Knitting makes its way into the high-fashion world once again!
Canadian knitwear designer Mark Fast has been around for awhile, and is now becoming a much-heard name in the fashion industry. The London-based designer, who’s gained a cult following for his fitted cobweb-knit designs, has collaborated with Stuart Vevers, Bora Aksu, Christian Louboutin, Swarovski, Topshop, Pinko, Crazy Horse Paris, Woolmark, Lanvin, and Aldo Rise. He is also the winner of loads of prestigious fashion awards. He’s known for his signature skin-tight, holey dresses which he makes for all sizes, from plus-size to maternity.
The thing we love about Mark is that he designs his knits by hand on a domestic knitting machine, forming his pieces onto the body as he knits. He’s devised innovative stitching techniques, blending lycra with the finest luxurious yarns creating new exciting textures.
When Mark was a student at Central St. Martins in London, he discovered a life-changing piece of equipment:
“At Seneca in Toronto, I had studied flat patterning, and thought that this was really it for me,” he says. “But I was walking down Well Street, in Hackney, and I found the most amazing domestic knitting machine at a charity shop. It was about a week before they were going out of business, and I can’t imagine why they would have this massive machine. And you know, I almost didn’t buy it because I didn’t know how to use it. But I just taught myself, and ever since then it is the only machine that I have used.”
With a little luck, a lot of perseverance, and a bit of time, Mark became a bona-fide genius of knits who wields a complex and intricate arsenal of stitches to exalt and enhance the female form. And while his technical skill is far-reaching, his methodology is remarkably singular:
“I always start with the body and the extensions off the body. I get inspired by the severity of stitches as they expand and contrast across the body’s curves, creating an interesting interplay with revealing and concealing elements. I am also inspired by the astounding range of possibilities that the various stitch patterns provide,” he says.
“There’s so much fast fashion out there. I want to create pieces that are different from everything else, that focus on the craftsmanship. Because I use a mechanical knitting machine, each piece requires a substantial time investment. For me, this slowness is important, because it gives each piece a special quality that cannot be mass-produced. It is to create an elegance that is unique and can survive the test of time. I want to focus on the beauty of the woman’s body, and not layer it with so many unnecessary accoutrements and bulk.”
Here’s to Mark and his uniquely-designed knitted couture!