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Warmi Knits
Whimsical folklore and animal imagery mark Warmi's latest knitwear collection
by Zeva Bellel
on 21 January 2010
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Now in its second season, Warmi continues to blend contemporary style with indigenous craftsmanship. A Franco-Colombian artisinal fashion label, each collection is designed by the brand's Colombian-born, Paris-based founder, Sylvia Toth, then produced in a remote mountainous village in Northern Colombia by a cooperative of women weavers. Seemingly a funky new diminutive for “warm,” the name Warmi means “woman” in Quechua, one of the last living indigenous languages of the Andean region.

“The artisanal traditions in Colombia are very rich,” explains Toth, who discovered her weaving dream team at a native crafts festival during one of her frequent trips home. “Working with these women brings me back to my roots and builds a link between the two cultures,” says Toth who travels to Tausa several times a years to weave with the women and soak up the local color and traditions in order to feed it back into her designs.

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Her whimsical animals motifs, for example, pay homage to masks worn during the annual Carnaval de Barranquilla. Inspired by their wild colors and graphics, she invents new species for her women to stitch, infusing her knits with a playful, folklore wonder.

In addition to her meticulously stitched graphics are sculptural works that blend art and fashion. “I think of the designs as objects, not clothes, because my background is in design, not fashion,” says Toth who layers organic forms, like leaves in her Eva Bolera, or waves in her Capeline Pauline, to build irregular shapes and volumes.

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From complex stitching and embroidered detailing to intricate assemblage, each weaver in the cooperative has her own particular strength. Toth not only designs with each women in mind, she also encourages them to flaunt their personal style, resulting in a collection ripe with charming irregularities and individual quirks.

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In additional to their subtle stylistic signatures, each baby angora, naturally-dyed design is tagged with the weaver’s name and the number of hours she spent making it. Warmi knits can be found at stores worldwide, prices span €50-500.

See more images after the jump.

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