Wool Week Belgium – Monsieur Tricot
The Campaign for Wool has been talking to Ilia Eckhardt of the label Monsieur Tricot by Ilia Sigi Eckhardt, who has designed a lamp knitted from wool for the exhibition at the WM Gallery in Antwerp as part of Wool Week in Belgium.
Please tell us a little about yourselves and how your designs utilize wool?
I’m always looking for new ways to tell my story and make statements. Because I’m all about knitwear, this is my way of communicating with the rest of the world. I’m constantly experimenting to get my story right. I work both as a freelance designer in fashion and as owner of Monsieur Tricot. For my fashion work I of course use wool a lot; this is for me one of the key fabrics which I use. I mostly use one yarn in several different ways of knitting and treatments in one design to get a rich look. For my lighting collection I’m currently using sailing rope because it should be weather resistant. I’m working on more warm designs which carry woollen covers, and also doing testing on how we can threat wool so it becomes weather resistant. I always try to go the extra mile…
Where do you look for inspiration?
That’s a good question, for which I don’t have one firm answer, and I also don’t want to have this. To me it cannot be defined by specific things, it is a constant trip. It can be a smell, a vibe which is present at a party, something my mom is wearing, a uniform, a clock in the railway station…
What makes you choose wool over other fibres?
The fact that it can be treated, washed and boiled in lots of different ways is for me one of the most important reasons. Next to this is the rich hand feel and look of wool.
How do you source wool?
Mainly by visiting the yarn fair Pitti Filati in Florence.
Are there any plans to introduce more wool into your collection?
Yes, for Monsieur Tricot we are working on several designs which contain wool. My vision is that knitwear will be much more integrated in our daily life, not just in fashion, and I need some help with that. That’s where nice yarns come in handy.
What does 2015 hold for you?
We are launching new designs with Monsieur Tricot, but I’m not in a situation where I can tell you more, besides the fact that wool will be used…
What is your opinion about The Campaign for Wool and your participation in Wool Week?
They highlight the use of more natural yarns and to get more comfort by using natural woollen yarns, which I’m completely in favour of. When I was asked to participate, I didn’t hesitate. Of course I want to be a part of this. This is something I do every day, and for me it is a way of living.
Wool Object for Wool Week Antwerp
For Wool Week I created a Special Edition. The design is based on the open-knitted punk jumpers from The Seventies.
Three varied yarns are used that are single processed and twisted. The combination of the experimental knitting and the subtle reflections are distinctive for Monsieur Tricot.
The yarns used are: Fine yarn of 90%wool/10% linen, thick round yarn of 100% wool and a thick/thin mixed open yarn of 100% wool.
Curator of the Wool Week exhibition, freelance journalist Veerle Windels on Ilia Eckhardt:
Sigi grew up in Antwerp, in a very creative family, where knitting was essential to the household. For more than forty years, his mother Hilde Frunt worked for Belgian fashion designers, experimenting with knitwear. Sigi got to know designers like Raf Simons, Dries Van Noten, Ann Demeulemeester and Walter Van Beirendonck from an early age on and got fascinated by their world. He learned from his mother, but added to that know-how a technical knitwear study, combining his passion with a job of visual merchandiser. Ever since, he’s been working on several knitwear projects, the biggest to date being Monsieur Tricot, a collection of light objects.