Sustainability, movement and storytelling: Knitwear student Florian Eisele on finding new ways to push his craft
Florian Eisele was a ballet dancer for 13 years before deciding to commit to his passion for textile design but it was only after he moved to London to complete his A-levels in fashion and textile design that he first became interested in knitting. "I'm always so impatient with hand knitting, but when I saw this machine [during my A-levels] I loved it – and I suddenly became so patient,” he recalls.
What started as an interest in the way the body moved evolved into a journey of exploring how movement relates to fashion textiles. Originally from Munich, with an eye on Paris, he decided to stay in the fashion capital that is London, largely because of its creative and innovative spirit. With some knowledge about textile design and high aspirations for his craft, he eventually came to London College of Fashion (LCF) to further develop his skills through the College’s BA Fashion Textiles: Knit course.
“The creative community is so good here,” he says. “You have so many young, evolving artists and creatives and you can literally just [be playful] and collaborate. Everyone is so open, you always meet new people, there are so many events going on.”
His craft centres around expressing his emotions through the production and presentation of textiles and garments, particularly knitting. With its repetitive motions and comfort of textures, which he feels allow him to channel this sensuality through fashion.
“You can just start with yarn – literally just choose the fibre and the colour – and then from there, you can fully create your own fabric. You get to fully explore your own inspiration from a pattern you developed and combine it with the colours you wanted [to] create a garment with,” he explains.
“It needs a lot of craftsmanship, so when it’s done well, it’s also quite ethical because it needs that skill and time, rather than if it’s just done very fast and poorly and can’t last a [lifetime].”
Working on a piece from start to finish allows Florian to tell a story in his own way. One of his final projects captures the experience of exiting the Covid-19 lockdowns and finally feeling settled with yourself.
“It was about exploring an emotion and asking myself how I could express that through my fabrics and garments. Because I dedicated a lot of my time to dancing, I wanted to explore that medium as well, so I collaborated with 2 dancers and created ‘movement garments’ for them.”
He explains how this project reinforced his desire to put collaboration at the heart of his future work. Be this learning from different designers or working from a multimedia perspective, Florian’s next step will be to push his practice to unexpected territories.
“I think London College of Fashion and the course really supported me in becoming an individual creator. So, while looking for a day-job, I would also like to have something for myself and work with other designers on collaborations,” he says.
It was London’s creativity, freedom and inclusivity, combined with LCF’s focus on making your craft sustainable, which made Florian stay in the city and explore his creativity – now he seeks to ground his work in the exact same experiences which so clearly shined through for him while studying at LCF.
“There’s this element of storytelling [with knitwear], having someone working on that piece from start to finish; that’s part of what captured me and wants me to do more all the time.”
“I still can’t think about anything else other than knitting.”
Flo is now working at Burberry as a knitwear product developer for the Runway team.