“I already have orders from some of the models,” said budding knitwear designer and recent FIDM grad Julia Nish. The California native’s collection of knits was the standout showing of Fashion Week El Paseo’s FIDM Debut 2010, which featured collections by nine of the school’s third-year design students.
And Nish, whose jaw-dropping designs resembled what would surely be the love child of a Rodarte/Missoni romp, took home a prize among her peers as “Most Creative.”
“This one took me three days to make,” Nish said, holding up a black and green chunky, zigzag textured sweater. The designer works almost exclusively in alpaca, sourcing mini-mills up and down the west coast where the material is spun. She then dyes the yarn by hand.
“Alpaca is just so superior to wool,” she said. “Did you know that it’s seven-times warmer?”
On the runway, Nish’s 1970s-style sweater dresses — some long and belted, others short and tight — mingled with fuzzy capulets, butterfly sleeve sweater tops that would look at home in front of a Park City fireplace and authentic-looking ponchos that could have descended from the mountains of Peru.
Coincidentally, one of Nish’s dreams is to travel to South America and meet the furry beasts whose coats comprise her handiwork.
“But I want everything to be made in the U.S. That’s really important to me.”
Currently, Nish is working on a T-shirt line with Long Beach-based Matte Black and, though FIDM technically owns her current knit collection for the next year, hopes to get her sweaters into the hands of shoppers as soon as possible. That should be no problem, seeing as how she has an interested investor only a week after graduating from FIDM’s knitwear program.
“I just want to make them as fast as I can,” she said. “I hate when it’s time to stop.”
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