We are very lucky to have worked on a live project with Sophie Steller and her trend driven Knitwear Studio for second year knit & weave’s first project this semester, leading to four work placements for two knit & weave students respectively in her studio in Twickenham, London.
A little bit about Sophie Steller and her company:
‘Our London based studio is home to a team of highly talented designers who have worked on projects for clients such as SPINEXPO, Novetex Spinners, TJ Maxx, AEO, GAP, Polo Ralph Lauren, Gant, A&F, Primark Stores, Marks & Spencer, H&M and Aroma Home.
We provide a wide range of knitwear related design services including:
- seasonal swatch collection
- colour & trend forecasting
- yarn development
- marketing & branding
- direct studio development
- mood & product boards
- concept fabrics’
We worked to an exciting brief set by Sophie, asking the students to approach their work in a more trend driven way. She asked the students to:
‘Develop your ability to research in a relevant, objective, and analytical way to be able to communicate your ideas with one strong, clear message.
The role of a designer is to find ways to creatively problem-solve. As a designer, whether you are designing your own collection, or working for a client you need to create desirability and suitability of your design to a consumer of some kind, and therefore whether you set the brief or the client does, you need to find the solution of creating something that someone else wants to consume.
The students were asked to:
‘Collect a range of 30-40 research images (these can be your own drawings or photographs, collage or a combination of all) of your own that observe and explore the following:
* Shapes * Textures * Colours * Atmosphere & mood * Touch & surface *
Be able to answer the following:
Why did you choose your subject and what did you found interesting and inspiring about it?
Once you went there what did you find out and observe?
Through your visual observations what did you find you liked about it and what ideas did it give to develop further?
What key elements have you identified as being important to inspire you?
From your observational research develop the following:
- A colour palette you can work with * Textures you like * Shapes or patterns you can extract from it *
- A mood or direction you can see it going into? Is it for menswear, womenswear or children? Is it dressy, contemporary, casual, sporty? Then develop your research into final fabrics and resolved garment or interior ideas that continue in this train of thought.’
The students then presented their final fabrics, presentation boards, and a Powerpoint presentation at the end of the six week project to Sophie Steller, and to tutors in their subject areas, Jane Landau for Woven textiles, and Sarah Elwick, & Lisa Burn-Hunter for Knitwear. The work was generally of a very high standard overall, and Sophie was very impressed with the work produced by the students. She will select her four students for internships in due course.
Well done to all involved. A great start to level two!
During her second year at WSA studying Knitted Textiles for Fashion, Hannah Brabon has managed to gain of wealth of Industry Experience from a combination of Live Projects and Internships, all setting her in excellent stead for her final year.
Here she tells us about her internship with Sophie Steller and her opportunity to go to Shanghai as part of a Live Project with Spinexpo.
“Whilst on work placement at Sophie Steller, I carried out a variety of different studio tasks such as organising fabrics and trimmings, as well as assisting with deliveries. I was also involved with selecting yarn from the extensive collection at the studio, for various trend and colour stories. It was a fantastic opportunity to be able to work with yarn that is of such a high industry standard and improve my awareness of yarn suppliers.
Experiencing working in such a fast paced environment was very exciting as I was able to see projects develop from initial research through to final sampling. I was also lucky enough to be involved in plotting designs on Photoshop for Shima Seiki sampling and embellishing knitted fabrics. I learnt a huge amount from the team of designers in the studio; for example Photoshop techniques and interesting ways of photographing knitted samples.”
“At the studio I also learnt new techniques on the dubied knitting machines, such as various ways of creating interesting cable designs. It was such a privilege to be able to use the machinery to develop sample ideas for the studio, whilst at the same time developing my skills in the area. I feel very lucky to have been able to experience working in a knitwear design studio, and everything that I have learnt will be so useful for my future studies.”
“During the year, I was also given the opportunity to go to Shanghai in February for the yarn and trend tradeshow ‘Spinexpo’. I had an active role in setting up both the Winchester School of Art display and ‘The Red Room’. It was such a fantastic opportunity to see the work that we created on display and to be able to see how an international tradeshow works. I was able get a further insight into the industry by making contacts with designers, buyers and spinners.”
“I learnt so much from both of these experiences and have become more confident as a result. It has shown me how important getting industry experience is and how beneficial it can be.”
Final year woven textiles students were selected to showcase their woven samples at Spinexpo as part of a live project with Sophie Steller. The students produced work for two of Sophie Steller’s clients Novetex and Biella.
Second year Knitwear for Fashion and Woven Textile Design students have been working on an industry project for Knitwear Design Studio Sophie Steller. The students developed designs for a past/modern collection, using drawings from museum collections as a starting point for their textile swatches. After the project review with Sophie Steller, 8 students were selected for interviews.
Sophie will be offering placements to successful interviewees.
Sophie Steller is a Creative Knitwear Design Studio based in Twickenham, working directly for clients plus their own sweater swatch collection sold to Womenswear retailers.
We are seeking a full time knitwear graduate with proven experience of working in a knit studio (gained either as placement or post graduation).
The candidate should be a keen knitter, preferably with a strong sense of colour and full understanding of directional fashion trends. The role will not only be knitting but also include sketching, creating tech packs, international travel to shows and factories as well as training on our new Shima Seiki software and machinery. Ideally applicants must have had experience at some point in working for swatch studios in the past and are able to work in a fast paced environment.
Skills & Experience:
Skilled on both Domestic & Dubied Knitting machines
Confident, commercial and independent designer
Great colour sense
Salary £18,000 + depending on experience
Closing date October 08, 2015
To read more about this position and apply go here.