On Tuesday night at Ascension, the eco fashion shop in St Christopher’s Place in London, customers and knitting fanatics alike gathered to discuss all things knitwear over a glass of bubbly and a mince pie or three (all organic of course!) Those who braved the miserable weather to get there were treated to a series of talks on knitwear by those in the know.
First up was Sury Bagenal, head of fashion at Ascension, who spoke about forthcoming trends in knitwear. We now know to look out for conceptual shapes inspired by nature, i.e. sea pods, which envelop the wearer. Sury also hinted at a ‘return to lost crafts’, which inspired pull on shrugs which resemble tea cosies, and lots of smocking elements within different garments. We are also to see a continuation of the layering trend which has been around for a few seasons now, with an emphasis on knitted socks, leggings and long scarves. In terms of colour there are a few different palettes to choose from, including basic monochrome, Prada inspired russets and browns, and then a primary coloured mix of reds, yellows and blues.
Moving from the next season to seasons past, Lina Weber, editor of QueensOf Vintage filled us in on the modern history of knitwear from the ‘20s up to present day. In amongst the better known facts of the history of knit such as tubular 20s dressed and 50s sweetheart sweaters, were the lesser known, and I for one learned lots. Did you know, for example, that many women in the 20s would make their own cloche hats? I also learned that in the 30s humour was the order of the day, and as such it was not uncommon to find knitwear with knitted bugs crawling up the sleeves. Also my favourite type of knit, the Fair Isle, was the most popular in post war Britain.
Bringing us back to the preset day was Anya Swire from ethical fashion label Frank and Faith who shared her experiences with trying to build a clothing business based in Britain which uses British products. Essential to the ethos of Anya’s company is the nurturing of British industry. Based in Dorest, the label tries to support small factories and businesses in their local area, and this also ensures their clothes are produced ethically. Anya inevitable mentioned the disastrous effect large morally-void chains are having on British Industry and indeed on the environment, however she was optimistic that brands such as Frank and Faith, and shops such as Ascention are making a marked and positive difference.
Afterwards the experts were on hand to answer any burning knit related questions; otherwise we were free to browse the shop, champagne in hand, and take advantage of the 20% off knitwear promotion that is running until the end of the week. At the end of the evening I left a few lbs heavier and a few £s lighter!
To mark the close of knitwear week tomorrow (15 December) Ascension has secured two knitters from The North Circular (a collaboration between models Lily Cole and Katherine Poulton and knitwear brand Izzy Lane). The guest knitters will be knitting live for two hours in the shop window in the St Christopher’s Place store from 3 – 5pm and will be on hand for knitting tips afterwards.
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