Posted on May 23, 2012 by Rex
“I want to knit the earth a jumper so it can hug us all, all day.”
Every once in a while you come across fashion with a soul. Cynthia Thai’s designs definitely embody soul, and she, in addition, loves a little gangsta. “Nobody ever expects this but I LOVE HIP-HOP/RAP so I’m enjoying it (PRIMO!) all!”
Cynthia Thai’s work became apparent to me through a friend, prior to her graduation of the Fashion Design Studio at Ultimo TAFE. With such alumni as Dion Lee, Akira Isogawa and Michael Lo Sordo, it’s no surprise that the school continues to birth such incredible Australian designers.
Cynthia (Ctee) was chosen to show in the Innovators show at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Australia, earlier in May.
Ctee has explored knitting with the incorporation of beads, alluding to the aesthetic of chains. You will salivate over her gelato-esque colour palette and long to wear her knitted dresses slip-less. In her own words “If you were ever in the need for heavily beaded garments, you would know where to look.”
Cynthia was kind enough to take some time out of her schedule to talk to me, as follows:
REX: You showed in the Innovators show at MBFWA. How did it feel? I read on your tumblr even your brother was shaking for you!
CTEE: It was so exciting! The hours before were definitely crazy! I decided to make a new knit dress the Friday before so I was fitting it and sewing the snaps right before the show! It was a great learning experience though. I kind of want to do it every year! I also felt really proud too, all my friends and family came out to watch so it was a great feeling!
Ha ha, my brother was great; he showed me the video he took from where he was sitting and said that it was a bit shaky cause he was really nervous for me. Ha ha, too cute. He also was threading beads for me (to later knit) on the way to school and during recess and lunch, best brother ever!
Now that you have graduated the Fashion Studio at Ultimo TAFE, what are your plans?
I think I’ve set my mind on eventually completing a Masters in Knitwear! I’m just imaging the exposure to the machines and knowledge that they have would, and I am just salivating at the though! I am way too excited! But for the rest of this year I’m just going to work (and save), intern and enjoy my time off! Definitely going to keep knitting and beading though- I just ordered another 3 kilos of beads and 7 kilos of yarn! I might have a problem… I’m currently half way through knitting a surprise blue spike beaded kind of mini cross body satchel for one of my friends, but I’ve already told her, I’m horrible at surprises.
When did knitwear become such a large element of what you do?
It really all started about a year ago now, before which point I had never knitted a garment in my life! I knew how to knit but never really knitted anything of any substance, I never had enough patience. I knitted each and every single garment so it was a huge learning curve. Then when I got my knitting machine (unfortunately can’t knit he beaded pieces), the amazing Hellen from my amazing internship at Maille was a huge help! She’s let me borrow all these books for me to go home and study techniques to do on my machine and anything I couldn’t find in the books I can just ask! It’s amazing. I love that I am creating that fabric as well so nobody else has the same thing!
What inspired your collection?
I was inspired by the artwork, The Garden of Earthly Delights by Bosch. I was greatly influenced by the colours and everything kind of came from that, but I kinda also believe that fate brought it all together. My final year was a really lucky one – I should have bought more lotto tickets! Ha ha.
Any plans you can reveal for your brand in the future?
I’m definitely going to keep knitting and documenting it and all my journeys on my blog! I’m also going to get into making more bags- the price points are much more reasonable than any of the garments! I also want to do home wares- but it would be really only aesthetically pleasing, I can’t say lying on a spiked bead knitted cushion would be too comfortable. But I think a pair of knitted orange (or any colour really) spiked bead cushion would look amazing on someone’s couch! ha ha.
Join her world here: ctee.tumblr.com