Tuesday, July 19, 2011
Julia Knupfer is the talent behind I.C.A Watermelon, a Berlin based knitwear label. Relishing in the ambiguous nature of dying with plant extracts, each piece is unique. Her collections are full of body and unusual textures. Shape and form are prioritised while faded colours compliment. I.C.A watermelon represents knitwear at its finest, exploring the endless possibilities you have by taking your time, slowing down and continually being inspired by the materials you work with.
Can you explain the philosophy behind I.C.A Watermelon?
I.C.A Watermelon is a contemporary designer line for women with a commitment to sustainability. The subject of nature and environment plays a central role and is conceptually translated into garments. Traditional handicraft especially handmade knitting and crochet is a consistent feature of the collections. My vision is to create sensible and strong pieces that reflect the zeitgeist and last for a long time in terms of material and style.
Why knitting? What motivated you to this traditional craft?
My grandma and my mother taught me knitting and crochet when I was a child and it still gives me a cosy feeling. Wool is such a versatile and expressive material. That's why I love it.
Your designs are always very structural and full of contrasting textures what inspires you to design in this way?
Contrasts are always fascinating. I am often inspired by the huge variety of natural structures. I love to explore different combinations of fabric treatments and techniques such as weaving and braiding to create unusual atmospheres and structures.
Can you tell us more about your natural dying production?
I started natural dying out of a need, because a few years ago it was quite hard to find a suitable colour range of organic fabrics which I liked to work with. Now natural dying is part of my creative process. Dying with plant extracts produces an astounding spectrum of subtle colours. I really enjoy the fact, that depending on time, temperature and concentration the outcome is never clear.
Where are you based? What do you like about living there?
I am based in Berlin and despite of the weather it is a perfect place to live and to work. The design scene is very young and vibrant and moreover housing and living costs are low. I like the creative energy on the streets but also the chilled out and relaxed pace. Then there are many visionary people who are working on a greener industry and created a space for the new green fashion movement here.
What's next for ICA watermelon?
Right now I am working on a seasonless and permanent collection simply with colour and material updates each season. Because, I think it makes sense to slow things down. It allows me to work less wasteful and gives me more time to concentrate on doing great designs with a high quality standard. My personal highlight will be the opening of my own showroom and shop in Berlin at the end of this year.
Find more of the collection here