Q&A with Christian Wijnants
Christian Wijnants won the International Woolmark prize 2013, which meant a big breakthrough on many levels. His brand has gained a lot of recognition and exposure all over the world. Today, his label is sold in some of the world’s leading stores like Harvey Nichols, Barneys and Tomorrowland. Of course he couldn’t resist another invitation from The Woolmark Company, this time in Antwerp. Time for some questions.
Please tell us a little about yourself and how your designs utilize wool?
‘I have always loved working with wool, and as it turned out, wool is one of my trademarks. I have been very successful working with it.’
Where do you look for inspiration?
‘Everything can be an inspiration. Even the material itself. Wool is an organic material with a lot of amazing qualities that come with it naturally, such as the texture. Also, it has been utilized for hundreds of years. The craft people have been performing with wool is both inspiring and astounding.’
What makes you choose wool over other fibres?
‘I love working with wool, due to its simple, immutable qualities. It has a natural elasticity to it but it also gives you the opportunity to create something three dimensional with different shapes and textures. Moreover, it radiates the feeling of warmth, coziness and comfort that I find very interesting. Wool is a way of using nature in a good and respectful way and it can be seen as a tool to pass this respect onto more people. I think it can be a way of teaching people to be conscious about quality and sustainability.’ .
What is your opinion about The Campaign for Wool and your participation in Wool Week?
‘Wool is an amazing material that is underestimated by many. I think Wool Week is a great way to introduce more people to wool and spread the word. There are so many more techniques to discover and I’m excited to be a part of this wool movement.’ (Image Wool object) Christian Wijnant’s hand- knitted look is more than just a piece of clothing. It personifies what wool means to him. With the patchwork of stitches used, a three dimensional cocoon providing warmth, comfort and coziness, was sculptured around the body. The connection to nature and the respect it is ought to receive is implemented in the pieces’ organic shape and elasticity through traditional hand-knitting techniques.
Curator of the Wool Week expo, freelance journalist Veerle Windels on Christian Wijnants: The Millennium year 2000 meant graduation time for Christian Wijnants, who immediately caught the attention of Dries Van Noten and the Hyères Festival. Christian launched his own line in 2003 and has grown his business ever since. In 2013, he won the International Woolmark Prize, a personal highlight after winning ANDAM and the Swiss Textiles Award as well. His work is all about texture and depth.
To see more of Christian’s work please visit the website http://www.christianwijnants.com/