From pixel art to knitted pants

Kangan Institute’s fashion design student Luisa Marrollo has done what many fashionistas dream of: transform a visual concept into wearable art.

During the 2020 Melbourne Fashion Week Luisa showcased an eye-catching ensemble that featured a pair of bell bottom knitted pants, a one-of-a-kind creation produced at Kangan Institute’s Textile and Fashion Hub.

Located at Cremorne campus, the Textile and Fashion Hub offers sampling and short run manufacturing services, industry relevant training courses for designers and small businesses as well as customised industry training for manufacturers, with Kangan Institute students also welcome to access the facility.

Luisa’s pants involved a two-part process – first, the concept was developed on the computer, then the Hub’s technical staff brought the design to life using the industrial Shima knitting machine.   

“Using Photoshop, I created a grid where each square represented a single stitch, I coloured the ‘stitches’ to define the cable pattern. It was like making a pixel artwork. I sent it to the Hub technician, Jimmy, who translated my pixel design into actual knit stitches,” she said.

“The knitting time only took about an hour, with another hour for washing and drying, and another hour to attach the waistband with the linking machine.”

Kangan Institute’s fashion lead educator Vicki Nicola said the facility enables students to tap into leading edge on-campus facilities to produce their designs while networking with industry professionals.  

“The Hub is the missing link between the birth of a creative concept, and its final emergence as a finished product,” said Ms Nicola.

“Students have a unique opportunity bring their designs to life using state-of-the-art knitting and printing facilities at the Hub, with full-time technicians available to support them every step of the way.

“Students also gain valuable experience in working within a real-world industry manufacturing environment around other established designers and building important industry connections. This alignment of industry and education is a unique offering at the Textile and Fashion Hub and an exceptional advantage for our students.”

For Luisa, access to the Textile and Fashion Hub enabled her to explore new possibilities while designing her collection.

“The Textile and Fashion Hub gives students a chance to explore alternative methods of creating garments, working outside the realm of ‘cut and sew’ fashion. In addition to the knitting machines, the Hub also have a laser-cutter, fabric printer and an embroidery machine. These machines are a great asset for any designer,” said Luisa.

“The process to develop my knit pant was unlike any that I had encountered. Thorough communication between myself and the Hub’s team was essential. My experience at the Textile and Fashion Hub is so valuable, I gained insight into a new facet of the fashion Industry and a new pathway emerged.”

Luisa completed her fashion studies this year and has since interned with Francie, an ethically-minded Melbourne based knitwear designer, and gained employment as a production assistant for the Future from Waste LAB, a collaborative project with select Australian fashion brands and textile recycling facility UPPAREL.

Once part of her graduate collection, Luisa’s knitted pants live on today as a wardrobe staple.

“I’ve loved wearing them during the cold, winter lockdowns and on the occasions when I’ve worn them out, I’ve had a few compliments too!” she shares.

The Textile and Fashion Hub offers Stoll CMS and Shima Seiki MACH2S knitting machines, as well as the GT-541 Brother digital print machine. The facility is accredited by Ethical Clothing Australia in alignment with Kangan Institute’s sustainable focus in its fashion programs. Learn more about our Fashion courses here.

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