Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Ethical Fashion Part 4: Knit Your Own Style Statement with Girly Knits!

Check out the adorable socks you can make with patterns by the fabulous Lauren Riker of Girly Knits!

It's finally getting cold enough for winter clothes here in Los Angeles, and I can think of nothing better to wear than things that are soft and cozy.  One of the cooler trends of Winter 2016 -- or, maybe I should say one of the warmer trends -- is knitted clothing.  These fashion pieces take knitwear out of Grandma's sewing basket and put it right on the runway.  (Slay, Grandma!)

Winter 2016 is filled with knitwear that's not just warm but ultra cool...
While we'd all love a Helmut Lang asymmetrical sweater, most of us are not going to shell out hundreds of dollars for it.  What about knitting high style items ourselves?

This is where Lauren Riker comes in.  Lauren is the brains and creativity behind Girly Knits -- your one-stop shop for all kinds of stylish knitting patterns.  Girly Knits offers patterns and tutorials for knitting aficionados as well as fashionistas, or as Lauren says: "Knits for hip chicks." 

While I've been putting "Learn to knit" on my New Years resolutions for at least five years, Lauren has actually prompted me to get on it.  Girly Knits has so many adorable styles I want to make, and Lauren's accompanying blog Knitting is Awesome has a wealth of great information for beginners as well as knitting experts.  (Even Grandma.)

Just one of the adorable patterns at Girly Knits
Since I've started thinking more about the ethical impact of fashion, I've been looking for ways to incorporate long-term, one-of-a-kind items into my wardrobe.  I can think of nothing that embodies the slow fashion movement more than making some of your own clothes.  Being able to support ethical fashion designers like Lauren makes me feel like I'm stylish as as well as smart.  

You know you want to make these.
For more about Lauren, check out the short film below from her participation in The Fiber Factor -- the first online, web-based knitting design competition.  (Warning: you will not be able to watch The Fiber Factor without being compelled to learn how to knit.)
This Girly Knits hat is almost too cute.

Knitwear has always served as far   more than just a way to create cold-weather gear.  Remember, Coco Chanel made a name for herself not with the now-famous quilted leather bags, but with comfortable pieces that combined great design with wearable knit fabrics.  These elegant dresses, tops and skirts changed fashion history.  Seriously, who knew knits could be revolutionary?

Fashion's love of knitwear didn't stop in the 1920s.  Hand-knitted clothing items continued to be part of wardrobes throughout the 20th Century -- from countless Grandma-made mufflers and cardigan sweaters to delicate crocheted collars, drawstring bags and embellished knit caps.

One of the trends of the mid 1950s was hand-knitted couture fashion, with demand met by talented knitters as evidenced in the vintage newsreel film below.  Check it out for a great look back at the amazing women who knitted for designers in the mid twentieth century.  (Hey Lauren: how about creating a few patterns for retro-style knit dresses?)

Don't be overwhelmed if you've never picked up a pair of knitting needles -- I'm barely up to the basic knit one, purl two.  (In fact, until I bought a book on knitting, I thought purl was spelled pearl.  Blame it on my intense love of jewelry.)  Once you make your first ruffled headband, you'll be hooked.  And, thanks to Lauren at Girly Knits, you'll have all kinds of hip, stylish patterns to make next.

Need help getting started?  Be sure to watch Lauren's video at the top of this post for a complete step-by-step look at her adorable animal socks.  I've also included a link to my favorite knitting handbook of all time at the very bottom of this post.

Happy stylish knitting, contrairistas!

Learn more about Lauren Riker of Girly Knits -- and get apartment envy over her gorgeous pad...

Check out these amazing high fashion knitters from 1954!

THE knitting handbook to start your stitchery journey:

Want to leave a comment?  Head over to the Chic Contraire Community Forum to start a conversation!

Video by Girly Knits, The Fiber Factor and British Pathé