My research into knitwear has shown me the wide range of uses that this area of design has. One book that dominated my research was called Radical Lace & Subversive Knitting.
This was a collection of biographical snippets about knitwear designers within the industry and how they have moved the method forward away from the home-made fashions.
Within the book I found a designer called Yoshiki Hishinuma. He is a Japanese designer who began his career under Issey Miyake. After being awarded the Mainichi Fashion Grand Prix for young talent, he started his own label in 1992 and since then become a well established contemporary knitwear designer.
His work includes innovative technology that machines garments in 3D form but he focusses largely on structure and form. His method of using heat to shrink synthetic fibres has been compared to Shibori – an ancient method of dyeing and shaping fabric to create patterns. Hishinuma interprets this method by submersing his synthetic fibres in boiling water after wrapping them around wooden structures. The heat that causes these fibres to shrink means that he is left with the structure.
This research has opened my eyes to the popularity of knitwear and the vast array of designers that are involved in this industry. Although I don’t have access to this type of technology, nor could I afford to pay for the service it is good to learn about the options that are available and could potentially be used in my future work.
This has also been informative as to the processes of knitwear design – as this is a commercialised machine that has been adapted to create one of a kind pieces.
Now that I’ve learnt more about the high designer approach to knitwear, I think it would be interesting to comparatively look at commercialised manufacture and see just how different it is.