by Nick Hammond
WHO WE ARE
After having worked in the clothing industry for the better part of our lives, we began to see not only how destructive and unsustainable the industry itself was but also that business practices as a whole needed to change. As we continued to discover brands who shared our knowledge and beliefs it dawned on us that the majority of them did not share our sense of style.
The result was the founding of Grandeur Hats; a lifestyle company built on the idea that we can do business with our combined sense of heart AND style.
OUR FIRST PRODUCT
It was with this in mind that we partnered with KK International and Known Supply to create the Highland beanie in an effort to introduce you to every craftsperson involved in the creation process. The result is an incredibly well designed, soft, and versatile beanie that can be worn during a multitude of different activities.
FUNCTION - MATERIAL - PURPOSE
We believe the greatest products must not only be designed well and serve an extremely functional purpose, but they must also consider their impact on the planet and the people involved in making it.
Because of this, our partners worked with a historic yarn producer in Peru to source the best alpaca yarns that are versatile, all-natural, incredibly soft to the touch and also environmentally friendly.
THE PRODUCT JOURNEY
But to truly understand the amazing craftsmanship that went into every step of creating this beanie we're introducing you to the very people who have practiced each craft for decades. With this product, you will receive the names and stories of every person who was a part of making the Highland beanie.
STEP 1: FARMER
Horacio lives at an altitude that is home to only a fraction of earth’s population. At 14,000 feet, the Peruvian Altiplano is beautiful and unforgiving. Those who live there have developed an ability to carry more oxygen in their blood, allowing them to function well in the thin air. This allows Horacio -- and his son Ronaldinho -- to hike throughout the high rolling plains and care for a herd of alpaca, a job that their family has done for generations.
STEP 2: SHEARER
Near the farm stands a series of simple brick buildings with tin roofs. Every spring (late August in the Southern Hemisphere) the alpaca are sheared and their fur is harvested. Mauro has been skillfully shearing alpaca for all of his adult life and no harm is done to the animal in the process. Alpaca have one of the highest and most efficient fiber yields of any animal and are a completely renewable resource.
STEP 3: FIBER SELECTOR
The fiber selection is a beautifully simple process. Alpaca yarn is made from only the finest of alpaca fibers. In order to identify these fibers, Basilia carefully inspects each bundle of fur by hand and separates the regular alpaca fiber from the baby alpaca fiber. This care and attention to detail are what make this yarn so highly prized.
STEP 4: YARN MAKER
Since 1931, Michell Group has passionately pursued and advanced the art of yarn making, while maintaining the rich heritage and tradition of their alpaca. Here at their factory in Arequipa, Jenny oversees the process that turns raw fibers into yarns using their state of the art equipment. The result is the most consistent and quality end product for the Highland Beanie.
STEP 5: CRAFTSWOMAN
The finished yarn is loaded onto trucks in the Peruvian Highlands and descends nearly 14,000 feet to arrive at sea level and at our partner's production facility. Here, this yarn is not only a necessary component to creating the Highland Beanie, but it is also a means to empowerment. Women working here take part in an empowerment model run by KK intl. that provides consistent employment, a 3-year education curriculum, and one-on-one mentorship. In this way, they are being equipped to break the cycle of poverty. Yanet is one of the women who participate in the programs and she might even be the one who hand-signs the beanie you purchase.
WHY CREATE THIS PRODUCT?
The Highland beanie is our first attempt at creating a product that thoughtfully considers many of the steps that go into creating it. Not only are the raw materials sustainably sourced or recycled, but the production process is filled with those who are directly benefiting from the end product that you wear.
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