A selection of high-quality knitwear that will guide you through many winters wrapped up warm.
Cardigans for Cosmopolitans
Inspired by the world of the circus, its aesthetics, and nomadic romanticism, Italian designer Gaia Zattini founded her label Circus Hotel in 2012. Since then, she has combined artfully woven jacquard knitting patterns and voluminous oversized silhouettes with her travel experiences from far away lands. The current autumn/winter collection features long cardigans and trousers with zebra knit patterns, futuristic sweaters in bright colors, and elegant long wool dresses made for cosmopolitans who feel at home all over the world. www.circushotel.it
Bold Colors meet Classic Silhouettes
According to the founders Paolina Leccese and Julian Taffel, an essential modern item has to favor bold colors and classic silhouettes. The pair shares a love for high-quality knitwear. That’s why all of the brand’s creations are made of Italian wool and cashmere yarns. ‘People now realize that we have to go back to buying one piece and keeping it for a longer time,’ says Paolina Leccese to Wallpaper Magazine. ‘We’re interested in that attitude. Creating something where people can come back 50 years from now and rebuy the same cardigan in a different color.’ After graduating they both worked for antiques dealer Emilie Irving and bonded over a shared sentiment for nostalgia. ‘We both wore mostly vintage clothes, but the biggest thing was our love of knits. We love simplicity but also within simplicity, we need whimsy and color,’ Taffel says. leorosa-world.com
J. PRESS: Home of the Ivy League Look
Jacobi Press was a Latvian immigrant who opened his tailor shop in New Haven, Connecticut, in 1908. When he toted his sample bags at boarding schools in the early 1900s, the term preppy look didn’t even exist. And also if it would have, Press never was into fashion trends. In 1954 Life Magazine proclaimed J.Press as the Home of the Ivy League Look, which hit the hallowed walls of America’s elite schools like Harvard, Princeton, and Yale. “The mid-to-late 50s encapsulates traditional American menswear details that are still fashionable today, and J. Press truly solidifies itself as an heirloom brand; clothing that you pass on to your children and your children’s children,” states the brand’s website. jpressonline.com
Sculptural Knitwear From Spain
In 2008 Monica Cordera started her namesake label to counter the fleeting trends of today with timeless silhouettes made of high-quality wool. With minimalist H-lines, oversized sweaters, and cardigans in beige and brown tones, she creates elegant looks that are made to last. For her current autumn/winter collection, she uses fiber blends of 70 percent baby alpaca and 30 percent polyamide, a synthetic fiber also known as nylon. Polyamide is tear-resistant, elastic, dries quickly, and has an antibacterial effect. It is also suitable for textile recycling. The alpaca wool comes from a farm in the northern Spanish region of Galicia. The natural fiber lies comfortably on the skin, regulates moisture, neutralizes odors, and is durable and hard-wearing. www.monicacordera.es
Preserving The Art of Knitting
The Italian label started at the beginning of the 50’s as a small knitting manufactory with the production of sweaters for the German and Northern European markets. Over the years, the family business from Bologna has advanced to a high fashion knitwear company that still relies on “Made in Italy” today. Their commitment to beautiful knitwear extends far beyond its production: Roberto Collina sees itself as a training center introducing its employees to the art of knitting through extensive training. Together with the Accademia di Costume e Moda in Rome, the label even established the world’s only master’s degree in “Creative Knitwear Design “to attract up-and-coming talents to the trade and make the industry future-proof. The men’s and women’s collections of the traditional house are trend-conscious and colorful. For a particularly beautiful contrast, combine the coarser oversized knit sweaters and bolero cardigans made of bouclé yarn with more delicate textiles such as silk. www.robertocollina.com
Premium Knitwear Made in Hongkong
After ten years working as an employee at Rag & Bone in New York, Phyllis Chan longed for her homeland Hong Kong. So she quit her job and started knitwear label Yan Yan together with her best friend from high school, the designer Suzzie Chung. The duo wants to show the world what contemporary and cool fashion from China can do. They draw inspiration from traditional dresses like the Cheongsams, Hong Kong’s urban culture, and their grandmothers’ style. For their collections, they apply leftover fabrics and yarn from the Todd & Duncan textile factory, which is certified with the GOTS-standard. Every two to three months, Yan Yan launches 10 to 15 new garments. The number of looks depends on the remaining stock from the factory. The label offers something new on a regular basis but without being out of style next season. yanyanknits.com
Knit Sweaters With an Afterlife
The Barcelona based knitwear brand IAIOS recovers excess wool pieces, separates them by color, and spins new thread that transforms into quality knit sweaters. The Spanish name of the brand, which translates into “grandparents” is inspired by the wisdom and respect we associate with our elders. Each pullover has a name that represents artists, writers, and philosophers shaping history. Customers can order a Louise Bourgeois or a Víktor Korchnoi sweater. The whole production process is located in Catalonia, paying tribute to its rich textile heritage. The business model follows a circular approach. At the end of the sweater’s life, customers can send the piece back to IAIOS, where it will be recycled into new yarn. iaios.com
The Cyclist: Safe and Chic Bike Styles
French/Dutch product designer Julie Thissen’s passion for bags and urban cycling inspired her to found her own label The Cyclist. The first collection was launched through a crowd-funding campaign in late 2014 which enabled the prototyping, development, and production of her first collection. Since then the designer creates beautiful accessories for urban cyclists. Her obsession with patterns and her belief that cycle accessories should be elegant and practical at the same time also shows in a collection of stylish knit scarves that feature retro-reflective material to make sure cyclists don’t get overlooked in the dark. The reflective material lights up bright under the headlight of passing cars and is a signature element of the brand from Rotterdam. www.thecyclistbags.com
Wearable Magnetic Force Fields
The Belgian knitwear brand Wolvis launches one collection per year that changes with the seasons. Light knitwear in spring and summer alternates with warming wool in autumn and winter. For the current Flux scarf collection, label founder and architect Griet Depoorter drew inspiration from magnetic force fields that create organic patterns. They served as the graphic basis for the designs. The wool comes from Australia, and the Himalayas, whereas the production takes place in Belgium. People are also welcome to visit her design studio in West Flanders for a personal consultation. www.wolvis.be
Sam Barsky: Knitting Landmarks
Sam Barsky became an internet sensation with his unique knit sweaters featuring famous landmarks. In a Skype interview with The Y Circus, Sams says: “One Sunday morning I woke up and had over a hundred facebook messages and hundreds of friend requests. I didn’t know what was going on. I thought someone hacked my account. People were telling me that there were articles about my knitting on all these different publications. Someone discovered my page and wrote an article about me on Imgur. It went viral overnight.” Sam even received an invite to the Jimmy Kimmel show.” Unfortunately, I couldn’t make it because I was already so busy with all these other requests. I couldn’t devote a few days to fly across the country.
Since then, Sam can make a living out of knitting. He travels through the USA and teaches people the art of knitting in workshops. He also teamed up with a startup that prints his unique sweaters onto shirts that he sells on his homepage. For everyone who is interested in learning how to knit, Sam also offers lessons on Facebook Live. www.facebook.com/colorknit/
This article doesn’t contain any form of branded content and is only based on the personal taste of the editor.