Q&A with Jenny Kee
1985: Australian Fashion Design Book (Photo: Phillip Morris)
Known for her fusion of fashion and art, acclaimed Australian artist and designer Jenny Kee has been adored the world over for her iconic knitwear inspired by the flora and fauna of Australia.
Jenny Kee was the first designer to express iconic Australiana references in knitwear and it continues to feel charmingly suited today as it did all those years ago.
A proud supporter of the Campaign for Wool, her new Woolmark-certified collection A New Beginning uses 100% Australian Merino wool and is available to buy online at www.jennykee.com
1. Please tell us a little about yourselves and how your day to day life involves wool.
I am a designer who lives in Blue Mountains, NSW. I wear my woollen jumpers, beanies, mittens, socks, leggings, ponchos and Ugg boots every day in winter; sleep with wool blankets and doonas; use hand-knitted wool tea cosies and walk on my own design wool carpets. Wool is part of my life!
1978: Opal and Uni Oz (Photo: Grant Matthews)
2. What does the Campaign for Wool mean to your brand?
Campaign for Wool promotes what I design – woollen knitwear. We are a perfect match!
3. How does using woollen cloths differ to man-made materials?
Wool is a living, breathing fibre. No other fibre warms me in same way as wool.
2015: Blinky knit (Photo: Georges Antoni)
4. Why is it important to support initiatives such as Campaign For Wool?
We want this natural product to live forever. It’s sustainable and renewable and in harmony with this precious environment.
5. How does wool inspire your design/merchandising team?
The very first designs I ever did in 1974 used wool. I was inspired to design something that was unique to Australia – so Australian wool hand-knitted with Australian motifs into big warm jumpers and cardies! And now they are reborn with A New Beginning!
6. What lies at the heart of your brand?
A timeless quality and the knowledge that granny’s knits, if they are looked after, can continue to be worn through many generations because wool lasts!
1988: Peace (Photo: Grant Matthews)
7. How would you describe your brand in 3 words?
Original, vibrant and quality.
8. What is your favourite woollen item from your latest collection and why?
My JK knit – it saved my 22-month-old daughter’s life back in 1977. I was wearing it when we were in the Granville train crash and my cardie was wrapped around her and was her protection.
9. What’s your ideal winter outfit from your current collection?
Wearing my Oz Collage Cardie with my black and white peace scarf, beanie and mittens. Love the strong OZ graphics!
10. Why do you love working with wool?
I love nature and wool is natural! It’s in harmony with my ideal of living close to the earth – live simply so others may simply live. Wool is pure – the perfect fibre!
2015: Peace knit and accessories (Photo: Georges Antoni)