NYC-based “yarn bomber” Olek
returned to her native Poland last month where she completed her largest project to date: covering an entire train in technicolor fibers
. While her work may be the most talked-about crochet project in years, the hooked yarn technique is enjoying a moment not only in public art but also in fashion and home decor, as independent artisans modernize the folksy craft.
Comfort is increasingly in vogue, as evidenced by the ubiquity of Birkenstocks on the normally well-heeled feet of noted style editors
. Tapping into the trend towards flat-soled shoes is Painted Bird
, a SoCal footwear brand specializing in hand-crocheted flats. Brand co-founder Jennifer Samson first discovered the shoes while sourcing textiles for her interior design business. The colorful kicks, which are designed in California and made in India by a local artisan, feature uppers woven from rayon/silk yarn in varying styles (ankle laces
, simple flats
), patterns (chevron stripes
, tribal triangles
) and color schemes (turquoise and taupe
, red and pink
This past Spring LA-based design retailer Poketo
started hosting creative workshops at its Downtown store. The ongoing series kicked off with an amigurumi class taught by maker Cheryl Cambras
. Cambras, when she’s not instructing students in the Japanese fad of crocheted stuffed animals, applies her elaborate needlework to wearable art and home accents. Indeed, as part of an ongoing partnership with fellow LA designer Jennifer Parry Dodge
, her crochet has been used in Dodge’s Ermie
line of round pillows
, half-moon clutches, and striped drawstring sacks. Contemporary colorways and details like elegant tassels and beads successfully distance the work from yesteryear’s granny squares.
The passage of Labor Day aside, summer isn’t quite over. With at least a month of beach season remaining, sun worshippers still will be suiting up
in as little material as possible. Sustainable designer Ambika Conroy’s eponymous line of crocheted swimwear
may offer the perfect transitional suits for early fall poolside lounging. The body-confident styles, available in both bikinis and barely-there one-pieces, are crocheted from cotton yarn that contains elastic to give it the stretch necessary to prevent sagging. Stitched tightly enough to not require lining, the Sports Illustrated-worthy
suits are even adequately durable for swimming
and other water sports.