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|Formed in 1992 by Richard Dykes and Sue Enticknap, Knit-1 is well established as one of the top fashion textile design companies, selling to the industry at all levels of the market.|
We spoke with Richard and Sue recently and they shared their story:
Sue and I met at a jumble (that`s second hand clothes) sale in our village, Old Basing near Basingstoke, Hampshire in 1978 !!!
After our respective University and Polytechnic Courses we set up in Brighton in 1983. We called our label “Pretty Blue Guns” after one of our favourite Tom Waits` tracks.
We were lesser known contemporaries of Body Map, John Flett, Martin Kidman of Joseph and all that crowd of British design hopefuls eons back at the dawn of time.
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We were marvellously supported and encouraged by Steve & Iona Hudson, of New Masters, Kings Road and then by Stuart Molloy & Peter Sidell ( now owner of The Library, in South Kensington) of Jones of Kings Road and later Floral Street. We had US sales to Macys and Neiman Marcus and various other accounts but after about 3 years we couldn`t make the line pay nevertheless our designs had come to the notice of an Italian company called Agenco of Modena and as a result we got great experience for the first time working in Italy on one of their knitwear lines called Portobello`s.
This gave us the necessary commercial understanding to separately work for Next Directory, Henry Lloyd, Boules and Richard Shops. All very useful experiences.
Pretty Blue Guns had also been noticed by our now long-time friends Chris Matthews & Philippa George of` The Collection`, the design studio for whom we started producing one off knit designs in 1987 and still work with today.
Our own design collection started with a first trip to New York in 1991 under the catchy banner of our combined surnames `Dykes Enticknap` which luckily in year 2000 with the on-set of the dot com age was transmuted into the rather more user friendly Knit-1 Ltd www.knit-1.com.
Design sales were growing rapidly and we needed more space so moved to our existing premises, a 3,500 sq ft former engineering works which we completely refurbished to our design business requirements. We have sold designs and work with most of the big global fashion brands.
In 2008 we set up our Design Courses www.knitdesigncourses.com . Somewhat frustrated by the practical skills levels which were lacking in the portfolios of graduates and undergraduates we had been seeing for some time and wanting to offer a completely new way to learn knit design and make, we set about devising our intensive courses. The courses are now very well established and have proved themselves through the positive feedback received and the attainment of jobs in the fashion industry by course participants. It takes the knowledge of a fashion business to know what other businesses what from their prospective employees. Furthermore many of our participants have also set up their own businesses after taking one of our courses.
The current in house team comprise of Rachael Driver, Course Tutor and former course participant. Hannah Slegg, Knit Design and Make also a former course participant. Kate Morris, Knit Design and Make, and a Fine Art Graduate. Daisy Dykes , UK sales and Beading/Embellishment design. We also have 2 very dedicated and creative designers on work experience they are Roberta Graham and Marlee Simandlboth undergraduates from St Martins.
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