Photo by Esa Naukkarinen

Ia Kähkönen

Blending the roles of Designer and Technician: ‘Textile Thinking’ for Sustainable Innovation in Industrial Knitwear Development

This practical project was executed through the knitwear designer overtaking the knitwear technician’s role, resulting in a hybrid ‘designer-technician’ approach to the practical production of industrial knitwear development. This approach established a dynamic, cyclic dialogue between the maker, technique, material, and technical aspects. Observations and reflections on translations between digital symbolisms, adapted to a fully automated mechanical process, are designed to serve as an ever-expanding space for novel fashion expressions and their tactile, emotional outcomes.

Led by sustainable, commercializable values and technique-inspired embodied learning, the final collection explores several different knitted structures and their diverse modifications.

The process, its value-setting and the final outcome of it, in turn, aims to provide a narrative between maker and eventual wearer, with potential for widespread systemic innovations for an unstable future. The thesis argues that embodied learning of synthesizing technical construction and materialized outcomes – ‘textile thinking’ – can reverse the negative impacts of the traditional design-led work processes of fast fashion. 

The entire collection follows the fundamental aim of closed-loop production, with zero-waste design principles joined by mono-material construction methods. A recycled 100% PET-yarn was used for these technical explorations in knitwear programming to expand the conceptual design space of reversible and multi-functional design expressions.

IaKahkonen_Aalto University_08
Photo by Esa Naukkarinen
Photo: Esa Naukkarinen