Winter Warm-Up – Cozy Comforts in Contemporary Craft
(Above: Winter wearable by Charlotte Hess)
We may be having a relatively warm start to the winter, but we know the temperatures will be dipping in coming weeks. What better way to prepare than to give or get some warm and cozy wearables for you or a loved one’s wardrobe? Here are some suggestions for staying warm for the holidays and beyond…
Charlotte’s brand isobel & cleo is a line of women’s sweaters and knits created using vintage hand operated knitting machines. isobel & cleo began in Glasgow, Scotland out of a fervent desire to sustain traditional hand-knitting and hand manipulated machine knitting techniques. Charlotte’s purpose and passion is to preserve traditional handmade craft, increase production of ethical, handmade goods made in the US, and grow her business to the point where she can make a real difference to other small artisanal businesses. Charlotte’s work has been recognized by Elle Magazine, Vogue, and has been worn in TV shows including The Good Wife and The Good Fight.
(Above: Winter outerwear - Toshiki & Maryszka / Elizabeth Holliday)
For four decades, this creative design duo has been designing and making coats and jackets together. From the day they met, they discovered a shared a sense of style and respect for finely constructed clothing. As a young girl, Maryszka’s grandmother came to the US from Poland and made her living by sewing. Maryszka grew up with her mother and four aunts taking her around the mills of New England, teaching her about quality of fabrics. Toshiki grew up in Tokyo, the great-grandson of a metalsmith to the Meiji Emperor, whose work is in the permanent collection of The National Museum of Japan. This respect for craft, and the patience to make things, was passed down to Toshiki.
Elizabeth has always loved creating, and fashion has a special place in her heart, as her mother first taught her to sew when she was a young girl. She begins her designs with a sketch, and then patterns from scratch or by modifying a previous design. Once ready, she creates her final pieces in luxurious fabrics like alpaca, cashmere, Merino wool, and camel hair.
(Above: Cape and fingerless gloves by Elyse Allen)
Elyse makes fine knit accessories by hand, mixing yarns, colors, and patterns, with some sparkle, such as blending cashmere with Swarovski crystals. After 14 years in Manhattan, she moved her studio to a creative artist loft in Santa Fe, New Mexico, the city where she was raised. Elyse studied Sculpture and Textile Design at the Rhode Island School of Design, and also taught and lectured in the Textile Department. Elyse’s work has been featured in a range of publications, including Selvedge, Vice Magazine, Nylon, and the Financial Times.
(Above: Scarves by Julie Simpson / Pamela Whitlock & Richard Davidson)
Talk about cozy! Julie designs and hand-weaves her large plush and warm shawls and other wearables, blending various fiber combinations and creating inventive weave structures and textures. Using primarily sustainable natural fibers, she weaves luxurious textiles that are functional, with an artistic design aesthetic, encompassing elegance, creativity, and fine craftsmanship.
Pamela and Richard make each and every scarf themselves, creating pieces that are both functional, to keep warm, as well as a beautiful adornment to accent outerwear or a comfy sweater. Their focus is on a multi-harness weaving technique called shadow weave, and they use bamboo yarn for its strength and durability, striking visual effect, and its soft nature.
(Above: Outerwearables by Heidi Hess / Sandra Miller)
Heidi creates hand-knits and hand-loomed knitwear collections. With a focus on luxurious comfort, she refers to her line as athluxury with a hint of knit. Coming from a career in the radio industry, including as an on-air personality, Heidi made the transition from music to fashion after a shawl her mom knitted that she wore to the VH1 awards got the attention of Janet Jackson. A seed was planted and the rest is history.
Sandra's original handloom-knitted wearables are made in the intarsia style on a knitting machine, with each garment having a unique design. Her influences stem from using asymmetrical shapes and color blocking, highlighting her interest in architecture, as well as artists Picasso and Miro. Prior to launching her own business in the 1980’s, Sandra worked for years as a fashion designer in New York City.