I get to see some pretty interesting knitting sites from time to time with the web ring that I have for knitting design. I get some submissions that I have to unfortunately tell the person who submitted their site to the ring that their site just doesn’t fit the ring. But holy cow. Johan Ku, a Taiwanese designer, is different. I have to confess I feel somewhat humbled at the submission. This is a fashion site, which is different than the niche we are in. There are some who would argue otherwise, and in some respects while we do have concerns with fashion, as our garments do have to be fashionable and there is some overlap, the markets are different. Ours is more tied to the hobby industry, with specific regards to the needle arts industry.
There is some really interesting high fashion knitting going on here. If you are into runway fashion and want to see some pretty amazing knitting, take a look. It isn’t something you would wear to a football game, or to go to the antique stores on a crisp fall day…but then again, that isn’t what runway fashion is for.
This man is a real designer. This is something I admittedly struggle with, feeling like a real designer. I can only look at my accomplishments in the amount of time I have done them in, and how I conduct myself in my business, as I have no formal training in fashion. I have no formal training in knitting either. I am a self taught knitter and by and large a self taught artist. I have had some formal education, but I have had more learning on my own. My father is a retired teacher, and I have said before that he has said I “don’t know it is supposed to be hard”. I don’t know that I would go that far, I think it is more that I refuse to think about it being hard. I focus on what I want. If I focus on what is hard it is too easy to give up and get discouraged. If I focus on what I want, I make better decisions and reach my goals easier.
If I were to define what a real designer is, I would I suppose point first to the fashion industry, with it’s runways. Art reflects culture besides shapes it, and fashion at that level is art. Perhaps the reason I have trouble thinking of myself as a “real” designer is because of lack of formal training, as well as this niche being part of the hobby industry. I don’t dwell on it, it just pops into my head at unexpected moments like today when I looked at this website and felt like I should be the one joining his web ring, not the other way around. That being said, I design in a very fine art way, and we all have our own insecurities. In this country generally speaking you cannot go to college to be a knitting designer, so it is up to the individual to define and validate in other ways. There are ways to be a professional and the Association of Knitwear Designers, which I am a member of, is working to define what a professional knitting designer is. We are also working to establish standards for knitting designers within our industry. Education is on our list too, but there is only so much time a volunteer force of business women have.
In the end, in my world, I am a real designer. I contribute to my profession, I strive to increase my own skills, and I work hard to build good business relationships…besides the artistic and creative things that I do. Could I make it on the runway? If I had the right training, and was so inclined…
Peace and Knitting, JoLene Treace