here we are! the first liam collection in over a year!
my design process has always been an investigative one, and since launching liam patterns i have been mulling over the brand’s values and how its next steps can continue to push for meaningful change in the clothing industry.
liam is important because it is where we explore new ideas, rolling out the successful ones at a greater scale into ruby. if you are in the business of analysing wtf clothing designers are up to, liam signals what we might do across the wider business in the future.
i have used everything to investigate two areas where i think we can have influence, and need to be urgently addressed: production waste and sizing.
standard practise in the industry is to have 25% of fabric discarded as waste during the cutting of a garment. you know the curve of the neckline on your t-shirt? the inverse of that is a weirdly shaped scrap of fabric that is very difficult to find a commercial use for.
earlier in the year we held a training workshop for people wanting to join the patternmaking and machining side of the industry, using the “waste material” from our production processes as the fabrics for the garments they made. while we were there, i started knitting strips of fabric together, playing around with colour and texture. it turned into a full blown obsession, with my needles and trails of fabric scraps inappropriately accompanying me to meetings, dinners, friends’ houses...
and then i discovered geo gregory of geo knits slow! geo is wellington-based, and geo knits slow is a project that she has been working on for years, knitting beautiful pieces out of found materials. via many zoom sessions, and a few trips up to auckland, geo and i collaborated on a collection of knit pieces that use the fabric offcuts from the collection.
everything launches in ruby stores early october, with the offcuts generated during the production process being cut into strips and sent to geo and her posse of knitters. it’s a zero waste collection! the hand knitted pieces will be available in limited runs from end october.
liam patterns is here to stay. so the full collection will be available to purchase as a pattern in november (both a paper print out as well as a downloadable .pdf). the knit patterns developed in collaboration with geo knits slow will be available to purchase at launch in october. in addition to this, we will be selling knitting needles, custom made from waste dowl, and repurposed at the remaker space in tauranga.
everything will be available in sizes 4-24, and we will continue to offer custom sizing for anyone who is outside of that size range. we have worked closely with a range of people across various different sizes to really understand how to get our grade rules right, and make sure that our fits are spot on. what it has meant is that some of the pieces have had the designs slightly tweaked to work across the full size range. for example, in sizes 16-24 our pants have an elasticated back waist band, and our weirder slip has an additional dart in the cup.
and now, after my dissertation, a bit of chat on the actual clothing. beautiful separates (are they fancy? or are they chill? you decide!); dresses to tick various boxes; a bemberg cupro that feels like the petal of a magnolia; pops of powder blue, bubblegum pink and a fresh lemon alongside khaki, deep navy and tiramisu.
it’s a given that the fabrics we have used are consistent with where the industry should be: closed loop production processes, certified, made by producers who are investing in research and development.
it has taken a village to raise this collection. from our fit models, to the extraordinary geo of geo knits slow, to our fantastic team at ruby. i am looking forward to it going out into the world and seeing what it can teach me about its experiences.