“I wanted to prove it was more than just hats and scarves made by your granny” – Katie Jones is set to take knitwear to new heights
Katie Jones is one of this year’s new breeds of fashion graduates ready to take the industry into its own hands. But it’s easy to tell that she’s going to be pretty big news: she’s managed to make crochet cool again. She graduated from her Masters at the London College of Fashion this year, and has already worked for the likes of Mark Fast and Diane von Furstenberg. She uses traditional British knitting and crochet techniques to create wonderfully eccentric yet designs inspired by her love of all things exotic and tribal.
We put some questions to her to find out what makes her tick. Her influences and inspirations are wide-ranging, from Grayson Perry – “the man’s a genius!” – to John Galliano, whom she interned for in Paris, which she describes as an “awe inspiring” experience.
Knitting was an early passion for her and her reason for going into the industry – to change people’s perceptions of it. She combines this with her love of clothes to produce something truly original: “Being able to create something new from nothing is just the best thing ever; it’s a job that can never become boring as it’s always changing.”
She has a quite traditional attitude to fashion and its function. She rejects the modern notion of fast fashion, characterised by a high design turnover, low quality craftsmanship and a whole lot of material waste, which is why she turns to cultural dress for her ideas: “I think fashion has become tarred somehow since the introduction of fast fashion, it’s seen as a very vacuous industry, but I find it amazing that in societies such as the small tribes of Africa or Papua New Guinea, where the people don’t have many possessions, personal adornment and ceremonial dress is such a prized and respected craft.”
Her S/S ’14 collection is a great example of this. It’s inspired primarily by the painted Salvation Mountain in Slab City, South-eastern California, and also by the photographer Phyllis Galembo’s documentation of tribal masquerading in Africa. The collection is a beautifully put together storyboard which uses traditional crafting techniques in a modern way. The colour combinations are mind-boggling yet expertly coordinated; and it has an almost otherworldly sense to it. It depicts what she refers to as “escape from the constraints of the norm” expressed through “the tale of a group of nomads who, to avoid the modern world, leave the cities for the desert and create a new tribe”.
And it’s pretty wearable, too. The tribal masks transform into hats and the face coverings attached to the jumpers can be rolled down to make it into a sort of Polo neck. Which, in her words, allows the wearer “to be man or god, holding both personas at once”. An interesting concept. So, if you secretly love crochet and want something original that won’t make you look like a giant tea-cosy, Katie Jones is definitely the girl for you!
To see more of Katie’s work, visit here.