Friday, March 23, 2007

wrap manifesto

about 2 years ago in a yarn shop i saw a hand-knitted garment that was essentially a long rectangle with sleeves. this was a concept that had already been bouncing around in my head for several years, as i have always loved the idea of wraps and shawls but disliked the way one needs to hold onto them to keep them on. as frequently happens with ideas i carry around in my head for years (of which there are dozens, i assure you!) i eventually bump into it as the collective conscience comes around... anyway, the hand-knitted piece was gorgeous and my first thought was that i should crochet one myself. but then i realized that it was quite a lot of fabric, about 2 yards by 30" or so, plus the sleeves, so i decided it would be much more practical as a cut-and-sew piece. thus the orange wool jersey wrap you see above (modelled by the lovely erika) was born as part of my fall 05 collection.
fast forward ahead one year to fall 06, i still thought the concept had great potential though i had let it languish for so long... so i decided it could be my big item for the holiday sales i'd be doing in december. i finally made one for myself to wear and discovered that it's about the COZIEST (pssst: foreshadowing!) thing you could ever wear, and so much fun to play with! it can be a scarf, cardigan, shirt or shawl, and looks great no matter what you do. amazing! every time i wear mine, people ask me about it.

meanwhile... in november i got an invite from liz collins, the most ingenious knitwear designer i know, that her RISD students were having a show at the DKNY store reinterpreting the 'cozy'. this sounded like fun to me so i went, and searched the store high and low for toasters, teapots and ipods covered in funny little sweaters. couldn't find them! i would have thought it was the wrong night except for the champagne and waiters with trays of hors d'oeuvres. then i saw an intriguing group of knitted pieces hanging from the ceiling... i went closer to inspect and quickly realized that they were obviously the students' work, and that COZY is what DKNY calls my beloved wrap with sleeves! apparently, and completely unbeknownst to me, it has been their hugest-selling item for several years!

i was a little taken aback by all this, but in the end decided that i should still make them since i had come to the idea organically. so i made up a big (for me, anyway) batch of them, meaning i had about 6 at each sale, and lo and behold, i sold out of them both times! not only that, but i got 2 e-mails afterwards to order them! i've never had an item fly like this. weird... for spring i'll be making lighter-weight versions in cotton, with shorter, wider sleeves. i have a lot of ideas for playing around with ruffles, even-wider kimono sleeves, and printing and dyeing them.


alicia said...

thanks for the comment! my parents backyard is wonderful, it is begging for a yummy garden...
i just adore your wrap sweater and i can not wait to see what you do with ruffles and color. so good!

michelle said...

That sweater is a killer idea, I have one that I got in Atlanta a few years ago that looks just like that, and I use it all the time, but I promise it will not be as nice as yours, and it would be so cool printed on or embeleshed in some way.... In design school we were always told, everything in the world has already been done, you just do it again with your own interpretation, so your wraps will be so cute and unique b/c they are made by you! Can't wait to see more :)

cristina said...

Hey Cal! This is Cristina from upstate!I am so happy to have found your blog-it is so cute*! Not to mention I adore this cozy wrap idea!! I wish i had's the sort of thing i would use everyday!love to you*
-P.S.Ulysses is trying to learn to crochet these days.

*Emy said...

I have been visiting your blog in the last couple weeks and have to say that it doensn't disapoint! It is so inspiring! I live in San Francisco and the whether here is very trepemental, one moment its warm and breezy the next cold and windy. Your sweater would be a great fashionable weapon against our weather.


little lovelies said...

oh my. I would love to have one of those myself!