“I’m a massive dancehall fan and have spent a fair bit of time in the Caribbean, mainly Jamaica, so dancehall and Rastafarian culture are big influences,” explains Luci Wilden over email.
Perhaps you’re on the search for a lit get up ahead of Lovebox or the Lambeth Country Show (in which case you’ll sadly be defeated on account of poor timing), but with Notting Hill carnival a safe six weeks away – likewise a bunch of other relevant parties across the country and beyond – Wilden’s Knots & Vibes label might well be the answer to your sartorial prayers.
“I’ve been taking orders for a couple of months now,” she continues, “although officially the site only launched a couple of weeks ago after shooting the first look book.” An exciting one woman operation, said look book, pictured above, was lensed by the designer, while the brightly coloured backdrop (her south London garden), she dressed and painted too.
“The whole project was my baby,” she asserts, “The models are Veronica Asensoafriye, Sade Jo and Mina Kaveh (an intern from Wilden’s day job, someone she found on Instagram and a friend of a friend, respectively). It was important to me to use a variety of ‘real’ girls, not professional models. The actual shoot was so much fun – none of the girls had met before but we all clicked and before we knew it we were having a mini carnival at 11 in the morning!”
Tapping into a culture elsewhere absorbed by Savannah Baker (you may or may not have copped a pair of socks from the stylist’s Pum Pum Gyals label last summer) and photographer Tyrone Lebon, whose lens fell on Jamaica for Stüssy’s SS16 campaign, as it stands the Knots & Vibes line-up is comprised of a series of crotched tops and bralets, while the site also boasts customising and bikinis have been approached, though according to Luci’s Instagram the latter are a drag to knit.
“Initially I just wanted to make things for myself – things I couldn’t find anywhere else – but I had so many people asking me to make them things,” she recalls of the beginning. “The brand is mainly aimed at like-minded people that are into Caribbean culture – no matter their background – but since crotchet has become such a big trend it’s really opened up.”
Arriving in tandem with Edie Campbell and Christabel MacGreevey’s Itchy Scratchy Patchy label, Hunter’s patch fronted SS16 collection and a collectively renewed interest in customisation, thanks to clever marketing from the mainstream, a nostalgia for the noughties and, we’d like to think, a politically aware youth culture, DIY aesthetics are, as Wilden suggests, a big trend in 2016. What’s the reasoning?
“Everyone wants something that no one else has, there’s something very special about having something that’s one of a kind. It’s also an amazing way to turn something old into something new,” she suggests. “Plus upcycling reduces consumer waste and in turn, our carbon footprint has a positive effect on the environment.”
Acquiring the necessary skills courtesy of YouTube coupled with ample self-determination, she recently custom made an outfit for the New York based DJ-cum-director-cum-model Vashtie (Insta stats: 2,200 posts, 313k followers), while Riri is the dream Knots & Vibes poster girl: "Hit me up gyal!"