Inspired by the extravagant costumes of comic book superheroes and villains, Scottish knit-wear designer Alice Palmer’s Spring/Summer 2014 collection is all about bold expressions of colour and marbled patterns. Reminiscent of thermal body scans that outline the contours of the body with bright colours, the collection uses knitted jacquard techniques to design body-hugging dresses, tops, skirts, tuxedo jackets and event jumpsuits. It seems only fitting that Palmer named it ‘Life on Mars.’
“I always loved the idea of making something from scratch, and with knitwear you get complete control in deciding the end result in choosing the yarns and techniques,” she explained. “There are endless possibilities for colour, form and pattern, which make each collection unique and exciting to create.”
Mainly inspired by art, architecture, music and films, Palmer graduated from the Glasgow Art School with a degree in textiles before obtaining her Masters in knitted textiles at the Royal College of Art in London. Her knitwear skills recently garnered her the title of the 2013 Textile Designer of the Year at the Scottish Fashion Awards.
“It was an honour to be recognised within my field and I believe the years of dedication and perseverance definitely account for my success,” she said. “It was amazing.”
Big fashion houses have also taken notice of her talent. Her Spring/Summer 2012 collection was launched exclusively at the D&G concept store in Milan last year and sold out within its first month. Online fashion retailer ASOS also awarded her with Best Womenswear Designer in 2008 and launched a collaborative collection in 2009. Palmer’s other admirers include celebrities like singer Kate Nash, The Noisettes’ Shingai Shoniwa and Gabby Young. For her, it’s about creating original clothes that evoke a certain feeling in the wearer.
“I like to make people feel cool and unique in wearing my clothes,” said Palmer. “I aspire to create pieces that are fun and innovative, using a technique that I developed during my Masters degree. Also, I love to use soft and luxurious yarns such as silk, which adds to the whole experience of wearing knitwear.”
While many of her materials are from around the world, she mainly sources from the UK and Italy. For Fall/Winter collections, Palmer says she likes to use Scottish lambswool because of its tactile quality.
“With knitwear you can sculpt around the body, which is ultimately what I am passionate about—to be able to work three dimensionally, and to create pieces from scratch is really satisfying and shows no limits for future designs and creativity,” she said.
There are also many challenges in knitting because in modifying one factor, such as the yarn or the gauge of the machine and the whole size of the piece can change, Palmer adds. Then the pattern has to be re-calculated.
As for future plans, Palmer says she will be launching a jewelry line shortly.
“Knitting lends itself to many different subjects, making the possibilities endless,” she said. “I am working on a few secret projects at the moment that I believe are going to make 2014 a very exciting year for my company!