RTD2015 33 Re-knitting: exploring openness through design
This paper profiles a doctoral research project that investigated the idea of openness within fashion in order to understand the relationships between amateur fashion making, well-being and sustainability. The research was conducted through my practice as a designer-maker of knitwear.
The primary design activity involved the development of methods of ‘opening’ and re-knitting existing garments. This activity provided a practical platform through which I was able to explore openness at two, increasingly abstract, levels: first, opening my design practice to share design skills with amateur knitters; and second, opening fashion through amateur making. At the conference I will show a sample garment featuring five different re-knitting ‘treatments’, which I produced while working with the research participants.
The research produced an extensive re-knitting resource, and a nuanced understanding of the lived experience of wearing homemade clothes in contemporary British culture. Furthermore, the study generated transferable knowledge relating to the reworking of existing items and ways in which this can be supported; the abilities of amateurs to design for themselves and the conditions which encourage this activity; and the changes in practice and identity which take place as we shift between the roles of designer-maker and meta-designer- maker.