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25th June 2008, London

Knitwear designer wins RCA's Todd & Duncan Award for Excellence

Norwegian knitwear designer, Siri Johansen, is the winner of this year’s Todd & Duncan Award for Excellence in Fashion and Textiles at the Royal College of Art (RCA) in London. Siri has been studying at the RCA for two years and her first men’s knitwear collection made its catwalk debut at the RCA Graduate Shows in June 2008.

The RCA’s Todd & Duncan Award for Excellence brings together two prestigious brand names that embrace similar values of innovative thinking and pushing the boundaries of what can be achieved at the cutting edge of fashion and textiles. The award is open to all design disciplines across the RCA’s School of Fashion and Textiles. This year 23 students’ collections were short listed and judged by Todd & Duncan’s Managing Director, and Scottish knitwear designer, Lachlan Munro, a former student of the RCA.

“What stands out in Siri’s work is her fantastic grasp of concept, her sophisticated and discerning eye and her sheer professionalism that one would expect in a designer beyond her years,” said Lachlan. “She combines a very thorough approach to research and investigation which translates into highly innovative design experimentation. She pushes the boundaries and overcomes the restrictions that are inherent in menswear to present subtle, yet challenging ideas in a collection that is a celebration of technical and creative ability.

“As part of the criteria for success this year we were looking for a student who demonstrated that they had the passion, resolve and strength to go straight out into the industry and create their own commercial collections. We believe Siri’s innovation and mature approach elevate her into this category.”

Siri took inspiration for her “Up Close” collection from “re-interpreting the beauty and simplicity of everyday items, such as the white T-shirt, the five pocket jean and knitted Arran jumpers.” She plays with the traditional and the familiar through print, pattern and structure and is particularly interested in very traditional details; patterns and specific knitting techniques that have started to slip from view.

Using shape, pattern and gauge of yarn she achieves this ‘reinterpretation’ through investigating ways of mimicking structures of traditional woven fabrics by either knitting or printing them. She also mimics traditional knitting techniques, like cables by knitting them in different ways; such as digital or with right and purl stitches. There is also a hint of camouflage in her work through mixing different garments to create a two-in-one effect.

Todd & Duncan, Europe’s leading cashmere yarn spinner, manufactures on the banks of Lochleven, Kinross, Scotland where it employs around 210 people. It is a world leader in directional colour and product quality. With a heritage stretching back over 140 years, the company exports cashmere yarn on a global basis to the world’s top fashion and couture houses as well as top contemporary designers.

Source: www.todd-duncan.com

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