How Designer Dylan Uscher Made Knitwear Relevant Again

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The night before the Ezra Constantine show at Toronto Fashion Week, Dylan Uscher sat in his apartment with his knitting needles and yarn as he painstakingly applied the finishing touches on each of his handmade knitwear pieces.

“It’s a little crazy”, he said, laughing. “Some of these pieces are going on a runway tomorrow!”

Uscher is the creative mastermind behind DylaniumKnits, a brand of one-of-a-kind knitwear that he designs, markets, and knits by hand. He marries the craft of knitting with fashion, combining innovative knitting techniques and fashion trends.

His talent has not gone unnoticed in the Toronto fashion world. In the past year, Uscher has gone from knitting enthusiast to sought-after craftsman and designer.

Uscher learned to knit six years ago when he and a friend were stuck in traffic on a bus headed to downtown Toronto. His friend had knitting needles and yarn with her, and to kill some time, Uscher asked her to teach him the basics.

He took to the hobby quickly and taught himself the craft of knitting with a little help from the Internet. Before long, he was coming up with his own techniques and styles.

“I was getting kind of bored with a lot of the men’s patterns out there,” he said. “So I started designing my own pieces just for myself and for my friends.”

As word-of-mouth spread, Uscher’s hobby grew into a business and his one-of-a-kind designs took off.

Though Uscher loves knitwear accessories best, the first company he started designing private label was for a dog company, where Uscher designed sweaters for pugs and French and English Bulldogs.

“They were really cute and adorable, and I actually think the sweaters were quite sharp,” he said, laughing. “But I do much prefer designing for people.”

Uscher has a Masters Degree in linguistics from the University of Toronto and sees the parallels in these seemingly unrelated interests. For Uscher, they bridge analytical patterns and creativity together.

“Knitting allows you to be really creative, but the actual process of putting it together is extremely logical,” he said. “I love being able to work out problems. I’m kind of a nerd in that sense.”

Last week’s Greta Constantine show featured five of Uscher’s chunky knit pieces. Before the show, had no idea how the models were going to be styled or who would be wearing what.

He was surprised and thrilled when world-renowned model Tara Gill opened the show wearing one of his pieces.

“I had no idea she was even going to be there, let alone wearing my piece in the first look of a hugely anticipated show.” he said. “It was really exciting.”

As DylaniumKnits grows, Uscher is careful to maintain an ethical fair-trade model in his work. He emphasises the handcrafted quality of his pieces and uses fibres from locally produced, sustainable small-businesses and tries to maintain an ethical fair-trade model in his work.

“It’s really important for us to have a perspective on where the things in our lives come from,” he said. “The environment and the people that everything comes from should be treated properly.”

Uscher is currently working on a collection in collaboration with designer David C. Wigley for Fashion Arts Toronto at the end of April. He is also looking forward to launching a small line of accessories featuring chunky knits, as well as leather-knit jewelery and accessories.

Check out Dylan Uscher’s designs at DylaniumKnits.com

 
 

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