She's the Kiwi designer putting 'happy' woollies on the fashion map. Louise Hilsz casts on with this week's Insta-star Nicole Leybourne, aka The Knitter.

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In the world of mass-produced fast fashion, Nicole Leybourne's knitwear collection is truly a breath of fresh air. The Kiwi designer and self-confessed 'sheep enthusiast' creates unique hand-knitted pieces that are unlike anything you can find on the high street. Her web-based business The Knitter has grown so rapidly since starting out just over a year ago, today her team of knitters are based in Peru. From their homes they stitch together the softest mohair and wool blends, not working in an overcrowded factory. Ethical fashion that's also a whole lot of fun – what's not to love about that?

Louise Hilsz chats with The Knitter

What age did you start your career?
I started running The Knitter full-time in March last year. Prior to that I was studying, so I was 25.

What are you working on right now?
I'm working on getting new knits out very soon, as well as our orders for the northern hemisphere winter. I'm currently in Peru, working with my hand-knitters who are based here, ensuring they are looked after, paid well and staying happy and fulfilled.

What's your favourite skincare product?
Trilogy Rosehip Oil Antioxidant+ and a really amazing mask by Origins, which I've been using every other night while travelling. This really helps with teenage skin issues, which for some reason I am getting now!

Some of Leybourne's favourite things

What hair product would you never be without?
I don't use anything in my hair, apart from A'kin Shampoo. 

What's always in your beauty bag?
Lip balm. 

What fragrance are you wearing right now?
A beautiful perfume by Le Labo, which I bought myself as a treat from Harrods last year. It reminds me of a flower shop.

What fashion item are you obsessed with right now?
I adore everything Georgia Alice does. She's super cool, so are her clothes. Also, I've always adored the bags Anya Hindmarch makes – they're so fun. I have a woolly blue one that has cute eyes on it. It's my favourite thing and always makes me feel so happy. My friend Lola calls him Mr Fluffy.

What's your best fashion tip?
I love to wear things that are fun. If you're wearing something happy, I find people smile at you more often than not. And a smile makes you smile too, so it's all-round happiness.

Georgia Alice Slime jumper, $529. Le Labo AnOther 13 Eau de Parfum, $209. Anya Hindmarch Shag Shop Cross-Body Bag, £262. A'kin Shampoo, $33.