2017 | Knitwear Project | BFash (Design) (Hons)
This knitwear project was largely driven by responsible material innovation. I created a hand-knitted sample from secondhand shirts that I had sliced up into strips of fabric. Connected by hundreds of knots, the strips of fabric would form one long, continuous ‘yarn’ that could be knitted together using large knitting needles. The resulting fabric was textural and bulky, with large knots and ‘tails’ of fabric hanging from its uneven surface. Constructed from woven fabrics, the hand-knitted sample possess the characteristics of both a stretch and woven material. With a focus on design-through-making, this textural and unconventional fabric would inform the designs of two hand-knitted dresses.
By selecting an array of used floral shirts and blouses, I created a chaotic and clashing palette of prints and colours within my design. Throughout the course of the semester I also collected scraps of discarded knitting samples that I found in the studio bins. I collaged these pieces together and sourced a secondhand cane handle to create a patchwork handbag that would accompany the hand-knitted dress.
Yoko Ono’s ‘Cut Piece’ (1965) was a main source of inspiration for this project. During the performance, Yoko kneels passively in front of an audience and a pair of scissors. Each audience member is invited to cut out a piece of Yoko's outfit as a keepsake from the performance. The incisions made by each participant could be likened to a brushstroke on a canvas, collectively forming a mosaic of contributions from audience. Whilst, by the end of the performance Yoko’s original outfit is no longer recognisable, the garments have evolved into a whole new design. I wanted to mimic this idea of deconstructing and transforming an existing garment by investigating methods of upcycling/material intervention in my own work. In order to lead a sustainably-focused project, I sourced all materials from secondhand garments or deadstock fabric.