Emerging Designer Profile: Cecilia Ajayi

Recently graduating from Brighton University, new knitwear designer Cecilia Ajayi’s collection has a very unique take on knitted textiles.  She works by engaging with cubist characteristics such as fragmentation, gradual colour blends and multiple views. Her aim with her collection is to investigate how cubist characteristics can be developed through the medium of knitting. Her unusual knitwear designs has meant that she has won a number of prestigious awards such as ‘The Clothworkers Foundation Award’ as well as winning first prize in a collaboration project with Nano Force.

Your designs are inspired by Cubist art, who are your favourite Cubist artists?

Yes I have many, such as Pablo Picasso, Jean Metzinger and Albert Gleizes. Cubist art and in-particular their use of fragmented structures has truly allowed me to revaluate how textiles can be developed and pushed further.

Being a recent graduate, what inspired you to start out on your own, rather than working with established designers first?

I have always known that I wanted to be in the fashion industry but I wasn’t quite sure I wanted to start my own label. However as part of my degree course at Brighton University I had to create a business plan; It was from there that I started thinking how this could become a reality. My graduate collection also gave me the confidence that this is the direction that I should be heading towards.

Do you feel pressured to constantly create something new and unique to stand out from your peers in the industry?

To a certain extent, but I try not to focus too much on that side of the industry, I just try to stay true to my way of working, concentrating on the textiles and the technique. Hopefully my work will speak for itself and stand out.

 You worked with Knitwear DesignerJuliana Sissions at the V&A Museum, how did this help you with your work?

Working for Juliana at the Victoria and Albert Museum was sensational. It not only increased my passion for art and the endless possibilities which can be taken from it, but it also gave me a clearer understanding of how to fuse art with contemporary textiles.

What made you choose to specialise in knitwear?

Initially I wasn’t too keen on knitwear as I always had that stereotypical view of knitwear being something plain, boring and unfashionable. But during rotation in my first year of University, I realised the sculptural, three dimensional nature and qualities of knitwear. As I was quite interested in constructed textiles I began finding new ways of developing the technical ability of knitwear, it was from there that my passion for knitwear began.

Where can we expect to see Cecilia Ajayi being sold in the future?

I would love and hope to see myself selling in places such as Browns, Pollyanna boutique, Ivo Milan – radical fashion and Ministry of fashion.

If you could describe your collection in three words, what would they be?

Conceptual, Sculptural and Radical.

 

To keep up to date with Cecilia and to see more of her work visit her website here.

WORDS: NICOLA ROYLE

ILLUSTRATION: NICOLA O’PREY