Deconstructing Knitwear into New Designs

What’s old can be cut up, re-stitched, and combined with other garments to create complex, fascinating designs – in other words, made new again. Students in Fashion Design Professor Tom Scott’s Intro to Knitwear class (FD357) were assigned to upcycle sweaters donated by C2/Contempo Group, a global sourcing and product development agency.

“Every year, we ask the students to create original designs in knitwear using garments that they typically find in thrift or vintage stores, or recycle from friends and family,” said Prof. Scott. “They cut and disassemble the found pieces to design new garments, playing with shape, stitch, and construction in creative and thoughtful ways.”

Fiona Geraghty’s Cable Crewneck, a “vertiginous mash-up”

Students unravel and re-use the yarn and patch different elements together throughout the semester. “It’s exciting to see their work and the complexity of each garment develop as they create them,” Prof. Scott said.

“Last summer, we received a large sweater donation from C2. There were so many sweaters. I let each student select a few pieces to incorporate into their designs.”

Scott described what happens as students deconstruct garments and reconfigure them:

Fiona Geraghty’s piece is “a fabulous and almost vertiginous mash-up of fabric, colors, and hand embroidery techniques,” said Prof. Scott. “She experimented and pushed the boundaries with very complex and clever construction.”

Fiona Geraghty’s crewneck sweater

Gabriela Woellner experimented by draping sweaters to create an organic 3D effect, even unravelling sweater fiber back into the yarn to create a fringe detail, said Prof. Scott. “It is ingenious and playful.”

Gabriela Woellner’s Crewneck with fringe detail
Gabriela Woellner’s crewneck sweater

Karen Lam has a unique, almost “scientific” precision in her approach, said Prof. Scott. “She very thoughtfully developed the cool shape shown, in patchworked cabled sweaters…wearable and very modern.”

Karen Lam’s patchworked cable crewneck sweater.
Karen Lam’s cable crewneck sweater

Rose Lakhi created a clean and modern patchwork silhouette, “really thinking about finishing in a fresh and cool combination of fabrics,” Prof. Scott said.

Rose Lakhi’s “modern patchwork silhouette”
Rose Lakhi’s patchwork sweater

Prof. Scott says he still has many, some in finer gauges, left over from the donated sweaters, and will  offer them to students who are continuing in the Knitwear concentration.”

To learn more about the Knitwear concentration in the School of Art and Design, visit Fashion Design at FIT.