WONDER WOOL Introducing Anna Zwick
A KNTIWEAR DESIGNER TO WATCH OUT FOR
by Kate Fronius
From woven fabric to fashionable art: Spotted on Instagram, the creations by Anna Zwick caught our eye immediately. Based in London, the former Central St. Martins student creates knitwear that surpasses any expectation one could possibly have when thinking of knitwear. Her work reminds us of antique porcelain statues – constructed so particularised, based on a high knowledge of craftsmanship and with such a touching aura that we feel almost hypnotized looking at them. So we reached out to her to talk about her work, her vision and what it is about her knitwear creations that makes us dream the second we lay eye on them. In other words – an extraordinarily outstanding talent you should remember …because this is just the beginning!
with Anna Zwick
Let’s start at the bottom line of everything: How would you describe yourself and your way of working?
I am an open hearted and open-minded person, always looking for new adventures and ways to grow personally and in my career. In my design work and in life, I always need a very personal connection to what I do. It always comes from a place or inspiration that is directly connected to me. I guess it is normal, or maybe it is not, but the subject I am designing around is always closely linked with my experiences, thoughts and own story.
As a designer you can work with so many different kinds of materials, why did you choose knit to create fashion?
I love knitwear because with knit you can create your own fabric. I am designing something from scratch; I often even make my own yarns and then knit them into shape. The beauty of knitwear lies in its never-ending possibilities. I like that it is quite technical as well. Learning how to machine knit and really becoming good at this craft, opens up so many design possibilities. I keep on exploring and learning new things to do with knit – it is really so much fun once you mastered the main techniques.
Credit: Pictures by Olga Dobrowolska (@odna_creative)
Choroegraphy: Scio me Nihil Scire performed at Dixon Place in NYC
Ballet dancers: Olga Dobrowolska (@odna_creative) and Cesar Brodermann (@cesarbrodermann) wearing Anna Zwick’s creations.
I guess your work goes beyond „working with wool“, right? What else can be knitted with- or which materials do you prefer in general?
At the moment I am crocheting with simple mercerized cottons, velvets and other rather unusual materials. I feel in terms of materials there are no boundaries. Anything that can be cut into manageable strips can potentially be knitted. And the combination of different yarns often makes knitwear so interesting. That said a very casual wool, knitted into a huge impressive volume can be beautiful as well. It all depends what you are doing with it.
You’re a student of Central Saint Martins. What exactly is the course you are taking there?
Yes, I have done my master degree in knitwear there. I finished in March 2017, two years of a very intense learning process. In the master course „knitwear for fashion“ you learn how to be the best knitwear designer that you can possibly be. It is not easy to describe the course; at it is all based on very personal experiences you make through your journey during the MA.
What are the most amazing things you achieved at this University?
The most amazing experience for me was making clothes for the dancers of the Michael Clark Company. It was a collaboration project in my first year in the MA, and seeing these amazing dancers move in my garments was definitely one of the highlights of the course for me. I found out a lot about myself during the course. The pressure was very high, and understanding how to manage that stress, still be creative and making the deadlines for all the projects, definitely made me develop and perfection my creative process. Learning how to research fashion properly, editing your work and narrowing yourself down to one clear vision are only a few things that I have learnt during the master course.
Anna Zwick's final collection for her MA at Central Saint Martins. | Pictures by Bror Ivefeldt.
Knit is in our minds normally related to winter. How do you see this material and its possibilities to work with it?
I feel summer and winter season have equal possibilities for knitwear, but in the industry the focus if of course on the winter season. People think “warm” when they think of knit. I do not think that way. In my personal work, I don’t even think in seasons. I like creating a combination of warm/heavy and open knitted summery knits. There are limitations around you when you work in a company, so I feel I have to celebrate my freedom in the choice of materials in my own work. A transparent very light knitted jumpsuit and a super heavy hand knit sweater on top, why not?
What do you see as the major trends in your profession – knit wear?
I feel people are afraid to really use knitwear as knitwear. I very often see knitwear that tries to be a woven fabric. The stitches, shapes and texture you can achieve with knitwear are often not really explored in the industry at the moment. I believe there is definitely room to experiment a bit more with the possibilities that knitwear offers.
Your creations look more like artwork than „regular styles“ - what are your main inspirations or visions behind them?
In my final collection, I was inspired by contemporary dance and the body in movement. The collection takes inspiration from the choreographies of William Forsythe and Michael Clark where the bodies of two dancers knit together, melding and entwining to transform into a singular form. The tangled tights sculptures of Sarah Lucas, the surreal elongated bodies of Erwin Blumenfeld, and Issey Miyake’s A-POC philosophy where a few of my inspirations.
The knitted pieces merge with and become extensions of the body, wrapping around, connecting, supporting, exposing and transforming it to a point at which it is not clear where the body begins and the garment ends.
Do you create your pieces for a specific audience or occasion?
I create things that should be worn. It is fun to knit a house and let someone walk down the catwalk in it, but I believe the real challenge lies in making fashion that is new and innovative, but also wearable. I like to push the boundaries of knitwear and love creating unusual shapes but I always try to give them certain functionality. Can she drink a cup of tea in that sweater? Of course some more conceptual pieces, can be just that and clearly they are not mainstream pieces to be worn in everyday life, but I always have a few pieces in my work that are easy to wear like the transparent knitted dresses in my final collection.
From creating to making business: What does your daily work life look like - who are your clients (also in future)?
I had a great freelance job after my MA for a company that I really fit in and I loved designing for. At the moment I am working on my next collection here in London. I am exploring new techniques and am caught up in new crochet techniques at the moment. I am going to my studio to work, but I always break up my routine with a visit to a museum or just to walk around in London to see charity shops or my inspiring friends.
I also collaborated with a dancer from New York after the MA. She performed in a few of my collection pieces in a New York Dance Event. It was amazing. Her name is @odna_creative (on Instagram) you should check her work out! I hope to continue collaborating with creative people like her in the future. These collaborations are pure joy for me!
Do you have a specific piece in mind that you want to create one day, or anything else you want to achieve with your work in the future?
I still feel I am at the beginning of it all. There are many things I dream of doing, but by saying them out loud now, I might spill and spoil those dreams, and so I will keep them to myself. All I know is that I love what I am doing and that you can make all the plans in the world, things always turn out differently than you think. I will continue to work on the balance of working on my own pieces and designing for companies that I fit into to pay my rent.
One project I would love to do one day: I would like to work with AyaBambi one day. They are an amazing Japanese dance duo, whose dance style and fashion style I adore ((note of the editorial: the couple vogued already for Hussein Chalayan and posed for Alexander Wang). Designing clothes for them to dance in would be a dream come true!
You are living in London, right? Does this city have a specific impact on your work and creativity?
Yes, I am still living in London. It is by far my favourite city compared to New York and Paris. The people are very open and friendly, the art is amazing, and design wise I do feel here you have a lot of freedom. People expect the London designers to create unconventional fashion and to push boundaries. So we do. I always felt very at home here, I felt like I can be myself and do not have to try to fit in, as the culture and people are so diverse that everyone has a place here.
Thank you for the interview.