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 | Pre- London Fashion Week S/S 2011 On Schedule Womenswear, Part One: New Designers

London Fashion Week Illustration by teabelle

This September London Fashion Week enters the courtyard of Somerset House for its third season. Over the next week Amelia’s Magazine will be previewing both the on and off schedules, viagra 40mg naming the designers to firmly keep your eyes on.

For our first preview we have selected designers who have been showing solo for less than six seasons and have already caused quite a stir within the fashion industry.

Hannah Marshall

You may already be aware of Hannah Marshall’s darkly bold shapes without being aware that you are watching a Hannah Marshall in Florence and the Machine’s music video: The Drumming Song. As an introduction it does not prepare you for the exquisite inkiness of Marshall’s colour palate or embrace of the female figure her clothes propose.

Hannah Marshall by Naomi Law

Watching her S/S 2010 show in an old post office building in Holborn, look was breathtaking. As the models stalked through the space, viagra approved the inky blue effervesced in the dim lighting. Marshall’s A/W 2010 named ‘An Army of Me’ was a continuation of stark cuts along the shoulders, waists enhanced or lost by the cut of jacket alongside bodycon dresses produced in luscious velvet.

Mary Katrantzou

Mary Katrantzou has been experimenting with the boundary pushing possibilities of digital print since her A/W show 2009. The occasional harshness of the prints are softened through Katrantzou’s application of the technique to silk.

The collections are a celebration of the decorative and her clothes are littered with references to the excess of the Baroque or the Rocco periods of art and architectural history.

Mary Katrantzou by Meeralee

However it would be a mistake to confuse these prints as a gimmick, Katrantzou’s interest spreads to the cut of the dress, producing a series of structural tailoring which serve embellish the texture of her designs from short frocks to elegant gowns. Amelia’s Magazine welcomes the break from the increasing dominance of minimalism.

Michael van der Ham

Michael Van Der Ham’s described his a/w 2010 collection of dresses as 3D collages, through which multiple fashion references were stated by an insatiable contrast of colours, fabrics and textures. During graduate season earlier this year his design influence could be felt across the catwalks. What will s/s 2011 bring for van der Haam?

Michael van der Ham by Lulu Biazus

Louise Gray

Central Saint Martins MA Graduate, Louise Gray was a recipient of Lulu Kennedy’s and Fashion East’s ever on the button talent for spotting innovative designers. Gray showed with Fashion East for three seasons, before staging solo presentations with the support of NewGen.

A Louise Gray exhibition begins life at London Fashion Week almost completely bare, before exploding in riotious colour as the exquisite detritus from her presentations fill the space. The clothes, a combination of traditional stitch and embroidery create intriguing collections.

Louise Gray by Jessica Stokes

Amelia’s Magazine’s are delighted by Gray’s decision to stage the collection on a catwalk at On|Off for S/S 2011.

David Koma and Holly Fulton

For S/S 2011 Holly Fulton and David Koma. will share a catwalk, Amelia’s Magazine have been watching Koma since his debut as Fashion Scout’s merit winner a year ago this September and cannot wait to see what the designer holds in store.

David Koma by Stuart Whitton

Holly Fulton first blasted onto the scene as part of Fashion East for two seasons, before launching her successful solo a/w 10 collection at London Fashion Week in February 2010. Fulton’s monochromatic colour palate was interspersed with a healthy dose of pop art.

Holly Fulton by Francesca Bourne

The clothes structure referenced the Fulton’s interest in off duty/on duty French daywear crossed with the elegance of Dr Zavargo. Amelia’s Magazine found ourselves bewitched by the bold graphic prints bordering on the illustrative that adorned the collection.

Fashion East

For ten incredible years Fashion East have been at the forefront of spotting and supporting graduates who develop into ‘the’ sought-after designers of our generation.

Heikki by Gemma Randall

This year’s crop are as delectable as ever as Lulu Kennedy introduces Saint Martins MA graduate Simone Rocha and fellow Royal College Graduates Felicity Brown and Heikki Salone.

The excitement of a Fashion East catwalk lies in their ability to reinvent what it is to be feminine and this season is no exception.

For a/w 2010 Heikki Salone presented the tomboy, dressed in black cobwebbed knitwear, that you would wear until it crumbles finished with DM boots. A look -potentially- for fans of Janey from MTV’s hit TV series Daria.

Felicity Brown and Simone Rocha by Gareth A Hopkins

Felicity Brown’s delectable designs are a lesson in vibrant romanticism, a feat not surprising considering her training at Alberta Ferretti, Loewe, Lanvin and Mulberry.

In contrast Simone Rocha’s monochrome MA collection displayed structured modern cuts interspersed with a playful nod towards femininity by her inclusion of netted fuchsia headpieces.

Amelia’s Magazine wait with baited breath to see all of the aforementioned designers collections for s/s 2011.

Categories ,BFC, ,David Koma, ,Fashion East, ,Felicity Brown, ,Francesca Bourne, ,Gareth A Hopkins, ,Gemma Randall, ,Hannah Marshall, ,Heikki Salone, ,Holly Fulton, ,Jessica Stokes, ,lfw, ,London Fashion Week, ,Louise Gray, ,Lulu Biazus, ,Lulu Kennedy, ,Mary Katrantzou, ,Meeralee, ,Michael van der Ham, ,Naomi Law, ,On Schedule, ,Simone Rocha, ,Stuart Whitton, ,Teabell, ,teabelle

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