>> I'm currently in Trieste in Italy judging the 11th edition of the International Talent Scout ITS competition for fashion students, with cash prizes of up to EUR25,000 up for grabs. Therefore apologies if the blog is a) a bit scant today and b) very student-centric. It's been a goldrush of talent in the fashion student graduate area at the moment, particularly from the schools in the UK (no patriotic bias there, just based on pure observation). Despite the flood of new names that are getting onto the blog, I'd hate to be one of those people that writes about a student and then forgets about their future endeavours. Therefore it was good to hear from Xiao Li, a London College of Fashion BA graduate I wrote about, whose tin toy inspired collection made it to the Chinese equivalent of Project Runway. And it was actually good. Surprise surprise.
Xiao Li is currently studying her MA at the esteemed Royal College of London and is focusing on progressive knitwear. She's just picked up an award at Pitti Filati's Feel the Yarn competition. Feel the Yarn is an independent initiative to encourage students to come to Italy for an intensive training programme about what Italian knitwear can offer. It's also a useful website about the world of technically advanced yarns and knitwear. Xiao Li impressed the judges with her particular technique of moulding knitted fabrics with silicone and creating a texture contrast that I think looks like it could be developed into something quite progressive.
In addition to the use of silicone, she has also used a recycled denim yarn produced by Pinori that makes use of old jeans and processes them up to create a knitting yarn. She then made moulds for these knitted recycled denim fabrics and appied silicone to the mould, creating a whole new piece of fabric that has a rubberised texture to them. She then combined these silicone coated fabrics with other knits to create two neon statement knits that are definitely a promising starting point to what Xiao Li can do in her graduating MA collection. As a surface texture, it also gives knitwear a rigid and solid feeling, as opposed to the slouchiness that we often associate with knitwear. To use some lingo from my generation – it's #thisisnextlevelshit.