Camille Hardwick
Photo: Ezzidi



Visionary Knitwear
– A showcase of bold visions in contemporary fashion knitwear celebrating new graduate talent
– Selected by Sandy Black, Professor of Fashion and Textile Design and Technology at London College of Fashion, University of the Arts
– Features established names Julien Macdonald, Mark Fast, Iben Høj, Sister by Sibling, Lucas Nascimento, Yang Du, Alice Palmer, Juliana Sissons and Amy Twigger Holroyd, among others, as well as recent graduates Rory Longdon, Roisin McAtamney, Camille Hardwick and Matthew Ghabrial
– Highlights the contribution of the UK’s design education training to today’s global fashion knitwear industry
– Visionary Knitwear accompanies the Museum’s autumn/winter exhibition ‘KNITWEAR Chanel to Westwood’ 

Posted 2 November 2014

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Visionary Knitwear is a display of bold knitting designs from the 21st century, shown in the context of the Fashion and Textile Museum’s major exhibition ‘KNITWEAR Chanel to Westwood’. Selected by Sandy Black, Professor of Fashion and Textile Design and Technology at London College of Fashion, the exhibits highlight the best of visionary knitwear, both on and off the catwalk, produced by designers who are influential throughout the contemporary fashion industry.
The display highlights the importance of UK fashion education in today’s global knitwear industry. 

Johan Ku
Photo: Mei-EnLien

Guest Curator Sandy Black said:
‘The designers selected for “Visionary Knitwear” have all studied at degree or masters’ level in the UK, demonstrating the key role played by British design education in fostering a risk-taking approach to innovation throughout the industry.'

Mark Fast
Photo Catwalking

Lucas Nascimento
Photo Catwalking

Iben H+©j Kraka's dress
Photo Hugo Maertens

Photo Catwalking

Head of the Fashion and Textile Museum, Celia Joicey said:
‘Together the work of these UK-trained designers presents an inspiring vision of why knitwear is forging new directions in fashion. The Museum is privileged to be working with the globally respected academic and designer Sandy Black to highlight the most exciting aesthetic and technical developments. Her expertise and keen eye provide a snapshot of why contemporary knitwear is so exciting.’ 

The display identifies the creative vision that is required to push boundaries and take knitwear in new directions, notes Sandy Black in the introduction to Visionary Knitwear. Each designer whose work is featured demonstrates a deep understanding of fabrication and the body, utilising unique combinations of 

Matthew Ghabrial
Photo Nirma Madhoo 

Yangdu Aw, 2011
Elephant hat: BeintaTorkilsheyggi

Fashion and Textile Museum VISIONARY KNITWEAR 2
concept, materials, stitch structures, three-dimensional form, and technical knit engineering.

Knitting is an intriguing hybrid, embracing structure and form, where both textile and garment can be fashioned simultaneously. Knitting technology is both simple in principle and highly technical – a form of soft engineering, whether crafted by hand or advanced technology. 

Rory Longdon
Photo Christopher Moore

Julien Macdonald
Photo Chris Conway

Alice Palmer
Photo Christopher Dadey

Lo-tech and hi-tech now exist side by side in fashion knitwear, encompassing hand knitting on needles or manual machine knitting to sophisticated industrial technology. Here are fashions developed because of the properties of knit, free from the constraints of woven fabrication, exploiting extreme scale, stretch, drape or unique stitch constructions. At the same time, classic knitwear – the sweater and cardigan – continues to inspire endless variations, subverting traditional form and materials.

Today, highly sophisticated knitwear design and production is available in every high street and designer store – intricately formed, unusually shaped, draped or fashioned in new ways to redefine knitwear for the 21st century. The role of knitwear in fashion and the influence of its designers deserve its moment in the spotlight. As one journalist put it: ‘knitwear has become interesting’. 

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