images / ℅ Hannah Jenkinson
Trapped strands of white yarn between two layers of fusing material grace a transparent jumper. Painstakingly hand-embroidered lace lines the sides of track pants. No, knitting is not just for (k)nitwits. Hannah Jenkinson is a designer who graduated from Parsons in May 2013 by completing her MFA in Fashion Design and Society after which she shortly showed her collection during New York Fashion Week in September 2013. At the moment she continues to develop her craft and works in California. Love-Aesthetics got a chance to speak to the knit enthusiast.
On her website there is a section called ‘Thinking’. It might be something that most people would overlook or simply glance at swiftly. However, it is a lovely piece of musings, wisdom and insights given to you by the designer herself. As if she were to introduce herself and create a form of understanding of her being. “How beliefs motivate, and what that means in society today. How people decide to live. How ones decisions impact on the future. How people reconnect with themselves.” This is an excerpt from the section ‘Thinking’ and it exemplifies her fascination with human kind. She loves to intrigue people by creating garments that make them take a step closer, feel and examine the textures and craftsmanship and finally making them smile. It is then that she realizes that she has done a good job. People that are smart, witty and live their life in their own way are the perfect candidates for her collection.
For her graduation collection, she took inspiration from seemingly polar opposites consisting of Amish, Mennonites, nuns and today’s cultural ‘uniform’ of casual attire: sportswear. She did a lot of initial research into these types of religious groups and was intrigued by the way a certain type of dress could communicate so much about someone’s innermost personal beliefs. Taking contrasting elements and seeing how they can integrate with each other to formulate into something new is a favored approach. “We are associating ourselves with a way of life, and a set of beliefs by wearing what we wear. I thought it was fun to mix up super ‘casual’ with super ‘meaningful’ and see what happened.” The result of her research was translated more into colour and technique – looking at traditional embroidery techniques, and the purity of white.
Even though school gave her a unique time of being able to try out ideas without the pressure of having to make money, and to keep a studio or business running. It also made her realize how much more she has to express. The continuation of learning her craft is something that she looks forward to continue for the years to come. By means of technology and opportunity she develops her knitwear designs. As for us, we are eager to see the developments of her visions as the best of knit is yet to come.