Not only have knits had a massive influence in the Fall’14 collections of fashion weeks across the globe but, to the delight of many, it has been rediscovered as a material, owing to its refreshing application in ready-to-wear silhouettes. In the November 16-30 issue, the Apparel Online cover story hinted at the increasing demand for knits, much beyond tops, as also the endless possibilities of circular knits, the fact that the coming seasons are a definite home run for knits in various silhouettes, gives reason to carry the story forward on what are the upcoming trends and what direction Indian exporters should take their product development to grab a bigger share in this differential market…
To say that this is one of the most bankable times to look beyond the premise of T-shirts for knit players, hoping to foray into other categories would not be an overstatement. Even on a quick glance, it would be easy to spot the knit fest that has taken over the major fashion cities. Also interesting is the fact that, it is not the usual heavy knit sweater that has the designer’s attention this fall, but knits, both flat and circular in varied structures and silhouettes including relaxed, loose fitting garments as well.
Knit dresses, both figure flattering and languid, have been recurrent in collections. From hardcore basket ball column dresses to asymmetrical evening – appropriate, midi lengths, the trend has been favoured by designers for its flowy, feminine structure mostly in circular knits. However, Calvin Klein and Band of Outsider’s delivered similar silhouettes in flat knits as well, keeping the wholesome look exceedingly cosy and easy-to-wear. Arvind Mallick, General Manager, Bhartiya International confirms, “Airy knitted structures, flowy jerseys, textured knits are the focus for next season”. The trend, seemingly takes inspiration from designers’ affinity for structural easy, so its transcendence into the category of knits hardly comes as a surprise. Chiranjeet Kaur, Senior Designer, Paramount Product, further provides insight on the easy chic trend, “The boxy shapes in T-shirts and blouses are likely to remain for Spring’15 as well.” In fact, casual wear designers – whether for 10 Crosby Derek Lam’s sweater tunics or for 3.1 Philip Lim’s, oversized tops – have been quick to inject their flat knit separates with a sartorial ease.
Another interesting development in fall collections that is not only directional, but has all the qualities of being a wide spread influence for seasons ahead, is the shimmery knit. Chanel’s presented its version of glamorous sportswear with glittery sportswear separates. The combination of chenille with lurex knit, in this case, breathed a new life into circular knits, opening up a whole range of silhouettes that could be experimented with. “Fancy looks, unusual combinations of colours and use of very lightweight fine yarns to produce see-through or semi-transparent effects are major trends, as thick and thin, matt and shiny are at times contrasted in the same fabric,” asserts, Achint Marjara, Owner, Waves International. A development of this nature directly positions knits as a promising material for the evening wear category as well. Kaur too, validates the emergence of lurex knits. “We are developing blouses and body cons in fabrics like scuba and heavy jerseys and some in fancy lurex knits for Christmas.”
Fabric innovation aside, what fuels the excitement in the category of knits, is the constant experimentation in the area of surface techniques. The fall collection of Balenciaga – with its lacquered and leather coated knits – may be a little too experimental for bulk production but that in no way suggests that Indian exporters are not looking at widening their spectrum. J.J. Expo Impo is one such export house which is not restrained to working with basic knits and is readily exploring different kinds of yarns and knitting techniques. “We are experimenting a lot with knits, we are trying different kinds of washes and dyeing techniques on knit fabric,” says Goonjan Kumar, Designer, J.J. Expo Impo. Kumar, at the same time also mentions their attempt to ensure cost-effectiveness while doing so.
While dyeing imparts knits with a vibe, which if familiarly native, an alternate story which pushes the trend into a futuristic space is beginning to take a firmer shape. Marjara does highlight the surfacing of this trend in the near future, “Technical features such as stretch, breathable membranes are often suggested, making their way into hard-hat fashion or street styles. In this way, tapes and other hi-vies elements are used as fashion pointers, even for summer. Coatings and other treatments include reflective features and waterproof layers”. Needless to say, Marjara, who is based in Ludhiana, has already caught on to the trend that has been major crowd puller on the runway of Paris and Milan.