Award-winning fashion designer on why 3D and whole-garment weaving is here to stay
According to Kelly Konings, the technique means that many production steps can already be woven into the fabric, instead of added onto the garment afterwards.
19 May 2023

Kelly Konings has studied fashion design at ArtEZ Institute for the Arts in The Netherlands and worked as a fashion designer for various Scandinavian brands. She’s now a textile and fashion designer, specialising in whole garment weaving and jacquard woven textiles for garments. She describes her MA project in textile design at the Swedish School of Textiles as a tactile research into the interdependent relationship between a textile and a garment.

— As in the current state of things, these two are mostly designed and produced in two separate systems only meeting in the final outcome of a garment. This is leaving many sustainable and aesthetic design possibilities unused, but also increasing textile waste by producing unwanted textiles and so on. In my master project, I created jacquard woven 2D textiles in a layering system, that after weaving can open up and be worn as a 3D garment. It holds somewhere in between whole-garment weaving and 3D weaving. For example, I have woven in colour gradients that look like a worn-out denim jacket and have added destroyed details by mixing different warp and weft-faced twills. But also the labelling, stitch details, side seams, and pockets have been woven into the textile. This means that a lot of production steps can already be woven into the fabric, instead of added onto the garment afterwards. The yarns I used are mostly linen and wool and a mix of deadstock yarns from the Swedish textile industry such as linen from the damast weaving mill Klässbols and rug tufting wool from Kasthall, but also virgin Swedish wool that has been washed and processed in the Swedish island of Gotland. 

What was the most challenging when creating it?

— To have an interesting texture and patterning of the textile and to weave technically advanced shapes in layers, Konings explains. This is sometimes a bit of a fight between functionality and aesthetics while trying not to break the jacquard loom.

What’s the future for this kind of 3D weaving?

— There is definitely a future for 3D and whole-garment weaving, as it links both the textile and the garment together in a holistic design perspective, opening up new ways of design thinking. Early examples of this type of design thinking can be seen in the work from Issey Miyake’s APOC line, but also in the current work from Matthieu Blazy for Bottega Veneta where he links the textile and the garment in unexpected ways creating a new type of luxury. The technique of 3D and garment weaving in itself still needs a lot of refinement when it comes to the durability of the woven-together seams in combination with the fraying of the raw edges. However, there is a big interest from the industry especially in the denim textiles. 

You just won the Circular Fashion Award at the Swedish Elle Gala. What’s next?

— Currently, I’m mostly developing garment woven prototypes at the weaving lab and working as a textile designer with woven projects for different fashion houses. However, I’m looking into possibilities in how to develop the 3D and whole-garment weaving further. And, mainly, I aim to bridge the gap between textile and fashion design — and weave amazing textiles, Konings concludes.

Kelly Konings. Photography: Carolina Sardal Jerhov

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