Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Unpicking the seams of Menswear Day... A Minute Silence

A Minute Silence. Anna, Odile and Arthur.

Last month, before we were sucked in to the craziness of LFW we introduced you to A Minute Silence and gave you a sneak peek at their debut capsule collection of graphic knitwear. For the benefit of you who might have missed out on that post, AMS is a creative collaboration that was just waiting to happen between two good friends, the artist Danny Sangra and Style Salvage's favourite knitwear designer, Lynn Cockburn (aka Lynnda Needles). Their colourful, progressive capsule knitwear collection was officially launched during London Fashion Week. Now that a couple weeks have passed and everything has calmed down a touch, we were eager feel the soft knits and marvel at the graphic prints. So, we met up with Lynn at her studio home last night and she talked us through the collection over a nice cup of tea. Here we discuss how the label came to be, learn more about the craftsmanship of knitwear, hear about her experiences working with British heritage brand Corgi and unveil what the duo are working on for SS11...

A close up of Luc. An all seeing pyramid jacquard cardigan.

SS: How did the collaboration come about between yourself and Danny? I know you are good friends with Danny so is AMS one of the projects that you've been talking about launching for some time...
Lynn: Yes exactly. Not necessarily as a knitwear brand though. Danny and I met when we were both studying at Central Saint Martins, we both worked at the same shop during our second year and we became buddies. We actually collaborated for my final degree show of my Textiles course, I was specialising in knitwear and I wanted to do knitted baseball caps which we screen printed with one of Danny's illustrations. We were always like "Hey we should do something when we leave' and the obvious thing for a textile and illustrative collaboration would have been screen printed sweatshirts, tshirts etc but at the time we just thought that this might've been a bit boring. We came up with the A Minute Silence name and there were a couple of other guys who we were going to work with and we even set up a website but then we all got busy and started getting jobs. So it never really happened but Danny and I were both really keen on working together. He's obviously had lots of gallery shows and on a few occasions we worked together on tshirts but that is it. Until one day it just clicked. I've always been inspired by his work in a textile way so it just made sense to work on knitwear. By this point, about two years ago now, I had been working as a knitwear designer for a few years and it all made perfect sense. Since doing this collection we've realised that we are older now and the timing is right. Everything is considered. There is a real attention to detail from the name labels which are woven with Danny's handwriting to the way we package the knits themselves when they are ready to sell. So, it is has been in the making for seven or eight years but it definitely worth the wait.

Meet Anna, she is a boiled washed lace pyramid cardigan.

SS: Where does the A Minute Silence name come from?
Lynn: It comes from a Jean-Luc Godard film called Bande a Part. In the film their are real characters; Odile who is played by the amazing Anna Karina, Franz (Sami Frey) and Arthur (Claude Brasseur) and we've actually named our pieces after them, along with Luc and Anna as well because we are such huge fans. Also, we named the blanket thirty six because during the film the three characters are momentarily stuck for conversation in a cafe and suggest a minutes silence but the silence on lasts thirty six seconds in the film. Finally, we have the Madison socks because the minutes silence takes place in the Madison Cafe. Both of us are really in to new wave French cinema and both really fancy Anna Karina, haha!

A close up of Anna's lace pyramid detailing.

SS: What makes knitwear special to you?
Lynn: At this stage in my career I love the craftsmanship and I've been lucky to work with British factories from Scotland to Grimsby to Wales and worked with people who are hand making these garments. The A Minute Silence garments are all hand knitted on traditional machines, someone has to cast on the stitches, move the carriage to knit and do all of the fully fashioning by hand, all the finishing is also done by hand. I love the whole traditional side of the knitwear industry. However, I've also worked with big factories in China so I've experienced both sides of the spectrum. In terms of myself I am into my braiding which is an ancient Japanese technique and pushing textiles, not necessarily just knitwear.

Luc and blanket 36

SS: For this collection you worked with Corgi, have you worked with them before or did you specifically approach them for AMS?
Lynn: I've visited them a few years ago now when I was sourcing factories for a label called Merlin, so I was doing the rounds, calling up and meeting people. I think when you are a small label in Britain it is hard to work with companies outside of Britain because they all have minimums. So now, I have strong relationships with British manufacturers. At the beginning it was necessary for me to work with them but now I am happy when I get to work with them, I enjoy telling people that that our product is 100% British made. So, I first met with Corgi for Merlin but we didn't use them at that time but I really wanted to use them for this project. The heritage of Corgi is just amazing and the point that they've worked with amazing brands like Comme des Garcons.

SS: What is the Corgi factory like?
Lynn: It is lovely, just a little train journey from Paddington, they come and pick you up from the train station and it just feels like a family the moment you walk in to it. Plus they have an amazing sample shop, my whole family got cashmere socks for Christmas that year.

The Madison socks and blanket 36.

SS: We see your knitted creations as investment pieces, even each purchase comes wrapped with care in a hand made tyvek bag. Do you see your pieces as investment pieces?
Lynn: That is certainly how Danny and I buy fashion. We're not loaded so we can't just go out and buy loads of things every season. If we do buy anything designer it is because we've really thought about it and seen it as something that is not necessarily on trend but rather it can be seen as timeless in some way. Our pieces are something than you can buy and hopefully wear forever. I think from the quality of the yarns we use to the manufactures we work with, the standards are high and should stand the test of time. I love how knitwear ages though. Thetyvek bags just help people store it away and help protect it. We've always wanted the pieces to feel very special. Each of the knits come with an original drawing by Danny just to make the buyer feel even more special.

The all seeing pyramid graphic of Luc is one of our favourites.

SS: Obviously the debut offering is a capsule collection, how will the brand evolve? What are your plans for SS11?
Lynn: I want to push it for SS11. We don't just want to be a knitwear brand but both of us want it to be our signature. We want to expand the offering though. We've had lots of ideas as to what would work really well with Danny's patterns and illustrations and have come up with a slightly tongue in cheek idea to do a cagoule and umbrella for British Summer time. We are going to evolve the brand slowly though, we won't rush in to a full collection but instead put out the products we really fancy creating.

A pair of socks that would actually make our Christmas. The Madison socks.


Make Do Style said...

Great interview and they are a wonderful collaboration x

Ozwald Boateng said...

Awesome collaboration - very impressive!


Style Salvage Steve said...

Make Do Style: Thanks! Yes, I hope they do extremely well with it.
Ozwald Boateng: It really is a great mix of craftsmanship and design.


Related Posts with Thumbnails