The Irish designer making knitwear cool

Yes there is a heatwave but looking ahead to colder days in Ireland's future, award-winning designer Pearl Reddington is turning heads with her fresh approach to the humble knit

Safe as houses Aran knits and Fair Isle jumpers are a thing of the past — the future of knitwear is all about a luxury feel, geometric designs and unexpected splashes of neon green. This is the lesson to be learned from the gorgeous work of Dublin-based designer Pearl Reddington, one of several young designers recognised at this year's Future Makers Awards. The Design & Crafts Council of Ireland's Future Makers Awards is an impressive showcase of young Irish talent, with a huge amount of funding available to help these young creatives navigate their way to market. Here, Pearl shares some images from her lookbook, and chats about the freedom of design, why she wants to keep working in Ireland and the money it takes to be a fashion designer.

Pearl, how does it feel to receive the Studio Support prize in the Future Makers Awards?

It’s such a help! As a young designer the start up stage is the most expensive. There is not many jobs where you have to spend a lot of money to do work! If my raw materials aren’t luxury wools then my garments won’t be luxurious. Receiving a studio support will help me invest in new machinery and continue to source beautiful yarns.

How would you describe your pieces and your aesthetic?

Contemporary bespoke knitwear. I am passionate about combining heritage with fashion forward designs. My designs are fresh, edgy and appealing to all. Knit in Donegal merino wool or Scottish lambswool mean they are perfect for our weather — though this recent heatwave hasn’t been the best weather to be a knitwear designer!

What is it like to make your collection by hand?

It’s a slow, laborious process which can be frustrating when I have hundreds of new design ideas buzzing around my head. Making by hand means I can create one-off garments with a meticulous attention to detail and a high end finish. When you’re knitting every stitch yourself you never miss a mistake.

What do you love about working with knitwear?

The freedom of creating not only your own garment style but also creating your own fabric. With knitting you have full creative control, you are not limited to what’s available in fabric shops. Knitting is a magical process, I am still enchanted by the process of turning “string” into a luxury item of clothing.

What does the future hold for your line?

I am 100% dedicated to staying in Ireland and doing something positive for Irish knit. Eventually I want to open my own shop here in Dublin. Ireland is the best place to be a knitwear designer, I never want to leave!

Check out Pearl's AW18 lookbook below:

Photographer: Donal Talbot | Model: Holly Moore from Not Another Agency

Love Irish design? Cast your vote in this year's Irish Made Awards!

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