New Zealand Babylamb (also known as "Shearling" and "Curly lamb")

Sheep Farming in New Zealand
 Sheep Farming in New Zealand

New Zealand has a large sheep population (currently 40 million) in a relatively small geographical area.
As is quite normal in the animal world, there is a natural attrition rate of around 10%.  In the spring lambing season, millions of new lambs are born. During this season, the weather can be fickle; many cold fronts sweep the New Zealand countryside, particularly in the high Hill Country farms.
This can result in higher lamb losses than would be the norm.

Knight of New Zealand uses this unique material selected by nature to produce a collection of super lightweight but warm garments for both Ladieswear and Menswear. These skins, known as Curly lamb in Europe due to the fine natural curls in the wool, or Shearling in the USA, are incredibly soft and lightweight and are an ideal material for making fine soft apparel.

The 100% natural baby virgin wool forms an ideal insulation against the cold on the inside, and the reverse side of the skin is buffed to form a soft silky suede or a soft napa finish.  Because the skins are from such a young animal, the natural skin fibres are tightly interlocked to form a fine lightweight but strong, durable  material.  Knight's Babylamb garments weigh only a fraction of the weight of a traditional Shearling jacket and yet retain all the warmth that only fine natural wool can offer.

Garments made from these skins make an ideal "travelling  companion" as any creases caused by overhead locker or suitcase storage will fall out very quickly when worn as they warm up with your natural body heat. 

The small size of the pelts means that it usually takes

around 30 skins to make a single jacket!

Partterns being placed on skins
Patterns being placed on skins 

New Zealand Opossum fur

New Zealand Opossum fur (Trichosurus Vulpecula)

Knight's uses New Zealand Opossum fur to trim many of our pure Cashmere and Babylamb garments.
New Zealand Opossums were introduced to New Zealand from Australia in the late 1830's in an attempt to set up a fur industry in the fledgling colony.  However, due to the lack of natural predators in New Zealand, the population of Opossums has now reached over 80 million animals!

The business of preserving NZ native forest

Opossums have voracious appetites and destroy thousands of acres of native bush each year.  The New Zealand Department of Conservation has an active programme to cull these animals to sustain New Zealand's natural environment.  Over 27,000 Tonnes of native vegetation is eaten and destroyed by Opossums in New Zealand EVERY DAY!
Opossums are in direct competition with native bird species and also feed on baby birds and eggs.
For more details click here 

Because of this, New Zealand Opossum is not listed as an endangered species and is therefore not  listed in the * C.I.T.E.S. agreement. For more information about C.I.T.E.S. click here.

* The Convention on  International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and  Flora (CITES) is a United Nations treaty that governs the International trade in certain species of  plants and animals .

Natural winter fur for luxury winter garments

Natural Opossum Fur
 Natural Opossum Fur

The New Zealand Opossum are completely wild and not raised in artificial conditions in captivity. In the winter months, particularly in the colder South Island climate, these Opossums grow a thick winter fur coat, and it is these animals which are selected for the luxurious fur trims used on Knight's garments.

Easy care fur

Most furs used in the garment industry are "dressed and dyed" rather than fully tanned.  This means that these furs cannot be drycleaned and have to be detached from the garment before drycleaning takes place.  This can be time consuming and therefore costly.
Because Knight of New Zealand Opossum fur is tanned, it is FULLY DRYCLEANABLE as an integral part of the garment. Drycleaning should always be carried out by a reputable "SPECIALIST" leather Dry Cleaner.

100% Pure Cashmere "Double Face" fabric

Knight of New Zealand only uses the very best 100% pure Cashmere Italian fabric, in which two different coloured fabrics are "bonded"

Double Face Cashmere Fabric
Double face cashmere fabric folded to show both colours 

together using a special process. This 600 gram weight fabric is then known as "double face" as it can be made into fully reversible garments, with a different colour on each side. This means that you are getting two garments in two different looks for the price of one!
To view a selection of these garments click here.

Many of these garments are trimmed with New Zealand Opossum fur (see above).

Tagua nut buttons

"Ivory-like tagua nuts, made into buttons, may help keep Equador green.  Two U.S. clothing companies are buying hundreds of thousands of cream coloured fasteners made from the golf ball size tree seed.  Villagers in Rio Santiago Comuna who pick the nuts are hoping to prosper, thereby demonstrating that rain forests are more valuable standing than cut down for timber!
Fashioned into jewelry and figurines, the rock hard nuts also offer a substitute for Ivory, now banned from International trade.
Evidence of a 250 year old tagua carving tradition in South America was found by researchers for Conservation International (CI) which initiated the button project.  This marks a comeback for tagua used for buttons before plastic largely replaced it in the 1930's.
Marketing Tagua buttons is only the first phase of a CI plan to increase the use of some 2,000 rain forest products , including medicines, furniture  and baskets. It's one thing to wear a button that says "Save Mother Earth" said outdoor clothing manufacturer Bill Scranton, "and another thing to wear a button that does save Mother Earth"
Source: National Geographic (Earth Almanac) February 1991.

Tagua is the seed of an Equatorial Palm. It is called Vegetable Ivory because it's veins are the same as those of Ivory.
This characteristic, which is exalted in dyeing, distinguishes the Vegetable Ivory button from any other because of their extreme fitness for every kind of fabric, especially for those of natural fibre.  Because of this organic quality some slight colour variation may occur within one dye batch; this is a natural enhancement.