“If it’s silly to be naïve, then I don’t want to be serious."
Founded in London by Cat Brierley, naïve knitwear is an independent luxury knitwear label recontextualizing ancient craft techniques in contemporary settings through one-off and small runs of concept-driven knitwear.
1. What made you start naïve knitwear?
Working for a fast fashion company straight out of University gave me a very real perspective on how wasteful the fashion industry is. I swiftly moved into freelance work at the earliest available opportunity and began working with second hand materials as a way to explore the slow intentional design that I was craving. This developed into naïve knitwear organically over time, shaped by silliness, sustainability, and the online community I have cultivated.
2. What drew you to knitwear?
The seed of my interest in knitting was planted on my Nan's sofa. She would spend hours trying to teach me basic stocking stitch which I would forget between our weekly visits and have to relearn. This could have been because I was more invested in watching Blind Date instead, but like the true gem she was she persisted anyway.
When I decided to study Fashion Knitwear Design at University my loose interest bloomed into a fully-fledged skill. I was (and still am) drawn to the idea of recontextualising the ancient craft of knitwear in contemporary settings and using it as a vehicle for telling complex stories.
3. How is upcycling or reworking used in your practice?
I primarily use second hand materials in my work. I am a self-confessed charity shop freak and will spend hours sourcing preloved knits to rework or yarn to knit up. There are so many materials that exist already around us, and I always try to use those up before reaching for new stuff.
4. What would be your one idea to transform fashion? Or maybe fix this broken industry, however you see the question!
We need lots of ideas to transform the fashion industry. The systems it is built upon are inherently broken and I choose to operate outside of fashion's expectations of endless new products, inhuman turnarounds, and unfair pay. I believe craftsmanship, common sense, and community are the only way fashion will survive and become the boundary pushing industry it claims to be.
5. What made you want to collaborate with Crisis?
My practice already relies on charity shops to source the majority of materials so when Crisis approached me it was an instant yes. I saw this collaboration as a great opportunity to directly support Crisis by upcycling damaged stock that they otherwise wouldn't be able to sell and produce something silly and beautiful.
“Through naïve knitwear I use ancient craft and second hand materials as a way to explore slow intentional design shaped by silliness, sustainability, and a desire to tell complex stories.”
“Collaborating with Crisis allowed me to directly support an organisation that aligns with my values on fairness, sustainability, and limiting waste. As a self confessed charity shop freak it has been a privilege to have access to their unsellable stock to upcycle.”