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2.27.2012

INTERVIEW: ROISIN MCATAMNEY
The next designer we're speaking to from Showtime is Roisin McAtamney. Roisin has created a collection of interactive knitwear, and some of her work has already been so popular that is has been stolen from museums! We talk to Roisin about her inspiration and experience in the fashion industry.
When did you first take an interest in knitting?
It was not until I started the BA Hons in Design for Textiles at Heriot-Watt University that I fell in love with all things Knitty! I had initially left high school at 16 and undertook an HND in Fashion Design and Manufacture; this is where I found out how much I loved creating and manipulating things and how much I loathed pattern cutting!
I chose to go back a stage in the design process and decided I would rather create my own fabrics than use someone else’s pre-determined designs. At the same time I was learning about knitting, printing and weaving. I found printing far too easy, and I absolutely detested weave, so I decided to specialise in knitting.

What are the key characteristics of your work?
My style of working is very organic. I will sit in front of my knitting machine and just potter away, just letting my imagination go wild! I live for colour, texture and patterning so my designs tend to be quite in your face, a bit like myself. I also love to work in natural fibers like merino wools, silks, and cashmere, which means my garments are very bold and vibrant, but also luxurious.

All of your recent pieces have Microsoft Tags incorporated into them. How did the idea behind these come about?
I was showing at New Designers 2010 when I was approached by Sue Jenkyn-Jones, the then course director of Digital Fashion at London College of Fashion. She insisted I had to  do her MA and I obviously jumped at the chance. I didn't have a clue what my project proposal was going to be, except that I was doing knitwear!
I was introduced to bar code technology by Sue and instantly found that I could incorporate these barcodes into my knitted designs. While researching I came across Microsoft’s version of a barcode, the Tag. This was really exciting as the code is determined by the unique placement of CMYK coloured spots- I was so happy that I was able to use lots of bold colours! I started developing my own custom Tags, changing the patterning within each one and placing them into my pre designed garment patterns.
 I am able reprogram the Tags at anytime, and at the moment each Tag links to a video of it's specific garment.
[CLICK THE IMAGES IN THIS ARTICLE TO VIEW SAID IMAGES]

Do you plan to re-use this element in future, or will you be allowing it to remain exclusive to your latest collection?
 I no longer have use of this beloved knitting machine since I finished my MA, but I have few plans in the future to utilise the Tags into interactive accessories. This includes scanable cushions that will show slogans on smartphones! I do wish to revisit the use of Tag within my designs in the near future, but in the mean time I will let my MA collection gain some well deserved press.

Tell us about the theft of your knitwear piece from the Textile Towerhouse.
I was shocked when I received the news, someone had literally lifted the top clean off of the mannequin in broad day light! It's a small museum in a Scottish Borders town so you really don’t think anything like that would happen, especially seeing as my garment was so distinctive. Anyone wearing it out would stand out a mile!

Despite the distress this must have caused, were you at all flattered?
 I was definitely flattered; the person who stole it has impeccable taste! And I received compensation for the garment; all in all I think it’s a great anecdote.

What can we look forward to seeing from you in the future?
At the moment I have secured a full time Production Assistant position within a wholesale garment design and manufacturing company who supply to Asos, Monsoon, TK Maxx, River Island, Miss Selfridge and many more amazing high street stores! If you start to notice lots of OTT knitwear flooding the high street, it may just be my fault! But I do hope to one day have my own label, experience is the key! Oh- and my dream job is to work for either Missoni or Sonia Rykiel one day!

Published on JojoMagazine.com