Spinning Yarns with Katie Jones

21.03.2016 | Fashion | BY:

There’s a new generation of British designers making a splash on the scene with bright, bold and idiosyncratic designs. Amongst these rising stars is knitwear sensation Katie Jones. Graduating fro Central St Martins in 2013, her instantly recognisable aesthetic combines playfulness with artisan craft; breathing fresh life into a British style which has for years been dominated by homogenous items from high street chains. Each piece is hand-made in the UK too, meaning Jones is also carving a path for mainstream, ethical fashion.

Currently a part of Selfridges’ Bright New Things series, we caught up with designer Katie Jones to discuss knitting Elvis, crocheting for Craig Green and spinning yarns.

Did you always know that you wanted to be a designer?
Not really, I always liked to customise things as a kid and the obsession just grew from there.

Can you recall your first serious design? What were you doing and being influenced by at the time?
The first time I actively designed anything was a hand knitted jumper with Elvis on the back. It was supposed to be sexy young Elvis and I messed up the pattern and it became fat old Elvis, it was for a sixth form Project based on ’50s rock & roll.


Your aesthetic is very distinctive, where did it come from? And what was it about knitwear that you were drawn to?
My Gran used to embellish everything and only wore pink or bright prints I think this really influenced me as a child. All my family knitted but I think I then became really drawn to it as you can control the whole make process. As you make the whole fabric from scratch you choose colour, texture everything – that’s amazing as a designer.

You’ve worked for John Galliano, Mark Fast and Diane Von Furstenburg, what made you want to start your own label? 
I never set out to run my own label. It was a small portfolio project in between seasonal crochet showpiece work I was doing for Mark Fast at the time; it just snowballed after that.

How would you describe the industry at the moment, is it a good time to be an emerging designer? 
It’s exciting, there’s lots of change at the moment and it’s hard to guess how it will affect young designers with this move to instant selling after shows. But on the plus side with the growth of social media and Instagram you can really reach such a big audience as an emerging designer and control so much of your PR- it’s really cool to be able to make your brand more of an experience.


Katie’s window at Selfridges in London

How long does it take to make each piece, what’s the process? 
All our pieces are handmade so they are pretty laborious taking between 10-100 hours to make. For me its all about the craftsmanship and detail. We dye our yarns and also source colours from designer surplus. I like it as it makes designing more of a puzzle and pushes our designs forward. I like to work with what is most available at the time while having control of picking and hand dying our colours.

Do you ever get halfway through a collection and wish you’d opted for something simpler, like cotton dresses? 
Making a cotton dress sounds more stressful to me! I’m a knitter and crafting the collections as we do feels second nature to my design process.

What has been your most ambitious design to date? 
Designing and making our Selfridges window for me was the most ambitious and fun project we have done. It was really amazing to be able to make a world to invite people into. We built it all in my tiny kitchen so it was quite a task. The donkey lived on my dining table for a month.

When you’re working, are you designing as Katie Jones or for a particular element of your personality?
I like to think when I design that it’s for myself. I think this is really great as you understand your target market. I usually create a character and a story each season and the collection embodies what they would wear but I think they are a form of alter ego of myself.

What’re the challenges of having ethical and sustainable fashion at the core of your brand? 
For the brand I feel our challenges have just been the same as any new emerging designer: production and growth. The only difference is we are finding ways to grow the brand in London rather than abroad and picking our resources consciously.

What was the inspiration behind your AW16 Highland Fling collection?
It all sparked from an image of John Lennon donning an Afghan and sporran and I loved the combo. Highland Fling then became a celebration of traditional Scottish textiles like Aran and Argyle knits, Tweeds and the 60s. We wanted the pieces to empower the craft and pay homage to the babe power of the icons of the era!

You collaborated with Kit Neale how did that come about, and how was it working with a menswear designer?
Kit got in contact telling me he was a fan of my jewellery and it would work for his upcoming season and it went from there. He’s super fun to work with! I just got to play with his fabric scraps and he let me go off and come back with my creations. It was a really great project – how can dressing boys up in big dangly earrings not be fun. I love working with menswear designers, it’s such an exciting time in menswear. That season was really fun and a bit of a menswear focus for me as I was also working for Craig Green crocheting pieces.

What’s in store for the rest of 2016?
This year we are launching our online range, which I’m really excited about working with our Golden Girls Nana Knit Squad on!


Photo credit: Kevin Mason

Tags: , , , , ,

More London Collections: Men AW16

13.01.2016 | Fashion | BY:

Suave, salient and immeasurably slick London Collections: Men certainly epitomized the it in British Fashion this season. Over four days, the AW16 collections unfolded to reveal a line up of bold, clever and thoughtful designs that will have sartorial hounds and innocent laymen baying for blood in the months to come. Overall there was a sense of confidence and attitude: a thoroughly British, slightly grungy and often playful aesthetic which could afford to be irreverent because it was so smart. The collections were many and the quality was high though stand-out designers included Matthew Miller, CMMN SWDN, Alex Mullins, Craig Green and J W Anderson, who’s designs managed to make gold-toothed A$AP Rocky’s attendance at the show feel underwhelming in comparison.

The Aesthetic

One noticeable trend was focus on the elements and the natural world. Craig Green delivered an acclaimed collection once again. This time he wove his signature sculptural forms closer onto the body with the theme of protection as the inspiration. Buttons and ties were used to beautiful effect, embodying a sense of vulnerability against the elements. This, combined with the natural tones of mossy greens and terracotta hues, rendered Green’s AW16 collection both romantic and ethereal. Emblazoned with a similar mandate, Christopher Raeburn turned to the wild, with a Mongolian inspired collection. Models walked with oversized bum bags, patterned sweatshirts and extreme parka coats, worn open with stand-out rucksacks. Also of note were the highly covetable and timeless bombers mixed against some gigantic shredded ponchos. At Cottweiler, the duo looked to the natural world as well. Inspired by a youtube fetish that involves wading through mud whilst fully clothed, the collection featured high waisted waterproof trousers alongside neutral bomber jackets.

A military thread also ran throughout LCM, embodying the duality of male identity. The duo at Casely-Hayford shook up standard outwear thanks to a re-imagining of military uniforms. Under the title Irregimental Youth, the collection spanned eras, from the ’60s through to skinheads and ’90s rave culture. Long, khaki jackets were adorned with patch-work denim whilst others were split at the back, creating a lizard-like tail that, though perhaps impractical for the commute, was genuinely imaginative and forward-thinking. Notable mention should also go to the vibrant colour scheme inspired by psychedelic images of the Beatles’ Sergeant Pepper album. Turquoise jackets and acid bright suits ensured that Casely-Hayford kids will always bring the party. Over at McQueen, Sarah Burton created a signaturely baroque collection, showing expertly tailored red jackets embroidered with black beads. On Monday, Xander Zhou lent a glam spin to the same theme with a wide-shouldered, cropped jacket.


Christopher Shannon AW16

The Influences

At Christopher Shannon, the designer took inspiration from suburban ’80s Liverpool, updating the aesthetic and creating a new set of local heroes for 2016. The collection was awash with bright colours. Highlights were the oversized vinyl jackets in plastic pink, crisp, pastel boxer shorts and high neck anoracks with zip detail. The design duo at CMMN SWDN, Emma Hedlund and Saif Baker, drew on feelings from the late ’70s and early ’80s to create a collection around the title Domus. Looking to the warm, comforting feelings associated with ones own home, the pair contrasted the retro influences with modern fits. Key pieces included a pony skin jacket, an orange suede jacket with a signature ‘c’ tag in tortoiseshell on the pocket, and a mid-length leather piece that had audiences weak at the knees. As ever with CMMN, the cuts were dexterous, with silhouettes spliced together in unexpected ways. The high waist, high neck combinations made a particular impression.

Matthew Miller’s much talked about collection elucidated ideas of Nouveau Riche, stripping the term of it’s old meaning and associating it with the ”cultural capital” of his generation. Cropped box jackets were layered over longer out—wear with pieces pulled together by thin straps at the waist. It was a challenging collection, one that drew on the old to traipse over it with new. The stand out design was the Caravaggio ’David and Goliath’ print jackets and shirts which not only embodied his theme but added a heightened sense of unease to the overall aesthetic. As at Agi & Sam, Miller walked both male and female models, compounding the idea that gender-less fashion is the future.

If some designers spent this season searching through history, J W Anderson bucked trends and embraced the pace and power of change. His AW16 show was a melding pot of ideas, influences and aesthetics, underpinned by a re-invention of casual-wear. Highlights included polka dot faux furs, cropped white knit trousers with button detail and silk printed suits. The recurring motif was that of a snail, a cartoonish and ironic nod to the fast-paced fashion world. A cartoon cat from the 1920s also made a recurring appearance. It was an energetic collection, both dark and playful, which will define how men dress for seasons to come.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Menswear SS15 Illustrated by Clym Evernden

07.07.2014 | Fashion | BY:

Clym Evernden is an award winning artist, one that Twin met when he captured the attendees at our latest release party (read the interview). Here, the Central Saint Martins graduate and Colin Barnes Illustration Award winner turns his attention to the menswear SS15 season, illustrating the shows in his signature inky style of drawing.

Burberry Prorsum

 Christopher Shannon

Louis Vuitton

Raf Simons

Y – 3


Public School NYC

Craig Green

JW Anderson

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Join the mailing list