Marie Leiknes puts a Spin on Knit

This week gave us folk up in Edinburgh a glimpse of that elusive Scottish sunshine, and the fashionably dressed also stopped hiding under their raincoats.  Alex and I set off on a great adventure around the city’s hipster haunts, hoping to run into some uniquely styled people, and get some snapshots of what’s current in Edinburgh fashion. Along the way we came across all sort of great style. I never really picked up on how important what we wear is to us as individuals. Appearance is the first and foremost way that we express ourselves, and oftentimes it seems we put effort into minute subtleties that would go unnoticed unless you were really looking.

I’d like to draw attention to a talented knitwear designer, fresh out of Edinburgh College of Art. Her name is Marie Leiknes. Marie puts her own spin on knit (haha, I know I’m so funny), by creating highly versatile, boldly coloured and intricately textured pieces, that one could probably best describe as graphic knitwear. She’s already had notable success with her bold, hand-knitted, LEIK beanies – see her wearing and loving them in the photo below. She also has further plans to make quirky, handmade knitwear accessible to everyone with a new product called knit kits; everything you need to make your own knitted fashion accessory. Here she answers a few questions about her inspiration, work and future plans:

What made you decide to specialise in knitwear?

I have been knitting since I was a child, and was taught by my mother, grandmother and great-grandmother in different crafts. What inspires me most is creating the fabric and texture as well as the garment. The technical side of knitwear is my main passion, how things are made and how I can bring attention to the background of knitwear within my designs.

Where did your inspiration for your latest collection come from?

‘Heim’ Autumn/Winter 2012 was based on identity and what we call home. I grew up in Zimbabwe, Minnesotaand originally I am from Norway. I looked at what I consider home since I have had many homes while growing up. My colour inspiration came from fishing trips and the equipment and ropes that we use back in Norway. I wanted my collection to bring out a positive emotion from the wearer with bright colours and fun prints. (The prints are by Philippa Hill.) My goal was to intrigue people with my knitwear and have them question how these pieces were made.

Gola’s focus over the next few weeks is to uncover talent that has been born in Britain, what does this mean to you? What made you choose to study and live in Edinburgh?

I think there are loads of interesting fashion designers from Britain and working here, especially in knitwear. Being inspired by current surroundings and my past is important in my work; I find Edinburgh really exciting place to work creatively in!

Where do you think the future will take you? Are you working on any interesting or noteworthy projects at the moment?

I am about to begin an MSc Management course at the Edinburgh University. I find the business side of fashion very interesting and my big dream is to run my own knitwear label. I hope that this business course will help me get closer to my dream!

What film do you think has the best fashion in it?

That’s a hard question! I have seen Marie Antoinette loads of times, just for the colourful costumes and hairstyles. Chocolate has beautiful clothes; I love all the dresses Vianne Rocher wears. At the top of my head that’s all I can think of

To see some more of Marie’s beautiful pieces, please see her website here and look out for her LEIK knitwear label!


– Joanna Lisowiec

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About Joanna Lisowiec

Hello! I’m excited to be representing Gola as a student ambassador, and help them in their mission to discover and recognize Britain’s emerging, creative talents. I’m currently an illustration student at the Edinburgh College of Art. I love what I do and nothing makes me happier than working hard and being totally immersed in an idea. I like adventures and a lot of the work I do is about journeys, exploring cool places and meeting interesting people. Between Scotland’s wild, highland landscapes and a vibrant city full of history, there's a lot to be inspired by.

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