London-based design studio KNYTTAN has developed a system to let shoppers design their own unique woollen sweaters and scarves. The team hopes to give the traditionally tacky Christmas sweater a sartorial boost. Matthew Stock reports.
The much maligned Christmas jumper is receiving a digital makeover at this London design studio.....KNYTTAN is allowing shoppers to create their very own bespoke pullover. After logging on to KNYTTAN's website, users choose from templates created by one of several artists. They can then manipulate the designs; twisting and contorting the shapes, colours and patterns into something unique. The design is then fed into an industrial knitting machine which immediately knits the design. Ben Alun-Jones, KNYTTAN co-founder, says the knitting machine has a basic level of software code which was largely forgotten over the years. (SOUNDBITE) (English) BEN ALUN-JONES, CO-FOUNDER OF KNYTTAN, SAYING: "For us to actually do this project we had to go back to this low level of the machine code and reverse engineer the whole way in which the software for these machines work... The things that you're seeing on the website now, they're actually completely bespoke tools to actually enable customers to be involved in the design process; and there hasn't really been many things like that - particularly in fashion." KNYTTAN's Kirsty Emery sees a growing trend for customised, one-of-a-kind items. (SOUNDBITE) (English) KIRSTY EMERY, CO-FOUNDER OF KNYTTAN, SAYING: "If you look anywhere on the high street or any of the big fashion houses everyone's doing something and trying to find a new way. Whether it's doing embroided initials onto something or if it's just choosing the colour; it's such a huge trend that's just popping up all over the place and I can only see it getting bigger." Using luxury Merino wool, the garments don't come cheap. A scarf will set you back 80 pounds, while a jumper costs 200. But the price didn't seem to bother London shoppers. (SOUNDBITE) (English) RACHEL, AMERICAN CITIZEN LIVING IN LONDON, SAYING: "Yeah, definitely would appeal to me. My family, I actually got them all Christmas sweaters this year, but I didn't know about this, so yeah." (SOUNDBITE) (English) MARK, VISITOR TO LONDON FROM LEEDS STANDING WITH HIS WIFE ANGELA, SAYING: "Something like that, like a jumper - something you really love and you would keep for 15 years, if you knew that in advance, I wouldn't mind paying a couple of hundred pounds for that." Launched in time for the festive season, the team at KNYTTAN hopes to finally give fashion-conscious shoppers a Christmas jumper to be proud of.