As the old saying goes, necessity is the mother of invention - or as the Faroese say, necessity teaches the naked woman to spin and weave.
For more than a thousand years, the Faroese people have survived an uncontrollable climate in the heart of the tempestuous North Atlantic Ocean. Uncertain forecasts for the daily life of the Faroese - whether you were a fisherman, farmer or otherwise - have always brought about varied challenges. This has made the Faroese experts at utilising the natural resources at their disposal. Here, the 70.000-odd sheep, grazing the 18 small islands, and still outnumbering the Faroese population by about a third, have proved a particularly helpful ally throughout the years. These furry friends have provided a significant advantage in the fight for survival, inspiring the centuries old custom of spinning wool into yarn, knitting and sewing - a tradition about making the most of the raw materials available.
This rich history is the building block of Navia, which gathers its Faroese wool from local sheep farmers. It all started with CEO, Óli Kristian á Torkilsheyggi - a fourth generation innovator of Faroese yarn and sweater manufacturing, now following in the footsteps of his great-grandmother and -grandfather. Founded as part of a business school project, Navia began as a small company with 2000 Danish kroner (DKK) to its name. Today, it is one of the leading companies of the yarn and sweater industry of the Faroes, well-known on the foreign market too, shipping its products to a dozen countries abroad.
Across its varied catalogue, the Navia yarn contains a wool mix of Australian lambswool, Shetlandic and Faroese wool as well as cotton and silk, making up a broad range of 1-ply, 2-ply and 3-ply knitting yarns, sock yarn and raw traditional Faroese yarn. The Navia sweaters similarly take inspiration from the traditional Faroese knitting culture, mixed with modern style trends.
Navia’s customer base covers all age groups, from children to the elderly, and its designs are specifically targeted across these respective age groups.
Another product line of Navia is the unique Knitting Book - a series of designs and patterns, which are put together by a dedicated Navia team of local knitters, also wide-ranging in their own background, from fish workers to well-educated designers, and age, from 15 to 84. They receive a set task, which is then produced by hand. Their designs are photographed and handpicked for larger scale production as well as individual sale. The patterns are written down and translated into several languages, including Danish, Swedish, English and Icelandic.
Navia prides itself on and puts an emphasis on utilising such local talent, which surrounds the company, all around the country.
When it comes to the Faroese wool, its rich content of lanolin is uniquely characteristic, which makes the yarn and sweaters water-resistant. The lanolin, however, dissipates through extended wash as well as wear and tear. In accordance with this, Navia produces its own brand of specialised wool soap for machine as well as hand wash, which contains lanolin, and which both treats and cleans the product.
We hope you like our products, and if you're visiting on the isles, do pop by and make use of the great tax-free purchase option in-store!