• Monday, February 17, 2014

    XXY PRESENTS: CASSANDRA VERITY GREEN INTERVIEW

    "Knitwear is such a broad and fascinating path of fashion. You can literally make a whole garment from a strand of yarn '' Cassandra Verity Green (or CVG, as we’ve come to address her) really blew it out of the water with her graduate fashion showcase, ‘Neptune’s Daughter,’ at Central Saint Martins last year. It was a collection that featured, among other delights, water bowl backpacks that encased live fish in them; knits paired with moss-like textures and cartilage-looking spikes. CVG has since garnered a healthy following and very nearly exhausted all superlatives about her work. Now, in Shanghai to work with Santoni, things are looking good on the horizon for CVG. We recently had a chat with the talented designer about combining her aesthetic with sportswear and the vision for her career. It’ll really be interesting to see how you’ll be applying your aesthetic to sportswear with Santoni, especially your ‘Neptune’s Daughter’ collection. What did they say to you when they approached you for the collaboration and what was your reaction like? I was put in contact with Santoni Shanghai through Sophie Steller, the Creative Director for Spinexpo; a yarn, fabric and fashion knitwear event that showcases annually in Shanghai in March. I contacted Sophie who had a strong interest in developing my work and was focused on manufacturing wearable but creative knitted garments. In the past I have mainly worked on domestic knitting machines, which is very hard to transfer into a viable production method, as costing can become extremely unrealistic. Working with Santoni Shanghai directly and its fabulous team of technicians is an absolutely amazing opportunity for me to broaden my knowledge of knitwear production. It’s almost like a fast track MA, and I’m totally overwhelmed by the chance to work here. Do you already have a vision for your collaboration with Santoni? I have certain guidelines to work with in terms of the machinery itself, but I’m really looking forward to pushing the Santoni machines as far as I can to get a very unique outcome. I have inspiration points that I will be working with, but as this is such an amazing and eye-opening learning experience I don’t want to pigeonhole myself too much. Obviously, I will stay true to my style and aesthetic, but this experience will really help me understand the commercial world of knitwear.   Designers usually try to add on their ‘signature’ onto existing pieces like jeans, jackets, and it seems that just deconstructing a jacket or whatever else is enough to call someone a genius. But you really blew it out of the park with your knitwear. What we’re really curious about is your brain – the techniques, the materials and ultimately the entire look of your collection – what made you see knitwear from such a interesting perspective? Also, why knitwear? Knitwear is such a broad and fascinating path of fashion. You can literally make a whole garment from a strand of yarn. I find this idea really interesting. It gives you the scope to really create something unique. I have always worked with textiles and experimenting with fabrics, yarns and things I see around me. I feel that working with fabrics doesn’t give me quite as much room to play with. I always end up seeing how I can change and adapt the yarn or fabric into something of my own; that is personal to me, whether that is experimenting with print or embellishments. Knitwear is a constantly growing area of fashion design, where the possibilities are endless. It is a traditional craft that is still only at the beginning of its revival and I strive to work towards redefining the understanding and perception of knitwear. What did you pick up during your time with designers, Craig Lawrence and Leutton Postle? What was your experience with them like and did it influence your ‘Neptune’s Daugther’ collection a lot? I really focused my year in the industry on developing skills and knowledge of small companies, with a strong focus at that time of eventually creating my own brand. Not only does running a knitwear brand require a vast knowledge of yarn, techniques and sourcing and the like but also knowledge of how to establish the brand itself. Working closely with the Leutton Postle girls and Craig gave me a real insight into this. Things such as lookbooks, press releases and organising shows and models; there is such a large amount you have to consider to really say that you ‘own your own brand’. It’s also so important to have business knowledge – from marketing and PR to manufacturing your collection, and where to find the money to finance it all. I don’t think I’m there quite yet, so this is why I jumped at the chance to learn as much as I can with Santoni. It’s such an amazing opportunity to not only understand new technology and the future of knitwear but how I can apply this back to my own work and figure out a way of manufacturing CVG knitwear in the long run. It boggles my mind really at how much more there is to learn in the world of knitwear but I feel I’m on the right track to achieving my goals for the brand. With ‘Neptune’s Daughter’, some pieces looked really soft and wearable while others seems more like armour. What kind of person did you envision wearing your clothes? I don’t have a particular market in mind for my graduate collection. I was driven more by the aesthetics, and creating something fresh and exiting rather than creating something wearable. Since the very start I had it in mind to play with volume and transparency and worked with this throughout researching and developing my shapes and techniques. I think the garments in my collection were more showcase pieces, and the Central Saint Martin degree show was the perfect place to present these. Working with how I can develop my aesthetic into more wearable pieces is something I’m really focusing on now. As for who I have in mind…someone who is playful, confident and energetic.   CASSANDRA VERITY GREEN COLLABORATES WITH MIISTA The Central Saint Martins graduate show is renowned as a spectacle. Of the designers shining the brightest last year, Cassandra Verity Green and her aquatic collection are the first to spring into mind. Her collection Neptune’s Daughter was bright, full of colour. It was sweet and girly while being unique and unexpected – it was Measured Madness! Liking it so much we got in touch with her to use her garments for our SS14 look book. Aquascapism and Neptune’s Daughter – it was a match made in heaven. Errrr, should we have said the ocean? Turns out Cassandra is into Miista as well. Ideas were thrown back and forth… and we’re now super excited to announce Cassandra will be collaborating with Miista for our SS15 collection! To make this slightly less formal, Cassandra sat down to talk to us about her work and ideas and all things in between. Of course we sat down behind our respective screens in different time zones – we’re still at the Miista office in London hoping our building doesn’t get blown away by the wind and she is in China currently working on a capsule collection due to be shown at the Spinexpo Shanghai next month. It was the CSM graduate show that brought her into everyone’s attention and a part of her collection that got quite a lot of press after the show was the fishbowl backpacks. What was she thinking? Well, she cites the British seaside tradition of a pet fish being a prize at the fair, combined with a futuristic fantasy of a nomadic society taking their pets with them everywhere they go. Wanting to give the rucksacks an element of transparency, the fishbowl bags were born. They looked fresh and daring but using animals in a context like this can be a shaky ground to walk on. RSCPA clearly didn’t think it was that cool but explaining how people can be wary of the fashion and beauty industry Cassandra is very aware of what stemmed the reaction. Firm that she would never endanger another living creature for the sake of fashion, she tells us in detail how the fish – her own pets btw! – were treated with care and respect during the show. The water temperature was kept just right, the PH levels were correct. She even made sure the bags weren’t cleaned with harmful products before the show. Not quite the Cruella de Vil basically. Nevertheless, she does like Disney. Fantasia comes to mind when telling us about one of her biggest inspirations in her work and life – her grandmother, or nanny G as she calls her. Her nan used to tell Cassandra and her sister stories of seaside beauty pageants. It seemed so real to them and it reminded her of the film. When we ask Cassandra to share one of those stories, we hear about a character called Tangly Tim – a creature that would hide in trees and pour honey into the hair of passing people. “She used to tell these stories with such enthusiasm and attention to detail you could almost see the story happening as she told it. Her creative mind is what I found so inspiring at a young age,” she speaks of her grandmother, explaining how she could always – and still can – be herself around her nan. She has no access to photographs of her nan in China but she did send us this beautiful video of a beauty pageant her nan took part of. Her name is Brenda Thomas. You can see how sea is a continuing theme in Cassandra’s life. She saw the 1949 film Neptune’s Daughter a year before starting her final connection and felt an immediate connection. Using it as inspiration was only natural. Allowing things happen on their own is fundamental to her. She says about her work it’s important not to force the process and it makes sense. However inconsiderate it may be, creativity is hardly a nine to fine kinda thing. Whether it’s incorporating day-to-day happenings into her design process or looking at old memories or experiences for inspiration, her work reflects on her life and in that sense is constantly in development. Working in a creative field isn’t only about creativity though. Like its unlikely to find good advice in a writing class on how to do taxes as a freelancer, crucial elements about setting up one’s own label are left out from a taught degree in fashion. Keen to learn, Cassandra did a placement year to find out for herself. Whether it’s pulling 14 hour days just before fashion week or constant coffee rounds for the boss, we’ve all heard intern horror tales. Luckily for her, Cassandra managed to spare herself of the dread by going with smaller labels. She explains she got to know the designers and worked with them closely as the designs developed. “You get an amazing insight into the real world of fashion. The ups, the downs, the struggles,” she says. If anything, she wishes she could have interned longer. Now done with interning Cassandra is in China. She fills us in on her work with Santoni knitting machinery and how the collection will recognise the importance of circular knits in sports-inspired fashion. Working on the machinery itself was a chance for Cassandra she couldn’t let slip. Her graduate collection was done using a domestic machine which means going from Neptune’s Daughter to ready-to-wear without loss of detail or quality could be tricky. With enthusiasm she speaks of how working with Santoni is such a great opportunity to help her figure out how to manufacture CVG in the longer run, as well as fundamental to understanding the future of knitwear. Not the most obvious fashion choice, knitwear is certainly an interesting one. Being a very traditional craft it also has limitless options to experiment. Playing with materials, prints, volumes, embellishments and cuts is what Cassandra loves. Materials are a key element to her as they give a chance to work with a huge variety of textures and creating unique structures. Using different techniques and blending them all together, exciting fashion pieces are created. It’s hardly the stuff the average grandmother keeps herself busy with. “You can construct a whole garment from a strand of yarn, which I find really fascinating,” she says, adding the possibilities in knitwear are literally endless. You know, unless you run out of yarn. During her time in China she’s been toying with techniques and fabrics in a creative way to get the most out of the technology – so that her designs are intricate and luxurious while still having the feel of lightheartedness. Fun is a word that rings through many times, it’s what she wants fashion to be like. Her goal is to create an aesthetic that allows the people in her garments to enjoy themselves, be playful. She doesn’t want fashion to be all serious. Neither do we! We’re excited, both for her upcoming work in Shanghai and the collaboration with Miista. Her lust to experiment pushes forward and having her on board for the SS15 collection is a dead giveaway there’s a lot to look forward to. Here’s to Cassandra!   THE UNEXPECTED WITH CASSANDRA VERITY GREEN Futuristic fringing and a fellow goldfish is all you need to enter the design world of Cassandra Verity Green. The Hampstead Heath designer, made a splash in the fashion world with her outlandish graduate collection from the prestigious Central Saint Martins. With such a vibrant ‘hello’ to the fashion world, this designer has accomplished so much already. Interning for London designer Nasir Mazhar, her pieces have been featured in i-D magazine, Dazed and Confused, Vogue.co.uk and Grazia. Not only are stores in Japan already salivating at the idea of stocking her knitwear fantastic pieces but has gained raving reviews from blogger Susie Bubble who said Cassandra “expertly crafted knitwear collection made out of pastel beading and moss-esque mohair". It’s this kind of admiration from fashionistas and attention to detail when creating her designs, that got the emerging designer featured in Lady Gaga’s Artpop promo picture. Where the pop star and emerging designer supporter Gaga wore her Cassandra’s C.V.G suede platform sandals featured in her graduate collection. Her graduate collection “Neptune’s Daughter” is quite the visual adventure and takes a rather nostalgic inspiration. With her grandmother being the muse behind Cassandra’s pieces, her nan was a 1950s beauty queen and style icon. The collection’s title takes reference to a classic 1950’s film about a swimsuit designer in a romantic comedy, the movie features gorgeous swimwear, which you can see in the swim caps she put down the runway. Cassandra creates a aquatic dreamscape and deterred away from the standard minimalist black, by welcoming greens, whites, pinks all tied into white. When speaking to Kids of Dada writer Morgan Meaker about her collection she explained her emotions on the color black “it’s been done so much” and how she “always loved anything to do with water” which lead way to her current vision. (Read the full Kids of Dada article here) Although her label did start with a splash of controversy with the RSPCA who questioned her use of Goldfish in her runway show. Saying that the young budding designer saw the fish as “replaceable ornaments” and though they understood people needed to stand out with their graduate collections the stunt was unnecessary. But what they assumed wasn’t the truth as Cassandra used her own pet goldfish, which were very well looked after and returned home safe and sound. Revealing in an interview with District MTV her deep love for her pet goldfish. Her design work primarily focuses on the beauty of knitwear that has landed her such a highly regarded reputation in the fashion industry due to her love for the traditional art. In the new year of 2014 Cassandra has been in collaboration with Santoni in Shanghai where her work will be showcased at the Spinexpo, who specialize in showcasing knitwear. When talking to XXYmagazine about Santoni she expressed how she would keep her originality “I have inspiration points that I will be working with, but as this is such an amazing and eye-opening learning experience I don’t want to pigeonhole myself too much. Obviously, I will stay true to my style and aesthetic, but this experience will really help me understand the commercial world of knitwear.” (Read the full XXYmagazine interview here) With a rumored release of an accessories line to launch after her Shanghai stint, make sure to keep your eye on her work via her website.    
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  • Sunday, January 26, 2014

    Breaking the boundaries at SPINEXPO Shanghai

    The 23rd session of SPINEXPO Shanghai promises visitors to ‘expect the unexpected’ this season at the international textile exhibition for yarns, fibres, knitwear, knitted fabrics, creative trend developments, and innovative textile machinery. The theme of the show is Breaking the Boundaries, offering a fresh take on colours, yarns, knitwear, and knitted fabrics for Spring/Summer 2015. With around 190 exhibitors currently registered, an increase of 12% over a year ago, the show highlights the most creative spinners and knitters from Europe as well as Asia, including yarns for flat and circular knitting, hand-knitting, and functional textiles. The Main Trend Area, under the direction of the show’s creative director Sophie Steller, reflects SPINEXPO’s expression of colour, trends and fabric directions of the season. The garments and knitted fabrics on display will illustrate the technological advances made possible by today’s intelligent equipment from companies such as Shima Seiki and Santoni. New concepts include a pop-up Cashmere Boutique, which will introduce innovative interpretations of extra-fine cashmere for spring, developed by knitwear designers Sophie Steller, Paula Cheng, Laura McPherson, Alexandre Miel, Steven Oo, Claire Wong, and knitwear students from London’s Royal College of Art. Fine-gauge knitting and embellishment for the capsule collections will be realized by exhibitors from the show’s Knitwear Pavilion. The Flow—Jersey@SPINEXPO presents a glimpse of creative knitted fabrics utilizing yarns from exhibiting spinners and designed by A. Miel using various techniques. A collection developed by knitwear designer Cassandra Verity Green on Santoni knitting machinery will acknowledge the importance of circular knits for today’s sport-inspired mode; and garments from the winners of the prestigious Huafu Cup will also be on display. In a continuing partnership with Nottingham Trent University, an exhibit dedicated to Intelligent Textiles will share some of the ground breaking developments by the university’s Advanced Textiles Research Group. NTU’s Art and Design Postgraduate Expo will showcase some of the work of postgraduate students from the Fashion, Knitwear and Textile Design courses. “You don’t attend an event just because it is a good idea,” says SPINEXPO’s director Karine Van Tassel. “Today the mood is ‘selection,’ targeting exhibitions that represent the image of the exhibiting companies.” “An exhibition then becomes a place of discovery: discovery of trends, discovery of information, discovery of last minute products, discovery of unknown companies which make the difference.”
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  • Wednesday, January 22, 2014

    JERSEY WORLD: SANTONI'S MECMOR AND SM-DJ2T

    Man’s wear A look with focus on particular suits and coats which gives a full display of the power of Santoni circular knitting machines.  The outfit is completed by a big knitted scarf and ankle socks of the same color. Woman’s wear The bird’s eye jacquard knitted garments are produced with the Santoni MECMOR machine.  Thanks to the MECMOR machine the knitted tie is produced and studied in every detail, in order to avoid double-knitted stitch thickness, the garment is produced with a mosaic silk pattern.  This look is suitable for a casual occasion but at the same time is elegant and with particular details all carefully realized with Santoni MECMOR machine. Woman’s wear (left) The bird’s eye rib jacquard knitted fabrics and the neckline are produced with a flat knitting machine.  The printed silk shirt and the matching wool sweater are at the same time elegant and extravagant.  The socks are manufactured using Santoni circular knitting machine for the production of socks. Woman’s wear (right) Santoni MECMOR circular knitting machine for bird’s eye jacquard knitted garments represents the Chinese philosophical view of the heaven, it allows very few cuts and it is the solution for saving time during the production.  The use of printed silk and bias-cut technique for the lining facilitates garment details that require extra elasticity and flexibility. Women’s wear (right) The body is knitted by 16 needle SM-DJ2T machine, the diameter of the body has the same size of the waistline. There is a split in the front part of the garment under the waistline so that the fabric is loose enough and more confortable.  The use of the jacquard and the process of milling the wool improve the thickness, the strength and the texture of the fabric.  For the neckline and the cuff it is used the same technique which is used for the ribbon of the Chinese “qipao”.  The pants in bird’s eye jacquard fabric are produced with the 16 needle MECMOR machine.    
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  • Friday, January 17, 2014

    Seamless sports bra focus for Santoni at ISPO

    Leading Italian producer of seamless knitting machinery Santoni will be participating in this month’s ISPO Winter 2014 trade fair from 26-29 January, exhibiting in Hall B3, Booth 535. Santoni says the show offers a great opportunity to show some of the high performance sports garments that can be produced with Santoni Seamless machines, especially the new generation of one piece seamless sport bras which have been knitted with eco-friendly and/or bacterio-static yarns. According to Santoni, the range includes innovative sport bras for seamlessly better comfort and control especially for larger breasted woman. The bras are designed to replace the standard moulded bra, whilst providing perfect lift and support. “The bras have been created using our innovative and brand new TL technology and production process. The bras offer ergonomic fit, special areas with increased degree of ventilation and no skin irritation thanks to a 3D seamless reinforced construction. They are aimed at all women but especially women with larger breasts as they guarantee higher control, comfort and performance,” explains Santoni’s marketing manager, Patrick Silva. “The one piece seamless bra has different thicknesses and yarn textures as different yarn counts can be used.  We have decided to knit the bras on show with innovative eco-friendly yarns. They have 3D reinforced structures, thanks to the different yarn counts used. The single or unique two layer bra construction gives perfect moisture management for a ‘no skin irritation’ effect and guarantees free movement.” “They have been knitted on our brand new seamless TL technlogy that offers a completely new production process for obtaining almost ready-made apparel. The machine’s reciprocating movement allows the knitting of ‘intarsia’ to produce in a few minutes an almost ready seamless garment with essential seams only. These products, made with an alternative seamless production process, can be promptly put into the commercial distribution channel,” Silva concludes. According to Santoni, as far as the design is concerned, the main advantage is the Intarsia concept that gives the garment an excellent “next to skin “comfort as it avoids the need for seams. Thanks to engineered areas having different yarn elasticity and consequent features it provides an ideal fitting and proper elasticity with no cutting and sewing. Explaining the benefits of 3D knitting in the bra, Patrick Silva adds: “The 3D and placed reinforcement structures mean that the 3D is an engineered area that seamlessly follows the woman's breast providing in this way  a better control, perfect lift and ergonomic body fit. The reinforced structures can be obtained by using different yarn counts in different bra strategic areas. All this for an improved breast control during sports activity.” Thanks to the polypropylene yarns used in the bras, sweat is allowed to be released, keeping the skin dry in conjunction with the special areas with an increased degree of ventilation. The new sustainable and OEKO certified and recycled microfibre Q-Nova by Fulgar provides a silky feel and super softness. Embroidery effects, logos, text and patterns can be applied to any part of the garment.  Santoni’s new TL technology knits a one piece bra directly on the machine, free from uncomfortable seams. The intarsia concept allows waste reduction, with an essential sewing process on the edge of the bra only. The ‘no-waste’ concept, Santoni says, makes this process and product very eco-friendly and the bra guarantees perfect lift and avoids the flattening effects experienced with standard elasticated sports bras.    
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  • Wednesday, November 20, 2013

    Vice provincial governor visited Santoni Booth in Yiwu H&G exhibition

    Vice provincial governor visited Santoni Booth in Yiwu H&G exhibition on Nov. 19th 2013.
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