I was very excited to see the sustainability section of Keyhouse, being that my first love has always been the Earth. On the first day of Munich Fabric Start, I had the privilege to meet Yevheniia “Jane” Luchko, a knitwear designer studying with HTW in Berlin. I had seen her designs during our preparations, and I had been waiting to see the human behind them.
Jane’s obvious passion for her knitwear dresses inspired me in less than a second, as I watched her quietly weaving on a knitting machine. I could see she was in her “flow”, as positive psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi would say.
HTW is one of the largest universities in Berlin, with a well-attended fashion program offering bachelors and masters degrees. I reached out to Thu Thao Nguyen, a professor at the school, to learn more about what HTW offers their design students. She told me, “The combination of traditional craftsmanship and innovative technology in an interdisciplinary way is a huge benefit which our students value a lot. Further, we provide them regularly with newsletters about job offers, fashion events and fashion competitions.”
From Knitwear Tech to Embroidery
Jane’s embroideries are an exploration of color, with her Ukrainian heritage spilling out from the details. I asked her about her design process, and what inspires her to create her knitwear by hand. Jane said she takes the approach of late designer Alexander McQueen, who famously once said, “I never look at other people’s work. My mind has to be completely focused on my own illusions.” Jane takes inspiration from within herself, and within the Earth around her. She goes hiking often and illustrates a wide range of flowers and plants in intricate detail. She then replicates the drawings into her embroidery, mimicking nature as she knits and sews.
Next, she’s looking for embroidery thread that glows. The Munich Fabric Start Keyhouse gave her the perfect place to talk with contacts from the recent collaboration between Statex, Madeira, and Zsk. She plans to dabble in conductive yarns, to give light to the delicate details of her embroidered flowers and leaves.
We also spoke about the creativity found in university collaborations such as HTW and Marco Polo’s 2067, which was being displayed at Munich Fabric Start. I was captivated by the light in her eyes as she spoke about this opportunity. There is something to be said about the passion students feel when they’re surrounded by innovation and pushed to problem solve. There’s a feeling of having the world literally at your fingertips, and you feel as if your brain could open up at any moment and the entire universe could pour in.
Nguyen weighed in on this too by saying, “Young designers, although still students or already alumni, will always benefit from their very versatile education at HTW Berlin where they got the chance to gain practical and creative skills, always up-to-date. That prepares them for the fashion industry and highly increases their chances to get a job as a young designer. The positive feedback from cooperation partners and employers of the fashion industry prove that. Networking is essential to us.”
I’m excited to see what Jane’s imagination creates next using glowing or conductive yarns, with the knitwear knowledge she’s gained from HTW’s program and resources. As the space for conductive clothing grows, I’m confident her designs will continue to inspire others with the passion she’s knitting into each piece.