For this instalment of When I Grow Up, we grilled knitwear designer Charlotte Booty and found out a little more about the girl behind all that macramé...
When did your passion for knitwear begin?
During second year I had a project called knit and print and my main inspiration was cobwebs covered in snow. I was trying to find a texture to recreate the look of the cobwebs and came across macramé. I preferred it to traditional knitting as it allows you to work straight onto the body and see the shape develop as you wish quicker into a three dimensional form. I have always had a love for textures but it was not until I discovered the possibilities of knitwear that I realise what I was able to create
Have you always enjoyed making things?
Definitely. I have always had a love of making things and as a child I would cut up my mum’s tights and make them into ball gowns for my Barbie Dolls. Textiles is my strongest area, this particularly became apparent at university where I'd create samples out of mundane objects and if I was assigned to make five I would make thirty - earning the awful nickname of the Sample Queen. I love to experiment with the techniques I have learnt through different mediums and show diversity with each new collection I create.
What inspires your work?
I love looking at derelict buildings, cobwebs or even patterns in trees. Seeing an unusual surface gives me inspiration for how I could apply the print to the body. I try to recreate the surface through sampling and then apply those samples to the stand. I find I normally work backwards, working with the materials first to see what I can create and then applying the shapes and silhouettes into fashion.
What’s been your favourite piece you’ve made so far?
Probably quite an obvious choice but my favourite is the Cable Tie Biker Jacket I created for my graduate collection. The jacket was inspired by Bauhaus and consists of over 100,000 cable ties threaded through perforated leather. It took over a week and half to create the whole thing but every time it is used in another shoot I feel it was worth the effort.
Who would you most like to see wearing your pieces?
I would love someone like Rita Ora to wear my pieces as I feel the sporty feel and tailored bright colours of the Porcupine collection would show off her street style.
What have been the highlights of your last year?
The biggest highlight of my last year would definitely be being published in Europe; Rising Fashion Designers; Volume 2. I've had a few pieces published in a range of editorials and a couple of music videos but to have my work printed in a book really topped off a great end to the year. One of the biggest compliments to my work is that each time my work is used it's in such a diverse way so that when I see the photos the pieces look completely different.
If you could go back in time which period and place would you choose?
I would definitely choose the Roaring 20’s period in America. I feel I take a lot of inspiration in the form of 1920’s style. I love the ‘Age of Wonderful Nonsense’ with the prohibition, glitz and glamour. I adore the style of the flappers, from the floating fringe dresses to the feather head bands. I am entranced by everything about the ornate style of Art Deco architecture, art, clothing, hairstyles and décor. I feel the Roaring 20’s silhouettes massively influence my macramé garments, from the neckline to the fringe
What are your future plans?
I'd love to intern abroad for more cultural inspirations to influence my work. Although my aim for this year to create a new collection in time for London Fashion Week’s Fashions Finest.
Tell us something about you few people know...
I am secretly a bit of a geek as I adore shows like Doctor Who, Supernatural and Game of Thrones. I also have a passion for escapism in the form of dystopian book series like Name of the Wind, The Hunger Games and Delirium.
What would you say to anybody aspiring to become a designer?
Personally I think you just need to have passion in what you are doing although it helps to do a lot of research and sampling to work out your designs. Experiment with new materials and constantly challenge yourself. Be confident in yourself. It is an incredibly tough industry, but do not let that knock you down - instead you have to channel it into your work. Although as a young designer myself I am still in the early stages of my business though it is always reassuring when I create a new piece and upload it a social network how much interest that piece gains. I would definitely recommend putting your work out there on as many different platforms as you can.
Interview by Kerry Flint