TECHIE TEXTILES: Fusing their knowledge of textiles — and technology — the creators behind Knyttan, a software program that allows users to design their own knits, have launched a pop-up for their label, Unmade, in London.
Ben Alun-Jones, Kirsty Emery and Hal Watts, all graduates of London’s Royal College of Arts, want customers to create their own sweaters and scarves on a computer. They can choose from materials such as Woolmark-licensed extra fine merino wool and Italian-spun cashmere in a range of hues.
The prints and graphics have been created by graphic designers, artists and fashion designers including Christopher Raeburn, Studio Moross, Malika Favre and Moniker. They are urging shoppers to manipulate the designs, select colors and create their own unique patterns.
Garments designed online or in the pop-up shop are produced at Unmade’s headquarters at Somerset House in London. A tag is embedded within every item that reveals the manufacturing process including details of which machine created it. Shoppers can have a sweater made within five days and scarves within three.
The pop-up store, at 12 Floral Street, will launch on Nov. 16 and run through December. Situated at the back of the 807-square-foot store is a Stoll CMS 502 HP knitting machine, where shoppers can watch some sweaters or scarves being made. Samples of the Unmade designs are displayed inside a black metal installation and customers can also browse the site on iPads to make their selections.
Luxury tech investors José Neves, the founder and owner of Farfetch.com, and Carmen Busquets, the original investor behind Net-a-porter, have invested in Unmade.
The founding trio debuted their concept at Somerset House in 2014. Through the Woolmark company, they have an ongoing collaboration with Christopher Raeburn on a capsule line of sweaters. Unmade will join the roster of emerging talent at Selfridges in January as part of the Bright Young Things, an annual marketing initiative that promotes up-and-coming designers.
“What we’re trying to do is a new approach to made-to-order,” cofounder Ben Alun-Jones told WWD. “If you don’t want to wait three to six months for something to be made, your local production becomes not only desirable but also more economical as well. So we’re making everything in London, at Somerset House, which is more affordable. We’re also shifting the focus from ‘Buy this now’ to having us involve you in the process and make it more personal. And because everything is made to order, we use the best materials because we’re not making in bulk. And we know if it breaks, it’ll cost us more. So we use the best quality so as not to create unnecessary cost.”
The price range is 60 pounds, or $91, for a scarf to 200 pounds, or $304, for a bi-color sweater.