Annalisa Dunn and Dorothee Hagemann are two successful designers and businesswomen whose knitwear business, Cooperative Designs, has been building steadily over the past few years. Perhaps they've had support from the magazines that use their clothes for shoots – but certainly no help from celebrities, advertising or any other such tactics. They are just there, quietly making and selling knitwear, and broadening their customer base throughout the world.
We went down to an intimate presentation of their latest collection during London Fashion Week and saw striped graphic romper suits, tube skirts, over sized cardigans and hoodies and cosy beanie hats.
The ideas that helped shape A/W ’11 were, in Annalisa’s words;
‘The art photographer Thomas Struth – who’s work is of industrial settings and modern architecture. He shoots in black and white – so that’s our colour palette. We also watched the video for East 17’s ‘Alright’ which is black and white in an urban landscape, and we also thought about the clubs we used to got to n the ‘90s to listen to drum and bass music.’
So it’s a rave collection? we wondered. Annalisa went on, ‘Yep. We used to wear big baggy pants with so many pockets we didn’t need a bag or a coat when we went out. And also woolly hats like these.’
We were also pleasantly surprised by the girls’ choice of model – none of them were super-skinny and all the girls looked comfy and relaxed in the knitwear and stompy clog boots by Flip Flop (and customised by the designers with neon shoe-laces.)
‘We don’t think our customer is 15 years old, so we don’t use 15 year old models, and we don’t want anyone who's anorexic looking either. When we cast, we go for personality more than anything’ the pair explained.
Well, if your clothes look good on a range of body shapes, then surely that’s the best advertising you can have?
- Naomi Attwood