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WLE London: Where Egle Dares

28-08-2015   


WLE 3Where does this apparent wisdom beyond her years come from? Scratch the surface of her glowing CV and you will find she has stitched, knitted and sewn herself around a chunk of Asia.

Originally from Kaunas Art School, Lithuania and now based in London at the Cockpits Arts Studio in Holborn, Egle was one of ten people selected as Textprint alumni to go to the Spin-Expo in Shanghai in 2011. She subsequently worked in Hong Kong for a tan house in 2012  – “Ten hours in an office doing the same thing, drawing – but I always had too many ideas, too many drawings!” And then lured to the rich history of handcraft skills in India, she started teaching in New Delhi, in 2013.

Although she grew up with a loom, “it was never my passion to make clothes. Even now, I try to mix painting, knit weave and sculpture to get textures, incorporating whole techniques learned in India.” India has clearly had a huge impact on Egle for weaving in particular.  “When it comes to weaving – literally seeing people spinning rubbish into a bed base, hand-woven and stretched out onto a bed frame – India was inspiring. ” She trained as a textiles designer with a knit specialization – something that separates the devotee with obvious applied knowledge from the dilettante.

Her brand name is simply and charmingly derived, WLE – With Love Egle. “Ideally, I would like to provide a bespoke service, alongside the established brand. I like making a product that is used, worn, touched. Something that has a tactile utility purpose and sustainable – made to size, nothing to waste and fully-fashioned.” Knitwear made by Egle is likely to be an innovation combining her love of textiles and art, with each piece a form of creative sculpture. “I learned to calculate before I make anything – to cost it out. The challenge of course, with labour intensive pieces is am I going to be able to sell it,” she says pointing to a 60X60cm cushion that took nine hours to weave, requiring hi-end prices to justify the work. And bespoke pieces made by a true artisan don’t come cheaply – £315-£466 for some items.

WLE 4She does the Liberty ‘Open Call’ presentations – where apparently “they loved it, but price point was a little too high.” It’s a very difficult challenge facing any artisan. There is no compromise on the quality and the time taken to produce the work, which needs to have a price commensurate with the effort applied, to make it sustainable for the individual as a means of livelihood and to cover their costs. And one that the market will bear, respect and understand with no mass-produced option to be able to achieve economies of scale.

It must be galling to see so-called high-end brands leveraging their brand name, in the absence of a comparable quality consideration and often produced at a fraction of the sales price. But Egle is not living in an ivory tower – “with wholesale and retail, the price points have to be on a par with the market you are aiming for.” Nor is she averse to attracting individual sponsorship to fund her time at the studio. She currently sources “mainly from Italy for a lot of the luxury silk yarn and merino wool which wears well. It’s all about finding a good supplier and sticking with them.” A talent that deserves to flourish.

Egles’ collections can be found on NJAL – Not Just A Label  www.notjustalabel.com/designer/wle-london and includes: menswear and womenswear:

Criss-Crossed collection – a wonderfully inventive re-working of tartan with gradations in pattern dimensions and styling for casual and classy knitwear. It’s screamingly obvious this has come from a designer who understands and loves the fabric and the weaving process.

WLE 1

Black Diamante reveals a collection showcasing her signature combining of traditional crafted techniques for knitwear and ‘painting’ with English architecture. Its feminine look with a twist of sporty look jumpers, bomber jackets, pencil skirts and t-shirt style vests, brings highly wearable’ clothing.

WLE 2

Blink Summer ‘15 is a refreshing interpretation of traditional cable knitting techniques in greys, whites, burgundy and black colours that offers smart casual ‘in a blink’ for the professional woman who likes to feel comfortable and stylish in wool at the same time.

www.notjustalabel.com/designer/wle-london

Interview by Paul Markevicius

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Ramnation

Gripping Yarns

GFW 2015: One to Watch…Melissa Villevieille

 




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