Gonna Get Yourself Connected

I had an evil moment during Graduate Fashion Week.  I had a moment where I thought "Aha!  I will make a cash cow of you yet!".  This is me…Susie Bubble… preying on young innocent graduates and their bright ideas!  Woe upon Cari Marsden who left her card at my GFW booth.  Little did she know that I would be checking out her collection/project and think "Wooooah….ker-ching!"

Cari is a graduate of the University of Leeds and for her final collection 'Utopia Connects', she was inspired by a combination of the architecture of R. Buckminster Fuller, Barbara Hepworth, artist Maurizio Anzeri and spirographs to explore the idea of creating lines in garments with traditional macrame techniques.  All very well…




Cari used strips of jersey that curled in on itself to macrame through netted mesh to create her designs.  You can tell that once Cari started knotting and stretching, the lines on her designs got more and more complex, so much so that sketches almost become irrelevant as you start draping strips of jersey across the form…




I especially love how the jersey is worked into the mesh here so that the holes in the mesh are used to their full advantage…



It's from this slightly simpler design where grommets and strips of cut-up jersey threaded through that the ker-ching/a-ha moment occurs…




From her graduate collection, Cari has taken the idea of 'connections', cut-up strips of jersey to conceive the idea of 'Connects' – a DIY dress kit idea where anyone with next to zero skill.  The whole thing is inspired by that old chestnut, the friendship bracelet.  I have a love-hate relationship with these deceptive acoutrements.  One the one hand, I LOVED making them.  I loved trying to better myself in making ever-more complicated designs and coming up with different colour combos for my bracelets.  Sadly I loathed the significance imbued in themm.  "Oh you made her a bracelet… why didn't you make ME one?"  Cue huffing and puffing and eventually crying from then-8 year old best friend.  Crying in the playground.  Bane of my life. 



Still… the sentiment is clear.  Girls plaiting each other's hair, doing each other's nails, exchanging bracelets, forming clubs and societies together, throwing BFF around and making secret oaths to stand by one another forever and ever and ever… gives a pretty strong basis for Cari to come up with her DIY idea…


So what is this DIY dress kit idea?  From her more complex jersey macrame and mesh designs in her own collection, she has synthesised it down to the core elements of a mesh basic dress, an overlay dress that can be punctured with grommets and jersey threads of all different colours (see above for some symbolic relevance…) to provide peeps with the basic bits and bobs to create her own jersey thread dress… or a friendship bracelet dress if you will were you to start getting knot/macrame happy…


The idea is that the grommets come in a kit as well so you can punch the grommets where you want in the overlay dress so you can control where your jersey threads knot through and how they fall…


This is the basic mesh underlay and white overlay dress that comes in the kit…



Cari also thought about adding beads and other bits of embellishment to the kits so that you can have even more customisation options…


If you're scratching your head thinking what sort of thing can be created with some jersey strips, some grommets and zero sewing… here are a few sketches to start you off…


I'm already thinking how much fun it would be looping and threading through the bunches of strips, especially when you combine colours and maybe even do it whilst the dress is on someone else.  Unlike dropping a stitch when knitting and making ghastly holes which incur a load of swearing, I can't forsee any real big mistakes being made with these dress projects…



Call me an old fashioned child who enjoys a get-stuck-in type of craft project, but if properly packaged and properly assembled, I can see these kits flying off the shelves of say Topshop/Urban Outfitters.  Maybe a QVC-style live demonstration could be done in-store?  Maybe there could be stores supplying different coloured jersey threads on giant spools?  Maybe there could be an accompanying YouTube channel?  Maybe the jersey threads can go on more than just dresses – could be tops, trousers, skirts too…?  Gah… there's an endless possibility of thread-to-thread money-spinning thought here and it's torturing me because alas, the idea is not my own.  Apologies Cari.  I may have thought 'Ker-ching!" when I saw you but I'm not about to go and nick your idea and be sued to smithereens.  Get a patent.  Go on Dragon's Den.  Let's see this on the shelves, yarsh?

32 Replies to “Gonna Get Yourself Connected”

  1. I am so amazed that is such a great idea!! I definitely hear that kerrr-ching-ing over here. I’d buy one pronto!

  2. The friendship bracelet page almost killed me. overexposure to pure awesomeness! I am going to go dig out my childhood craft book, get me some yarn and start weaving! Totally inspired!!

  3. I have a sewing machine that is languishing dustfully away and makes me feel oh so guilty. These, on the other hand, look easy enough for my simple mind.
    Also wooaaaah I am so late to this, but you’re in VOGUE!!!!!! Time to amend the ‘fashion-outsider’ status Susie, methinks. xxx

  4. Yes, yes, yes! I would definitely buy one! They’d make fantastic gifts as well.
    Oh gosh I sound absolutely terrible, because obviously a LOT of thought and effort has gone into these, and here I am talking about how they’d make nice prezzies! But seriously, this girl is ultra-talented.

  5. Wow,that looks super complex,i dont think i would ever be able to do something like that.And besides,im not exactly the worlds most creative person,more like “worlds biggest couch potato”,so i would be ultra-useless at this.I can tell you know,no hope.cool idea though :).Ox

  6. Moi: You’re right, a patent is a stretch…though I think there is some sort of copyright you can take out on ‘an idea’… for instance, if the combination of jersey threads, mesh and grommets has not been marketed before as a kit…? Any lawyers around here to help me out and Cari too?

  7. i’ve lurked on your blog for years now susie bubble but now i am compelled to comment. i LOVE this idea. completely brilliant. i’d buy one right now. if she just set up a domain name and an e-check out she could sell thousands of these online without need for a third party retailer. the blogs would go mad. darling designer, get yourself a patent and get yourself rich!! lovely!

  8. OMG this is amazing, I seriously hope it goes into production, I could have hours of fun with this! I love the organic way she created this technique too, you can really see how the idea developed through her books. I myself tried and failed to start a friendship bracelet empire at age 8; let’s hope that Cari’s endeavours are more successful.

  9. I would definitely buy the kit if it was available to buy, such an original and creative idea! She’s picked a great time to be creating such a concept; in the midst of Mark Fast’s knitwear and macrame collections, crafty crochet, knitting, weaving etc is becoming more commercially coveted. Like Susie says, this means ‘Ker-ching’.

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