta moved to Argentina to design womenswear for a major fashion house before returning to Spain and founding babaà in 2012.
According to Marta, “All the materials we use are 100% natural which means our yarns are not mixed with acrylics or any other synthetic fibres. Better quality material means warmer, longer lasting clothes that even improve with wear.”
A big part of their work in creating great sweaters is sourcing local providers and supporting the local textile industry. Their wool comes from sheep in the north of Spain where it compiled, processed, and dyed by Spanish artisans using traditional methods and tools, like the ones shown below.
According to Malta, “These sheep that you see all over Spain are the ones that provide our beautiful pure Spanish wool. Many of you see bits of nature in your babaà jumpers when you get them. Now you know where it comes from! We are very proud to support this traditional local industry so important for the biodiversity and the environment.”
The sheep are also brought out to pasture through a ritual called trashumancia –– the seasonal movement of people with their livestock between fixed summer and winter pastures.
The cotton for the cotton sweaters is sourced in Andalucia, in the south of Spain.The wool and cotton is then shipped to a workshop in Barcelona where it is knit. Designs are all oversized to make you feel cozy and to leave space for growing children.
Can sweaters get any better? I don’t think so.