For some time now, knitwear has made its way to the top of the “must haves” list of any fashionista. Interesting how people regularly discover a technique as old as mankind, and start praising it, bringing it back into the limelight, and populating the pages of magazines with it!
What seems waaaay more interesting though, is that, starting from knitwear, designers can make wonders. Simply look at the clothes created by Mark Fast, Sandra Backlund and Craig Lawrence. For me, what they are doing is a kind of contemporary manifesto, an alternative to traditional tailoring (which unfairly monopolized the landscape of current clothing).
Mark Fast is the designer who developed the technique of braiding threads in a very personal manner and whose clothes can only get my eternal admiration. The wires are distributed ingeniously on the body surface, creating a story about volume, knots and tensions, full and empty, texture and creative “accident”.
Sandra Backlund’s clothes reflect her concerns – her structured body garments revived the avant-garde fashion scene. The Swedish artist explores the combined resources of handmade garments with futuristic aesthetics. Approaching fashion like a textile sculpture, Sandra’s clothes are objects of pure art. Winner of the Hyeres Festival (2007), Sandra Backlund is continuing her creative path, reinventing the image of traditional knitting.
Craig Lawrence, like Mark Fast, is a graduate of St. Martins. After a long collaboration with Gareth Pugh, Lawrence develops his personal collections, continuing to knit garments from unconventional materials, to obtain new structures and forms. His experiments go beyond commercial fashion design, and his knitted clothes gain theatricality (and they’re wearable anyway!).
Building from scratch your clothes (your own clothes or your own fashion line) seems a very fair job to me, and it bears a strong artistic sense. But fashion (and even art) can be created like this as well, the garment is created in the personal ambience of your own workshop, thus short-circuiting the complicated systems of fashion industry and mechanisms.