Recently we were incredibly lucky to receive a visit once again from the extraordinarily talented Katie Jones, whose first collection with British Fashion Council company Estethica came out this Fashion Week. She is being mentored by them as an ethical designer. This means being gifted studio space and mentorship, something very valuable to a new designer. Her collection consists of up-cycled traditional Aran jumpers and leather skirts, using amazing brights, embroidery, inserts and crochet trims to repurpose these old fashioned and slightly outdated garments into something exciting and new. It’s not just her repurposing of old garments that makes her work sustainable, she sources end rolls of yarn, off cuts and reclaimed yarns from various places to keep her work ethical. This way of working was borne from practicality whilst she studied Knitwear BA, then MA at Central Saint Martins. Like all Fashion students, finding the money to make her collections was often a challenge. This taught her the value of networking, and asking for better deals wherever she can find them.
Katie Jones started her brand K2TOG in February, and she already has an international market. Apparently Japanese buyers love her work, with each piece being similar enough to fit into a collection whilst remaining individually unique. I really enjoyed looking at her design work too, as drafting my knit design ideas can be more challenging for me than non-knitted designs. It’s given me a lot of ideas for mood boards too, as she embraces a visual timeline type look, something which would fit well into any portfolio.
Katie acknowledges that there are aspects of her work which aren’t sustainable, for example she often doesn’t know the entire supply chain of her yarns. This is difficult enough when buying retail or wholesale, but buying reclaimed or second-hand it’s almost impossible. She also mentioned the environmental impact of the way some of her yarns may be produced (dye processes etc.), but in a way, being aware of those impacts is equally important. Ultimately, K2TOG clothing is produced in a way that is comparatively very sustainable, without having to compromise on its (excellent IMO) design aesthetics.
All Photographs are of Katie Jones’ Work, taken by me with her permission. Please do not reproduce.