Amelia’s Magazine | Pre-London Fashion Week S/S 2011 Interview: Cooperative Designs

Photograph by Matt Bramford

After being spellbound by Cooperative Designs’ last two presentations (see here and here) at London Fashion Week.

Amelia’s Magazine are delighted to have had the opportunity of interviewing Annalisa Dunn and Dorothee Hagemann, ed the designers behind the fantastically experimental knitwear. With London Fashion Week just around the corner, page we discussed their previous presentations and what it was that first attracted Cooperative Designs’ to wool…

In recent years Knitwear has seen a massive resurgence on the catwalks, adiposity what first attracted you to the material?

We both learnt to knit from our grandmothers.

Knitwear has such a unique position in the fashion world, its both textiles and fashion. As you design the fabric you affect the structure and form of the garment. The whole process gives you such control and ensures that every piece is unique.

As the designer you choose the basic materials, the way the yarn is spun, then the way the fabric is knitted and then the way the garment is structured and put together. Its a long, time consuming and expensive process, but its very rewarding.

illustration by Stuart Whitton

What are the influences behind the graphic prints, that often appear on the designs?

We met on the Fashion MA at Central St Martins. Although our MA collections were very different, they both had strong graphic elements. It made sense to develop this style together.

What was the experience of studying Knitwear at St Martins?

We both studied Knitwear on the Fashion MA. It was a great experience, it made us tough, confident and it gave us such great experience of working to deadlines, taking fierce criticism, and continually pushing ourselves to improve. It was a stressful but exhilarating process.

What is the decision making process behind the colours of your collections?

We use our primary research as the means to develop the colour palette. Our references are normally from art sources: Rodchenko, the Bauhaus, De Stijl, Memphis, to name a few.

Once we have edited our research we focus on the graphics and colours we find most exciting. We use computer programmes and hand drawings to develop the graphics, and then we have to redesign them specifically to be knitted. There are so many technical limitations in knit, finding ways to work around them are what makes the discipline so exciting and challenging.

Photograph by Amy Gwatkin

What is the relationship between the jewellery designer Corrie Williamson, and Cooperative Designs?

Annalisa: I met Corrie at Brighton University, where we both studied on the BA. We became friends and ran a stall at Camden Market together! When Dorothee and I started the business, we both decided that cooperating with other designers was really important to us. We both loved Corries work, so it made sense to incorporate it into the collection.

We all meet up at the start of the season. We give Corrie a ridiculously conceptual brief, which she then attempts to make some sense from. She then goes away and develops initial samples of materials and shapes. We then meet again with our stylist Elizabeth Cardwell, and the whole process continues.

Photograph by Amy Gwatkin

What techniques do you use to make the garments? Is the outcome influenced by the equipment you have access too?

Absolutely. We specialise in combining really traditional techniques such as intarsias, jacquards, handknits and fairisles with new technologies. Working with advanced yarns, machines and some incredible factories means our garments can really push the limits, whilst still remaining very recognisable as knitwear.

Illustration by Gareth A Hopkins

Your clothes have been described as ‘architectural’, how does the design process begin usually for Cooperative Designs?

Our clothes have the architectural aspect because of their predominantly 2D forms. As Dorothee has more of a womenswear background then me, she has developed a process she calls Primary pattern cutting. Pieces are designed as flat graphic angular shapes then left to drape and distort on the body. This process particularly suits knitwear, as it has such great drape and stretch properties.

What is your relationship to the Bauhaus?

We are big fans! We have been speaking to them about a potential collaboration, that would be really exciting for us.

Photograph by Matt Bramford

I loved last year’s down the road from Somerset House with the ‘Zine, the video and the live show in the basement. Does staging a presentation allow more freedom, than if you presented a catwalk show?

Definitely. With a presentation we have the opportunity to design the entire event, we try to encapsulate the feel of the collection as an real experience for our guests. This season we are showing at the Groucho Club, and we have some really exciting plans!

How did the ‘Zine develop?

The Zine developed because we asked our friends and colleagues to take portraits of our collection in their own individual ways. A ‘Zine seemed like a great way to give everyone a little reminder of these portraits to take home. We worked with Amy Gwatkin our photographer to make a really handmade, Lo Fi photocopied zine. We really enjoyed the collaborative process and the end result, and it would be something we would love to develope for the future.


Photograph by Matt Bramford

What are Cooperative Designs currently working on?

We are working on the new collection and getting all the plans for the presentation into place. We have just finished designing a collection for Autumn Winter for Italian super brand Stefanel, the collection should be dropping into stores really soon. We can’t wait to see the collection on the high street all over Europe! We have also just developed a capsule mens Tshirt collection, which will be previewed at LFW, details will soon be revealed!

We have also recently launched an online shop! We are offering archive pieces, show pieces, and special one offs from our collaborators. We are hoping to expand this shop and offer more collaborators and more products as we develop.

The photographs by Matt Bramford are from Cooperative Designs SS10 collection show at London Fashion Week 2010.

Categories ,A/W 2010, ,Amy Gwatkin, ,bauhaus, ,british fashion council, ,Cooperative Designs, ,Gareth A Hopkins, ,graphic, ,Groucho Club, ,grthink, ,knitwear, ,London Fashion Week, ,Memphis, ,Off Schedule, ,On Schedule, ,Rodchenko, ,Somerset House, ,Stuart Whitton, ,zine

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Amelia’s Magazine | Jolly Good

One of Amelia’s Magazine’s favourite graduates from the Central St Martins MA back in March was knitwear designer Morgan Allen- Oliver, with a selection of horse jockey- meet- Soviet minimalist graphic patterned jumpers. We caught up with him to find out how the last few months have been treating a designer with very British sensibilities.

morg.jpg

Hi there! How are you doing? You have nice hair.

Hello, thank you. I think both my hair and I are feeling the effects of a rather busy couple of weeks!

What have you been up to?

Well I’ve had my brothers wedding in Somerset, where I was making waistcoats for the wedding party, and then I’ve been at the Avalon Camp, the charity I work with (a week in a very rainy, muddy field with 32 children, trying to give them a summer holiday!!) then straight back to London to reacclimatise to city life!

You graduated in March – what have you been up to since then?

I needed a break. It was 18 months of near hell, I loved almost every minute of it but it was emotionally, physically and financially draining – I loved it! Then after a couple of weeks lying in a darkened room, I went back to my old uni, Ravensbourne, to help some very talented young designers pull their collections together ready for Graduate Fashion Week. It was fun but strange at the same time – working so hard only to see someone else get the glory! I have not done that before but I suppose it gets you ready for the real world! Then I started doing some work for Christopher Shannon and Natascha Stolle, sort of knitwear consultancy I guess you could call it? This has actually been very beneficial and given me a lot of creative freedom.

Morgan-edited1.jpg

Describe your design aesthetic in three words.

British. Elegant. Me.

Who do you see wearing your clothes?

It is odd, but I always have my friend Ed in the back of my head when I design – I think, “would he wear it?” Then I go with it. I also see my clothes as really easy-to wear, and could work on anybody who wants to wear them – as long as they are happy, I am happy. I think that as long as people are confident in their clothes, they will look good! Man that sounds cheesy!

Who do you admire within the industry? Any other heroes?

A strange choice but I am always really excited to see the new Miu Miu shows when they come out. I know it is mainly womenswear and not my forte, but there is always something fun and new that really gets me. Every now again Burberry come out with some beautiful knitwear that makes me wish I had designed it!

Morgan-edited2.jpg

Morgan-edited3.jpg

Why knitwear?

As stupid and as lazy as it sounds, when I was in my last year at Ravensbourne, no one was doing it so I thought it would be a good way to stand out, and it was. You need to stand out in fashion, however possible! But as I got more into it, I actually started to like it and really enjoyed the process, designing as I knitted and being so much freer than when I was working with wovens. I must have enjoyed it I guess as I went on to specialise in it at St Martins!

As a knitwear specialist, are you pleased to see a lot of recent students showing an interest in knitting?

I really am. It was amazing that only two years after I left Ravensbourne as the only only pure knitter, there were six or seven people doing it when I went back, all of whom were doing some of the best and most beautiful work I have seen. I was also really pleased to see so much on show at GFW. I sat through nearly all the shows and the knitwear was definitely the highlight in most shows.

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RAVE_07_BA_0370.jpg

Morgan’s BA collection from Ravensbourne

Now for the important question…you inherit 5 million dollars the same day aliens land and say they’re going to blow up the world in two days… what do you do? (Editor’s note: definitely not lifted from anywhere)

Well I don’t believe in aliens. But if I inherited 5 million pounds (we are in England!) and then the world ended that night, I would probably be too panicked to come up with a coherent plan, so would no doubt waste my time thinking about what to do!

Who or what is your greatest enemy?

Time. There is never enough and I waste it terribly.

CSM_09_MA_1747.jpg

Who would you ideally like to work for, and what’s the future for Morgan Allen-Oliver?

I want to work for one of the classic British houses. I feel that is where my style sits best. Then who knows, one day go out on my own? When I was younger, and still finding my style, I always thought New York was the place for me, and actually in the past week, two opportunities have come up over there, but we will wait and see!

To get in touch with Morgan (and maybe get yourself one of those jolly nice jumpers) pop him over an e-mail by clicking here.

Photographs: Josephine Ma and Catwalking.com

Categories ,British, ,Graphic, ,Knitwear, ,Minimalist

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Amelia’s Magazine | Fashion Press Day

Makin Jan Ma

MJM1.jpg

Who knew that cocks and ropes could look so good? Chickens, I mean, as we all know how good cocks can look. Makin Jan Ma has reinvented the barnyard favourite by printing it in sky blue and plastering it all over his collared shirts and t-shirts, making it appear almost abstract from a distance. The other most prolific print in this collection is the twirled rope, both in an enlarged worm-like print and a teeny twisted print that makes delicate reference to the now waning gold-chain trend. Jan Ma trained in graphic design at CSM and, in some strange but great turn of events, moved to fashion to create this super-quirky line. The cuts are really sharp and clean, obviously the graphic influence. Very cool.

Le Tigre

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Back with a punch that I couldn’t resist, the label’s collection of colourful shirts screams cuteness. CUTE CUTE CUTE! They are preppy, indeed, but with the mix of stripes, stars and hearts in an array of bright and pastel colours they are more like candy.

Scotch & Soda

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Okay boyfriends, these are the clothes that will get you in our good fashion books. Well, mine at least, so I hope he is reading this. And if you aren’t going to take the initiative to go and check out this line for yourself you can rest assured that it will show up under the tree at Christmas. I think most girls will agree with me that it is too bad there is no ladies line, but hey, we can wait. It is all about the prints in this collection. Some of my favourites were cable-knit print, the scarf-print and the sky/cloud print. But the best by far was the garishly printed zip-up with a team-style logo on the back. Yes, fantastically unfashionable, making it super-cool.

Tata Naka

Tata%20Naka.jpg

I have always found Tata Naka’s shows at London Fashion Week a little lacklustre, lacking in punch, and with a tendency to drag on for longer than they should. And I have always found that the clothes are layered and stacked like they have been pulled out of the dress-up box, not in a good way. But seeing the collection up close for the first time kinda won me over. The rhythmic gymnast prints reminded me of something off an oversized sweatshirt I wore in the 80s, and the mini bodybuilder portraits, scattered over a yellow background, were irresistibly hilarious. And Tata Naka’s collection of garish costume jewellery was straight from the dress-up box in the right way.

Tata%20Naka%202.jpg

PPQ

PPQ.jpg

I love everything this label does, but most appealing this time round was the black satin bra and underwear set, trimmed in white lace. Totally impractical for any breast size, the loose satin looked like it would hang off your boobs no matter what, offering no support or giving no option to actually wear something on top of it (it would definitely look awkward under anything but a chunky cable knit sweater). However, all this impracticality is the delightful appeal of sexy knickers! I think they would make me feel like a 20s pin up girl, lounging around with nothing to do but lay around, and that sounds like a reasonable expectation for underwear.

Manish Arora

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Appealing to the utmost in girlish delights Manish Arora’s clothes are like a walk through wonderland. They are embellished with sequins, rainbows, hearts, wild tropical beasts, petals, birds, and fabrics of every sort. I have always loved his catwalk shows as they are the most colourful and spectacular of London Fashion Week. I could only imagine how wonderful it would feel to wear one of his tiered sequined skirts to a party… the prettiest girl in the room!

MA2.jpg

Categories ,Accessories, ,Collection, ,Designer, ,Graphic, ,LFW, ,Shirts

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Amelia’s Magazine | Renegade Craft Fair in London 2011 Review: Textile Design

Renegade Craft Fair London oct 2011 -the make lounge
Renegade Craft Fair London oct 2011 -the make lounge
Making stuff for oneself is the bedrock of the crafting scene so of course there were quite a few workshops ongoing when I visited the Renegade Craft Fair. The Stitch and Make studio were on hand to offer advice and The Make Lounge were teaching people to make miniature wool foxes.

Renegade Craft Fair London oct 2011 -Art Equals Happy
Kim Smith runs Art Equals Happy, decease which was a beautifully laid out stall of woollen goodies, at the front of which she sat spinning on a big old fashioned wheel. Her blog makes for extremely interesting reading. On it I discovered that she’s big on sustainability, recycling card and paper to create her envelopes. I was even more intrigued to discover that Kim is currently on the BA in illustration at Camberwell – what an inspiring lady.

Renegade Craft Fair London oct 2011 -Mary Kilvert
I loved the flock of sheep designs by Kingston University graduate Mary Kilvert, especially on cushions.

Renegade Craft Fair London oct 2011 -Diane Koss
Perfect for kids, Diane Koss had a stall groaning under the weight of her colourful plush toys: think furry one eyed monsters with huge horns.

Renegade Craft Fair London oct 2011 -Gluckskafer
There were some cute felted animals for sale by Gluckskafer on the Selvedge magazine stall – though I can’t seem to locate them online anywhere. Sorry!

Renegade Craft Fair London oct 2011 -Robin & Mould
Renegade Craft Fair London oct 2011 -Robin & Mould
I was most impressed with the bold screenprinted designs of Robin & Mould who are based in rural Wiltshire. Their tea cosies, tea towels and cushions were emblazoned with gorgeous animal inspired graphics.

Don’t forget to discover my favourite illustration and wall art at the Renegade Craft Fair too.

Categories ,2011, ,Art Equals Happy, ,Camberwell College of Arts, ,Cushion, ,Diane Koss, ,Felt, ,Foxes, ,graphic, ,illustration, ,Kim Smith, ,london, ,Mary Kilvert, ,Monster, ,Plushies, ,Renegade Craft Fair, ,review, ,Robin & Mould, ,screenprinting, ,Selvedge Magazine, ,sheep, ,Stitch and Make studio, ,Textile Design, ,The Make Lounge, ,Toys, ,Truman Brewery, ,Wiltshire, ,workshops

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Amelia’s Magazine | Christmas Gift Ideas 2012: Top Ten Best Mugs by Illustrators and Designers

lisa jones beaver mug
Beaver Mug by Lisa Jones. I *love* beavers so I was super excited to find this. No really, don’t laugh.

Next up: my recommendations for mugs. Yes, a whole blog devoted to the sexiest mug designs: I can’t resist them! There is nothing better than a good cup of tea in a beautifully designed and well proportioned mug, so I’ve scoured the internet to bring you these great designs: just in time for Christmas.

lisa jones jungle lion mug
I was so pleased to discover that Lisa Jones has applied her wonderful retro style critters to bone china mugs.

Lush Designs Fox and Cubs Mug
I am a massive fan of Lush Designs – two designers who work together to create totally inimitable artwork – think wild boars, swinging monkeys, strutting cats, all with gold detailing. We have their fine bone china mugs at home and I LOVE THEM. They were meant as gifts but they never left the house…

1973 graffika mugs
I love 1973, and not just because this husband and wife team were born in 1973 (and so was I) – their shapely new Grafika mugs bear bold optical designs.

Leaf Branch Mug LavenderGrey Freya Lines
And for something a bit more subtle, how about this leaf branch mug by Freya Lines? Originally created in pencil and watercolour, then digitally printed onto china in Stoke-on-Trent.

ben javens mug
Fab character illustrator Ben Javens has created this fun landscape design for new website Beast in Show, an off shoot of To Dry For.

dupenny 50s housewive mug
For something a bit more saucy how about a 50s housewives cavorting with her washing, on mugs designed by Dupenny.

Kate clarke london mugs
Then hop on over to Kate Clarke London for bright and happy homewares: a Craft Central discovery.

Gemma Correll pugs not drugs mug
Also from Beast in Show, Gemma Correll‘s classic Pugs Not Drugs design now comes on a mug: I love the detail on the base inside. Mmm, Biscuits, indeed.

Bone China 'Acorn' mug by Donna Wilson
Donna Wilson turns her hand to ceramics with this lovely bone china mug featuring a mid-century-inspired Acorn design, available from Soma Gallery.

ingela-p-arrhenius-porcelain-tree-mug
Swedish designer Ingela P Arrhenius is a renowned illustrator whose retro influenced designs appear in books, on clothes and across fabrics and stationary. I love this bird mug! Available on Hus and Hem, a website that features loads of great Scandinavian design.

There are many more gift ideas to come… and to read all about my best cushion finds, click here.

Categories ,1973, ,50s Housewife, ,Acorn mug, ,Animal, ,Beast in Show, ,Beaver mug, ,Ben Javens, ,Bird, ,Bone China, ,ceramics, ,Christmas, ,craft, ,Craft Central, ,design, ,designer, ,Donna Wilson, ,Dupenny, ,Fox and Cubs Mug, ,Freya Lines. Stoke-on-Trent, ,Gemma Correll, ,gifts, ,Grafika, ,graphic, ,Homeware, ,Hus and Hem, ,illustration, ,Ingela P Arrhenius, ,Jungle Lion mug, ,Kate Clarke London, ,Lisa Jones, ,Lush Designs, ,Mugs, ,Optical, ,Porcelain, ,Pugs Not Drugs mug, ,retro, ,Scandinavian, ,Soma Gallery, ,Stoke-on-Trent, ,tea, ,To Dry For

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Amelia’s Magazine | Christmas Gift Ideas 2012: Top Ten Best Mugs by Illustrators and Designers

lisa jones beaver mug
Beaver Mug by Lisa Jones. I *love* beavers so I was super excited to find this. No really, don’t laugh.

Next up: my recommendations for mugs. Yes, a whole blog devoted to the sexiest mug designs: I can’t resist them! There is nothing better than a good cup of tea in a beautifully designed and well proportioned mug, so I’ve scoured the internet to bring you these great designs: just in time for Christmas.

lisa jones jungle lion mug
I was so pleased to discover that Lisa Jones has applied her wonderful retro style critters to bone china mugs.

Lush Designs Fox and Cubs Mug
I am a massive fan of Lush Designs – two designers who work together to create totally inimitable artwork – think wild boars, swinging monkeys, strutting cats, all with gold detailing. We have their fine bone china mugs at home and I LOVE THEM. They were meant as gifts but they never left the house…

1973 graffika mugs
I love 1973, and not just because this husband and wife team were born in 1973 (and so was I) – their shapely new Grafika mugs bear bold optical designs.

Leaf Branch Mug LavenderGrey Freya Lines
And for something a bit more subtle, how about this leaf branch mug by Freya Lines? Originally created in pencil and watercolour, then digitally printed onto china in Stoke-on-Trent.

ben javens mug
Fab character illustrator Ben Javens has created this fun landscape design for new website Beast in Show, an off shoot of To Dry For.

dupenny 50s housewive mug
For something a bit more saucy how about a 50s housewives cavorting with her washing, on mugs designed by Dupenny.

Kate clarke london mugs
Then hop on over to Kate Clarke London for bright and happy homewares: a Craft Central discovery.

Gemma Correll pugs not drugs mug
Also from Beast in Show, Gemma Correll‘s classic Pugs Not Drugs design now comes on a mug: I love the detail on the base inside. Mmm, Biscuits, indeed.

Bone China 'Acorn' mug by Donna Wilson
Donna Wilson turns her hand to ceramics with this lovely bone china mug featuring a mid-century-inspired Acorn design, available from Soma Gallery.

ingela-p-arrhenius-porcelain-tree-mug
Swedish designer Ingela P Arrhenius is a renowned illustrator whose retro influenced designs appear in books, on clothes and across fabrics and stationary. I love this bird mug! Available on Hus and Hem, a website that features loads of great Scandinavian design.

There are many more gift ideas to come… and to read all about my best cushion finds, click here.

Categories ,1973, ,50s Housewife, ,Acorn mug, ,Animal, ,Beast in Show, ,Beaver mug, ,Ben Javens, ,Bird, ,Bone China, ,ceramics, ,Christmas, ,craft, ,Craft Central, ,design, ,designer, ,Donna Wilson, ,Dupenny, ,Fox and Cubs Mug, ,Freya Lines. Stoke-on-Trent, ,Gemma Correll, ,gifts, ,Grafika, ,graphic, ,Homeware, ,Hus and Hem, ,illustration, ,Ingela P Arrhenius, ,Jungle Lion mug, ,Kate Clarke London, ,Lisa Jones, ,Lush Designs, ,Mugs, ,Optical, ,Porcelain, ,Pugs Not Drugs mug, ,retro, ,Scandinavian, ,Soma Gallery, ,Stoke-on-Trent, ,tea, ,To Dry For

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