Neon knit of dreams: These Irish handmade pieces offer an alternative to fast fashion 4 months ago

Neon knit of dreams: These Irish handmade pieces offer an alternative to fast fashion

"I hope I can continue to grow the brand and maintain a slow, sustainable aspect."

Priyanka Chopra Jonas recently shared an image of herself wearing a stunning turtle-neck jumper that was knitted for her by her mother. This type of fashion content is, in my opinion, exactly what we need not only because it's indisputably wholesome, but it also serves as a reminder that we don't need to be wearing the latest collections from fast fashion outlets to make a statement.

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So, what is it about a hand-knit garment that brings us so much joy? Is it the laborious nature of the workmanship? Knowing you'll own something that's truly one of a kind? Or the fact that knitting as a craft has been making a wondrous revival in the depths of a global pandemic?

It's probably all of the above.

In our attempts to avoid fast fashion but need to stay warm while out on our daily walks, we came across the Miss She's Got Knits Instagram page and we were instantly captivated by, not only the boldness of the pieces but the sheer joy illuminating from the creator behind the brand.

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We caught up with Karen Birney, the woman behind Miss She's Got Knits, to find out more about her business, how long it actually takes to knit a jumper and where her inspiration comes from.

Karen told us that although it came out of nowhere, it's really been years in the making, "I've always been into fashion," she explained, "styling and mixing handmade with a designer, high street and vintage and of course dressing for yourself rather than anyone else and making clothes, although it was never the plan, feels so right for me right now."

And what about the actual process of learning to knit? Well, you'll be happy to hear that comes from the greatest person of all time, the Irish mammy of course: "Our teacher had a few mammies come in every Friday in primary school to teach the class how to knit and my mam was one of them, I thought it was great having your mam in school!"

Karen lived in Vietnam for several years before returning to Dublin, right before the pandemic hit a load of wool was bought to pick up the hobby again. Karen told us she found knitting helped in the evenings early on in the pandemic as opposed to watching the news. The welcome distraction quickly flourished as people began to ask questions about the products:

"When I set up the Instagram I wasn't nervous or worried because I was just doing it to document what I was making and I had no plans for anybody to pass comment or judgement on it. I just wanted to set up a hobby site, it was just somewhere for me to put up my little creations because I didn't really think people would care."

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So, is there a favourite piece in her collection? And how long does one piece of clothing actually take to make?

"My Big Pink and My Big Sleeve jumper are my two most popular and I'd love to say that they take eight hours or I can do them in a day or two but they probably take me about fifteen to eighteen hours. It's a frighteningly long amount of time to make something like that."

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A frighteningly long time for sure, but Karen's passion for the work is clearly evident from the moment she starts speaking, she recalls working on a piece over Christmas, which became known as her hopeful jumper, "It's called The Tiny Dancer and it's a very light pink jumper with a big neon pink disk on the back of it and a hood. When I made it I was feeling all sorts of emotions with lockdown and I was thinking I'll wear it to a gig over the summer and it's now my little jumper of hope."

Speaking of hope, Karen hopes to build the business and she says she's been blown away by the support from people who are looking for more sustainable fashion options, "I hope I can continue to grow the brand, maintaining the slow, sustainable aspect, working with more Irish businesses, learning more about the craft and different processes for materials and creating something unique, modern and Irish that can travel the world!"

She may be a one-woman knitting show for now, but we're sure these knits are here to stay and also, we'll have one of everything!

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You can check out all of Karen's designs at Miss She's Got Knits here.