100 years in the making

Our Hero Sweater is inspired by the wool sweaters worn by Sir Ernest Shackleton and his crew a century ago. Only these have been crafted in Italy from the softest and most sought-after lambswool on earth…

Ernest Shackleton lived his life based on four values: optimism, courage, idealism and patience. These stood him in good stead when it came to exploration and survival in the most unforgiving continent on the planet. In addition to these, on a more immediate, day-to-day level, Shackleton and his crew were able to endure the hostile conditions because they had the most advanced outdoor performance clothing of the time, built to endure sub-zero temperatures and bitter winds laced with ice and salt. Frank Hurley’s iconic black and white photographs show the crew clad head to toe in thick fur gloves, gabardine cotton jackets, cavalry canvas trousers and chunky wool-knit sweaters.

The old-faithful sweaters were of particular importance – the crew would practically live in their chunky knits – and to this day they inspire several of our knitwear designs, including the Hero Roll-Neck Sweater. In Sir Ernest’s day, sweaters were usually made over-sized and then washed and boiled down so that they shrunk to shape. The result was that they not only acted as an insulating layer, but they were incredibly windproof.

While the process has been refined, the technology within the crafting of chunky wool jumpers has remained very similar, with heavy-gauge knits used to trap warm air in pockets within the weave. The big difference today is that this insulation can be achieved with far softer, more luxurious yarns – the Hero has been crafted in Italy from the softest and most sought-after lambswool on earth, Geelong.

Geelong is 100% natural fibre produced from a large species of merino sheep in Geelong, a county in Australia, with a softness and warmth that rivals that of cashmere. It is non-allergenic, highly breathable, lightweight and the fibres are carded to criss-cross each other, giving bulk and increased insulation. The natural fibres of Geelong are incredibly strong given its silky touch, meaning the Hero is remarkably durable and will hold its shape for years.

As Sir Ernest Shackleton chose to equip his men in only the very best 100 years ago, so too we design only the best today. Now in its fourth generation, the Hero is developed to look, feel, fit and perform better than anything else in your wardrobe.


"This extremely warm heavy-gauge knit is a faithful reproduction of Shackleton’s most dependable go-to. It’s a timeless classic, hard wearing and great looking, and a piece that’ll doubtless provide you with years of loyal service." – The Jackal


The Hero Roll Neck Sweater is available in four colours (olive, navy, grey, oatmeal) and costs £225 (free UK and international postage).