The students from the School of Design at the Royal College of Art in London recently showcased some of their current developments during the Work in Progress show, which took place at the Kensington Campus. The College has two separate knit courses: knitted textiles, a specialism of the Textiles MA, and knitwear, part of the Fashion MA. Traditionally, the knitted textiles students would develop fabrics for either fashion or interiors, whilst the knitwear students would focus on shapes and silhouettes rather than stitch structures.
Some of the students at the Royal College don’t come from a traditional knit background, and because of this their vision of what knitwear should be about is very fresh, innovative, fearless and not constrained by some of those boundaries that most very experienced people in this field have.
Textile student Xingchen Lu was inspired by Marina Abramović and Ulay’s performance The Other: Rest Energy. In this piece, the forces of gravity pull away the two lovers, but at the same time they are kept together by holding onto a bow and arrow. The delicate equilibrium of this posture, the dangerous yet perfect tension that keeps the two artists together were the initial point of Xingchen’s exploration: the designer started to observe how a similar notion of tension and release is also present in nature and everyday things, such as the squeezing and bursting of glaciers and volcanoes.
Xingchen then applied the same forces to her knitted fabrics to explore their behaviour. The changes naturally formed in the fabrics were later applied to the garment silhouettes, creating shapes in an organic manner, without any pattern cutting. This includes changes between soft and hard materials, and the density and wrinkly textures of knitted jacquard patterns.