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Flocks

by Ami Kealoha in Design on 27 March 2006

Flocks

Sweaters made by Flocks, the brainchild of Dutch fashion designer Christien Meindertma are exciting to me for a multitude of reasons. Here are two.

First, my father is Dutch and I’m always excited to meet people with obtuse Dutch names doing obtuse things with their lives. Second, in my undergraduate years, I studied agricultural journalism and worked for the World Dairy Expo. In the end, I realized I was just another urbane ‘ghetto slicker’ resigned to a Gotham life and believing everything we buy comes from a branding expert. Flocks offers the chance to reengage the elegance of raw materials.

Wool for each Flocks sweater originates from the body of a singular sheep born into a small Welsh flock. A different sweater is handknitted from each member of this family. Go to Meindertma’s beautiful black and white website with suburb typography, (because it’s Dutch of course), and you can meet each sheep and the sweater made from his or her coat. The final product maintains the original color of the animal’s coat thus ‘personifying’ what you wear. (Each comes with a 'passport', a photo of the sheep, and a rug.)

As far as the gestalt of her sweaters, they are flat, angular and quite Mies Van Der Rohe as opposed to chunky. Retention of unique spotting in the yarn is subtle, not calico cat. This brings Meindertma’s holistic approach and her merchandise out of the hippy lady store.

Still, brilliantly Meindertma unifies places where things are made and places where people must exist. In our time, increasingly disparate locales. She also beautifully blurs the line between fabric artist and fashion designer.

On a similar tip, Korean designer Hiyon Kim and Giles Mendel of J. Mendel have both recently played with pushing the textural boundaries of wool. It goes without saying Flocks is closer to the heart of someone concerned about animal-to-human relationships within biosystematics.

by Kristopher Irizarry

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