Though not related by blood, the SIBLING trio forms a bond as tight as the closest of families. A collaboration between Joe Bates, Sid Bryan and Cozette McCreery, the designers come from Leicester, Yorkshire and London respectively. Launching SIBLING eight years ago, then storming onto the womenswear scene in AW12 with SISTER, the trio says you can expect “colour, humour, sparkle and that everything will be knitted” throughout each collection.
Every season SIBLING develops a Fair Isle, working with a factory in Scotland which Sid says he has been working with for 20 years. Working with 100 per cent lambswool from Z Hinchcliffe, SIBLING’s Fair Isle for AW15 continues to push the boundaries.
“We always take very traditional Fair Isle references which we transform and modernise by adding in zigzag and leopard, and obviously playing with colour; the key with Fair Isle is getting the colour balance right as you can play with so many colours in one crazy pattern,” explains Sid.
Sourcing yarns from Zegna Baruffa and Biella yarn by Südwolle, SIBLING is using 100 per cent Merino wool within four groups of its commercial AW15 collection, along with the lambswool from Z Hinchcliffe for its Fair Isle.
SIBLING’s AW15 womenswear collection includes full Milano structured colour block knits, open hand worked "hairpin crochet” rib combo, SIBLING signature “slogan” sweaters and bi-colour double layer crochet mesh. One motif Merino sweater yells CALL ME – an homage to Blondie but, according to the trio, also the over-eager shout out of the SIBLING LC:M boys to these unobtainable cool girls.
With innovation always at the forefront, SIBLING has created unique Merino diamond mesh fabric in Zegna Baruffa yarns which have been hand-embellished with a combination of differing length bugle beads, faceted crystals and seed beads which created a ‘nail’ effect mesh. By inserting panels of Merino wool crochet patterns, SIBLING has invented new geo-crochet patterns, juxtaposed though hand-worked crochet pure Merino with modern unexpected fabrics such as Latex. And by hand-working hairpin lace and crochet, SIBLING has created new volume to knitted gowns, successfully presenting traditional garments in an ultra-modern way.
“One of the fabrics which we started working with in menswear – and it’s quite a difficult fabric to work with – is Latex. We’ve continued it into the womenswear and the challenge was how to make it work with the knit and how to make it become a part of the knit.”
Hand-punching holes into the Latex and then Swiss darning with Baruffa’s 100 per cent Merino wool, SIBLING was able to “knit off” the fabrics so it looks integral and part of the fabric.
“One of the key things is to make fabrics integral to one another as opposed to looking stuck on. This fabric moves; there’s lots of stretch and drape – that’s the beauty of knitting.”
Even before the SIBLING three became internationally renowned fashion designers, wool has been an intrinsic part of their life.
“When I was little my neighbours owned a wool shop in my village and I used to go and hang out there thinking I was very cool, so I was introduced to wool from a very young age,” says Sid.
Cozette recalls knitting with her mother and grand-mother when she was a young girl, and so it came as no surprise when SIBLING formed that their focus would be on producing quality knitwear apparel with a modern twist.
“We’re a knitwear brand and have been from the beginning, so it’s intrinsic to what we do, and wool’s been a vital part from the beginning,” the trio says.
“Sibling is all about colour. We indulge colour in colour every season and try to push colour as much as we can.”
Pushing the boundaries of common techniques is a common theme in every collection SIBLING produces, and their AW15 collection is no different, with very traditional crochet references that are then completely modernised.
“We experiment and push the boundaries of materials constantly, that’s what we do; it’s a really intrinsic part of the show so I hope we inspire wool. We’re so focused on the technique and the craft of knitting and how we can move that and push that forward all the time and we combine material and rejuvenate techniques.
“SIBLING is proud to have been chosen to continue to represent The Woolmark Company, having won the European Regional of International Woolmark Prize previously,” said Bates, Bryan and McCreery. “We know that Woolmark’s worldwide customer base understands the prestige attached to clothes tagged with the familiar Woolmark logo.
“Having the Woolmark logo attached to your clothing is a huge guarantee that the product is great quality, that it’s been tested, that the yarns are all great.”