Spending a weekend in London for my birthday, I managed to sneak in a visit to KNYTTAN‘s Factory of the Future in the New Wing of Somerset House.
Founded by Ben Alun-Jones, Hal Watts and Kirsty Emery, Knyttan is taking knitwear back to its roots: creating bespoke, personal pieces to be cherished. Their ‘Factory of the Future’ (i.e. wonderful Stoll machine) produces only what is required, stepping away from our wasteful culture of mass production and giving the wearer power to design their clothes. The software in store and online(soon) gives the user a basic ‘block’ of a jumper or scarf and a variety of patterns such as dogtooth, argyle etc. It then gives the user options for placement and allows the patterns to be manipulated on screen distorting their shapes, scales and colour. The beauty of what Knyttan are doing is that every piece will be unique as the possibilities are endless. Even with the ‘preset’ designs from Moniker, Nicolas Sassoon and Studio Moross, patterns can be ‘played with’ as much as you like to make them your own. When the user has finished, they effectively click ‘knit’ and, almost like clicking print, the information is sent to the Stoll’s knitting queue. At the moment they are able to produce jumpers, scarves and a number of accessories for phones/tablets but I sense this is just the beginning.
This is effectively 3D printing with knitwear and I think I may be in LOVE. This is not new technology, Knyttan have simply made the existing tech accessible and in so doing are making beautiful, contemporary and graphic knitwear accessible. They are reminding us of the endless possibilities of knitwear that our generation have forgotten amidst the mass production of Christmas fair-isle.
My unwavering enthusiasm for the whole concept of KNYTTAN just about earned me the title of #1 Fan from Ben… I think I may have talked his ear off. However, this is most definitely a much coveted title which I am very smug about. I will be following their progress with glee.
Don’t take my word for it, GO VISIT THEM! – you won’t be disappointed, their ‘factory shop’ will be in the new wing of Somerset House for the next 6 months.