Chic knits. A fashion revival – and it’s hot!

Partying hard into the wee hours of the morning in the South of France. Sun, cocktails, sexy little bikini, and pumping club tunes. The next day, recovering by the pool, sun-tan lotion, cocktails, chill out tunes, beach bag and knitting! Knitting?

We flew from London to Nice in the Summer and sat beside a very cool New Yorker heading to Cannes for the Summer to party. I do tend to chat to whomever I sit beside because I’m a journalist. Or as Mr ChicFantastic adds – I’m nosey.

So this very cool New Yorker is 25, on Summer break from being a school teacher, really pumped about the beach party she is going to that same night, and all the while knitting.

I am intrigued because this is not the first time that I’ve met a twenty-something knitter. This rather cool New Yorker is knitting a scarf, or travel blanket – she’ll just keep knitting and see what happens. I love it.

My 30-something friends who are knitters have all attributed their skills learnt to their grandmothers. 2011 has been a baby boom in our circle of friends, and more of these friends are getting out the wool and needles and putting those skills back in action – for most, it has been years since they last made anything. It’s while chatting about booties, hats or blankies, that the men all of a sudden pipe up and tell me that they also know how to knit, or have at least had a go at it. I am loving the knitting chat over a glass of wine.

I fear that if I was to take up knitting I will complete my jumper, only to find, when I try it on for the first time, that the sleeves are grazing the ground. But as they say, practice makes perfect.

I’m also loving the suited booted bright young things travelling by Tube into the heart of London. Ipod tunes on, and bright coloured wool spilling out of their Louis Vuitton as they knit away the travel time.

At this year’s London Fashion Week (September 2011) there was a  lot of knitwear showcased in the Ethical Fashion exhibition. Designer Michael Van Der Ham is becoming known as a bold designer with his mix of knitwear with other fabrics such as chiffon to create elegant pieces. Aiste Nesterovaite’s geometric scarves are wearable artwork which transform from a collar to a necklace. Photo below is from their website.

All of a sudden knitting is the new chic clothing item for Summer as well as for the colder months. I loved the belted dresses, tights, and vests using lightweight sheer lambs wool, shrugs knitted in Scottish lace and chunky knit scarves using British wool. I took a walk through New Look, H&M and Gap (as high street examples) and this A/W season is all about the knit – chunky long scarves, soft jumpers and belted vests.

The designers behind these labels are young and energetic and use  traditional knitting along with machine knitting techniques. Their creations also include head-pieces, belts and even jewellery. The neck-piece below is a beautiful cluster of teal coloured knitted corsage attached to a ribbon. I found this on a website called Folksy and it retails for around £24.00. Very vintage inspired.

So this chic set of young knitters are making waves in the fashion world. Turning their hobby into a way of socialising with fellow knitters over coffee, or into a ‘cottage’ business. One such fashion-knitter is Di from Peggy’s Collection who I’ve met through Twitter. Di has turned her love of knitting and recreating her grandmother’s patterns into her very own online business where you will find stunning designer pieces. Below is a bespoke knitted hat designed by Di especially for my baby Mini M. The chunky knit red poppy is also a part of Di’s range which she has created especially for Remembrance Day.

Adriana Green is one half of Scarecrow Boutique in London’s Crouch End – and she creates designer knitwear. Below is just one of Aderiana’s designer knits – a ladybird baby cardigan in a variety of colours available at Scarecrow Boutique. There are so many knitting groups or exhibitions and you can always find out details through online searches. One of the exhibitions which Adriana recommends is the Knitting & Stitching Show (Twisted Thread) showcasing top textile designers. Click on the link to find out more, get your ticket, and get inspired.Vintage knitwear holds its value and is always a wardrobe staple for any fashionista. Anita Bott of Vintage Fairs London organises vintage clothing sales across London. Exhibitors sell fashion accessories and textiles from 1800-1970’s. If you aren’t one to take up the knitting needles, then you can trawl through fantastic stalls at these sales selling classic and quirky knitwear such as this gorgeous cosy vest below. While the high street shops are full of this seasons knits, why don’t you take up the knitting needles and create something of your very own? Or purchase a bespoke piece from an independent designer and invest in vintage knits at one of the many fairs you will find happening in your area.


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