Wool Week Belgium – Kim Stumpf
The Campaign for Wool has been talking to Kim Stumpf, who designed a piece from wool for the exhibition at the WM Gallery in Antwerp as part of Wool Week in Belgium.
Please tell us a little about yourself and how your designs utilize wool?
The love for wool was created during a trip to Italy. In 2006, my file appealed to the jury during the fashion competition ITS/Trieste. I was selected by the Linea Piu mills to build a display for their winter exhibit during Pitti Filati, in Firenze.
I got to select yarns to my heart’s content and was soon thereafter sent all the raw materials, with which I could immediately get to work. I used quite a few experimental techniques here, such as knotting, braiding, weaving, crochet, knitting and shrinking. Given that it was for a sponsor, there was an unlimited budget, and I could do what I wanted, and later, in their factory, I had carte blanche and I got to work with the local craftspeople.
I felt a great freedom, which was very inspiring in the use of wool. I knit cardigans by hand and mixed these with furs and leather. I used big woollen cords that I prewashed and allowed to shrink.
Talking about my current collections, I often go to work with a mix of materials and yarns in one design. The contrast can be very invigorating. NI. The silver raincoat (high-tech fabric) in combination with a roughly, crocheted woollen stole, consisting of 4 different yarns.
Where do you look for inspiration?
Inspiration is present everywhere, all the time. I primarily need peace and serenity in order to be receptive to the inspiring stimuli “that seep in”. Friends, with their colourful stories and experiences, can also be very nourishing; when watching a film, I especially pay attention to the music, the composition and the rhythm of the scenes.
Hearing experimental, edgy music during night-time radio programs. Pausing in silence is also very inspiring. A visit to the factory, seeing artisanal techniques. Also during travel abroad, my senses are extra-open to new ideas. When people are taken out of their context, they suddenly see more possibilities.
What makes you choose wool over other fibres?
It stands for quality and solidity, as well as timelessness.
As far as the choice for knitting is concerned: one fabric has 100 possibilities. One thread has 1000 possibilities.
Wool has a very touchable aspect; it exhales a certain “naturalness.” It feels like a second skin. And it has a very cosy aspect, as well as “cool wool” qualities in the summer.
How do you source wool?
Visiting Pitti Filati and my agent/suppliers in Belgium with whom I work.
Are there any plans to introduce more wool in to your collection?
Yes, a complete knitted collection in wool/natural qualities, in combination with woven mantels.
What is your opinion about The Campaign for Wool and your participation in Wool Week?
I think it’s a fantastic idea for bringing extra attention to a natural product like wool.
It’s a beautiful material with many versatile facets. You can process it from extra-fine to very rough to very long-haired brushing.
What does 2015 hold for you?
The focus on knitwear with an extra collection in collaboration with a new supplier.
This long winter COAT is knitted from 100% Wool and SHOWS the important inspiration of my new winter collection “Rock ‘n Roll Landscape” (the high tech woven fabrics in combination with artisanal soft knits). Special thanks to Cousy BVBA.
Curator of the Wool Week expo, freelance journalist Veerle Windels:
Kim Stumpf graduated from La Cambre in 2007. She launched her own collection in 2011, coming up with hand knitted designs, scarves and long coats. Her avant-garde take on wool is sold internationally and in her own store in Antwerp, where the designer revels in meeting her clients personally.