Friday 25th July

Keziah Newlove: Mission

Keziah Newlove

Whilst still very young, WMJ has slowly been evolving since its beginnings as a homepage that boldly asked ‘WHAT DO YOU WANT?’ in brightly coloured intarsia, coupled with what now feels like a fairly misguided blog. There was some knitting related content in there, sure, but you’d have easily found a stray holiday snap or an irrelevant rant about sale shopping or Halloween. But what was once a less than thought out personal project and space on the internet has now become a space where we’ve become totally focussed, if not fanatical, about knitwear.

During this time we have been more and more intrigued and impressed by a notably growing bunch of talented fashion and knitwear design students – so much so that we’re beginning to work in support of and in collaboration with a number of knitwear graduates as well as graduates from related disciplines, such as embroiderer Elyse Blackshaw.

The next iteration of WMJ will be hitting your screens in September.

The quality of work we’ve seen has been outstanding. So who’s producing it? We have a list as long as our arm but we’ll introduce you one at a time…

Keziah Newlove, originally from a small village outside St Ives in Cambridgeshire graduated from Bath Spa University this year with a degree in fashion design. She was one a few very privileged and proud students selected to show at the Best of Graduate Fashion Week in London last month.

Unlike many of the students that showed knitwear collections at their graduate shows, Keziah had only been knitting for a year but presented a comprehensive and complete knitwear collection this summer.

At Bath Spa, students aren’t required to choose any specific path and are encouraged to explore any and all areas that interest them. At the end of the second year, the students were given the brief for their final project.

“We were all given a fabric and told to design a couture drape collection in that one fabric and produce as many outfits as possible in the few weeks we had”, explains Keziah. “I got given Boucle, which I did a lot of research on. It was expected that I would come back with a woven tweed-like fabric, however during my research I discovered that Boucle is a type of yarn and I decided that I would try knitting with it. I found it really interesting and grasped it quickly, moving from domestic knitting machines to the industrial Dubied machines and finding myself going home absolutely exhausted, working until I got kicked out, I was really happy and loving every day. 

“When the project finished I decided that I didn’t want to stop knitting and went to Knit-1 and did a 5 week course and as I continued to enjoy it I decided that it was definitely something I wanted to be a significant part of my collection. I didn’t expect then to produce an entirely knitted collection!”

You can see some of the beautiful work Keziah produced at Knit-1 on her blog

Keziah advocates Bath Spa University’s approach to the course and the variety of disciplines and techniques encouraged, “it means that everyone’s work is varied and personal to each individual”. Along with access to great resource, she also misses the collaborative process of working “input from other perspectives is always helpful, you may not have thought of something that someone else does and bouncing ideas off each other is something I will really miss.”

Keziah’s collection, entitled ‘Mission’ was based around the concept of a ‘Modern Missionary’, “I took inspiration from Missionary photographs from around the 1920’s, historical dress patterns, 1920’s sportswear and of course Chanel - one of the reasons I started knitting originally. This lead to the development of my silhouettes and the research continued into looking at photos I had taken during a trip to Ghana I took a few years ago. 

“I used this alongside imagery of African architecture and [the work of] photographers like Seydou Keita who presents his subjects with very western objects often in contrast to traditional African clothing. I wanted to create juxtaposition between the very organic African element of traditional weaving and pattern and put it against something high tech and modern.”

Keziah Newlove

Keziah Newlove

It’s really impressive how Keziah has taken knitted surfaces to a barely recognisable point.

“I juxtaposed modern architecture and its angular structures with this organic element which lead into two knitting techniques. Weaving different textured yarns individually to create a tactile surface that was in complete contrast to a developed knitted surface that could be used like a fabric, with a bonded surface that allowed it to be free cut. This was then hand embellished with graphic stitching and silver bugle beading to reflect some of the modern architecture I had been researching.”

Keziah Newlove

Keziah Newlove

Keziah loves the production process and seeing everything coming together and being complete, “making your drawings come to fruition is really satisfying”, she says.

I asked Keziah about her favourite designers – there are many but she’s a long time fan of Louise Gray and her use of colour, pattern and texture, which plays to Keziah’s personal preferences “I have always loved colour and print, if am wearing head to toe dark [clothes], people question if I am ok!”. She also loves Tata Naka and their combination of great print teamed with beautiful silhouettes and cut work.

She has many dream collaborations but above all, she would love to collaborate with someone to introduce the fabric she produced for the Mission collection to a wider audience, perhaps someone who doesn’t normally work with knitted fabrics to give them the opportunity to take it somewhere further.

Keziah Newlove

Keziah is currently looking for work and internship opportunities and will keep knitting, keep learning and keep having fun with her new found passion to see where it takes her!

You can follow Keziah on Twitter and Instagram (kezi2012) and find out more about her work here.

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