Oval Score

Who wudda thunk that shops would be re-ordering jumpers in a spring summer season?  Cue a sexy Marks & Spencer food voice because "This isn't just any old ordinary jumper.  This is a Jonathan Saunders oval knit jumper."  Can you hear the seductive tone oozing out of my voice?  Are you creaming yourself yet?  You might do by the time you've scrolled to the end of this post.  

Net-a-Porter is the stockist biggie who has just re-ordered this special Saunders jumper because people can't seem to get enough of his waffly knits in pastel hues.  Holli Rogers, NAP's fashion director explains why.  "Jonathan Saunders has a loyal customer base who go to him season-on-season for his beautiful silk prints and clever use of color. For spring summer his collection was a confection of candy and fit perfectly with the mood of the season. These minimalistic waffle knit sweaters in jade and blush felt really fresh. Coupled with a fantastic price point, we knew our customers would absolutely love them. Giving a subtle nod to the pastel trend, the sweaters are easy to wear and a go with everything staple.  Also, with novelty knits a key trend for fall, they are a great transition piece that will see you through to next season."  

Rogers is spot on about the loyal customer base as in the last couple of seasons, I've seen Jonathan Saunders pop up a lot more physically on the streets.  Easy to grab components such as Saunders' knitwear and his jersey line have been important to this consumer spike.  A/W 11 was the season where Saunders was properly able to explore knitwear having found the right manufacturer.  Then it was just a case of developing distinctive textures such as S/S 12's oval knit, and last season's A/W 11-2 herringbone knit and incorporating them into the narrative of his collections.  I spoke to the man himself about how he has segued into knitwear as a designer who is primarily focused in print.    

"All of these textures are an extension of the print process. I love making things anyway. Knit adds another texture to the collection. It allows me to play with combinations of a colour in a way that doesn't necessarily work with a print design. There is always an element of surprise when designing knitwear, the graphic design that creates the texture always then transforms into something new once knitted. I think sometimes it's interesting when you are not trained within a field. I think we approach the technique in a different way and that's perhaps why the simplicity of our knits have worked."

The oval knit comes in colour ways of sherbet orange, mint green, white flecked with peach and green and a royal and navy blue flecked with grey and it is precisely these colour compositions of two or three yarns in the pattern that aligns with the way Saunders composes his prints.  Rather than being the sideline act in his collections, his knitwear can play a starring role.  "Knitwear will always be an integral part of the collections, both mens and womenswear, because it captures the sense of easiness that I believe the direction of our brand should go in. The notion of throwing something on and the importance of separates and daywear is core to what we do."  

Saunders has hit the nail on the head with that last sentence and we can pin point his commercial success to that.  His recent collections have built a solid range of pieces that are both directional and approachable at the same time, with this humble oval knit jumper being the gold star example.  When asked how Saunders feels about seeing people physically wearing his clothing, he says "I think it's the greatest accolade for a designer to see people wearing their clothes, and it‚Äôs a testament to how hard our team have worked. It's obviously a challenge for an independent brand to expand our ranges in order to take us to the next level. To translate ideas into something that is accessible to a consumer without compromising creativity. We don't get it right all the time, but we try! I think it‚Äôs also very refreshing that a lot of my peers at the moment in London are doing a great job of proving that British design can be innovative and commercial at the same time!"





(Worn with 10 Crosby Derek Lam trousers)




(Worn with vintage shirt and Miu Miu skirt)





(Worn with Current/Elliott jeans)


ASOS, Matches and Harvey Nichols also stock Jonathan Saunders knitwear.

30 Replies to “Oval Score”

  1. I’d look like a stuffed chorizo in the peak of winter, but they’re sososo pretty. I’d deffo get one (or a hundred) to wear in those cold nights!
    Enter my 100 followers giveaway!

  2. When I was little my mother knitted sweaters with a point, a texture similar to small rolls, two points up, two down and then the opposite, and now I remember, okay. My blog can be visited, would be an idea, one ana kiss.

  3. Oh … MY. Not familiar with M&S adverts, just listened to one and WOW. That SEDUCTIVE voice. I feel like fanning myself, all the better to try and cool my desire for M&S Christmas food.
    Now if only it were a truly hot MALE voice. I might need a lie down.

  4. Ah Pippa, you’ve hit upon an issue that I’ve just been thinking about.
    It is true that I loves me a detail shot and the reason being is that I’d like people to appreciate the way things are made and how they look up close and in some way that is a justification for the price. In this case, it’s the beautiful oval knit pattern that Saunders has really made his own. It’s also a different way of looking at product when there is a mind numbing amount of catwalk imagery out there.
    That said, this does have repercussions and yes, there is the possibility that people will take these images and use them in a ruthless dishonourable way. Although, with Style.com and American Vogue.com detail shots, they’re also big enough that you zoom right into the details too. Also, what is to stop supplier head honchos and high street design teams to go into stores and physically look at the product itself. This is s/s 12 stock so they can well do that.
    Perhaps then there’s a solution in that if I should do detail shots of product, it should be within season and not too far in advance, say A/W 12-3 product. I’m still trying to work it out.
    It is an issue that i’m aware of and thinking about how to rectify without compromising why I like doing detail shots in the first place.

  5. I wouldn’t worry about encouraging copies. Anyone with the time or inclination to copy one of those jumpers is probably locked up in a mental hospital anyway so said copies will never be available for public consumption.

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