Young designers embrace knitting innovation

Saltaire Festival celebrates woolwear

London Fashion Week's autumn-winter offerings are always a great place to spot knitwear, with a whole host of woollen wonders being displayed on the catwalk.

Plus, as it hosted this year's International Woolmark Prize, there's never been a better opportunity to spot some stylish woollen garments and innovative designs.

Leading the way have been a selection of up-and-coming names, who are each forging their own routes into knitwear, infusing standard patterns with intricate details or inventing unusual and dynamic new techniques along the way.

Speaking to the Independent, James Long, a graduate of the Royal College of Art, explained why he loved using embroidery in his womenswear collection and revealed that it was refreshing to be involved in homespun techniques without formal training.

"I think that's why it's interesting - I couldn't sit and knit you a jumper, but I could draw you how I want a jumper to work," he said.

Long relied heavily on embroidery in his monochrome spring-summer collection, using graffiti and lyrics to bring his pieces to life.

"I did some knit drawing that I wanted to have writing on. But that's really difficult and expensive. Sometimes I do draw something and it can't be done," he admitted, meaning it often becomes embroidered.

"With embroidery, I always want it to be three-dimensional, I really want the pieces to live," Long went on to add.

Knitting and embroidery are not the only crafts being deployed by designers, as Simone Rocha, daughter of John Rocha, has become famous for her use of crochet.

Also speaking to the newspaper, she said that she first learnt as a child when assisting in her father's studio.

She has since gone on to design acid-bright crochet daisies, peplum skirts and lacy accessories, helping to catapult crochet straight into 2013.

Ms Rocha admitted that while she learnt many skills at college and university it was with her father where she picked up a sensitivity to fabrication "and an understanding of silhouette but also a respect for craft and handwork".

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