Dover Street Market, Survival of the Fashionest Installation

COZY KNITS: Dover Street Market is gearing up for fall and has collaborated with designer Joost Jansen on an installation, which launched Friday, celebrating Jansen’s love of knitwear.

Jansen, who has worked with the likes of Walter van Beirendonck and Henrik Vibskov, launched his own brand Survival of the Fashionest in 2017. The name pokes fun at the industry yet it also reflects the core values of his brand, “In a way it stands for me fighting to do something different, I want to use good materials, traditional techniques and keep craftsmanship alive,” Jansen said.

For his debut collection, Jansen worked alongside 250 grandmothers in Bulgaria to incorporate hand-knitting techniques with a modern twist. “I use a lot of color and for me it’s important to show all the details of the craftsmanship and bring awareness to it,” he said.

The installation demonstrates these techniques and Jansen’s knitwear, which takes up to three weeks to make, is pressed between two plastic sheets. These sheets are then suspended from hanging bars encouraging customers to rotate the display to view the knitwear from all angles.

“Pictures of clothes are mostly taken from the front, so we came up with this idea of having it turn so we could show the front and the back,” he said. Behind the turning pieces, the wall is plastered with portraits of Jansen’s friends and family wearing his designs, “to show that my knitwear is for everyone, men and women, young and old.”

The knitwear is made using traditional heritage techniques from Bulgaria as well as materials from old spinning mills in Ireland. There are abstract and geometric designs on some, while others feature woven flower motifs, which begins retailing at 380 pounds.

“I think for me the most interesting thing is to have the clash between old and new. I used to work a lot with Dover Street Market when I was a salesperson for designers, I have a special connection with them and coming back here as a product designer is really special,” Jansen said.

Survival of the Fashionest is stocked in 12 stores around the world and Jansen aims to grow this to 30 stores in the next few years. “It’s still very important that everything goes through my own hand and I never sacrifice quality for quantity. I want to still be able to fold everything the way I want,” he added.