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The Inspiration Behind the Brand – Meet Stacy Charles

Stacy_portrait10-13 (1)My life’s work exists at the intersection where fashion and fiber meet and I have a long-standing love affair with fiber and texture. As I look back on my early days of hand weaving or reach back even further to joining my aunt and uncle in their hand knitting business in New York City’s garment district, I am reminded of just how gloriously knitwear fashion continues to shape my world.

I love textiles—the unique character of woven fiber, the beautiful stories that can be told with color, and the enormous dedication, passion, and creativity required to pull those elements together to create fashion. As I continue my journey, I look forward to sharing it with you, which is why I could not be more excited at the launch of our new fashion-focused blog space.

I believe in quality and craftsmanship. My strongest skill is probably product development, but my ability for conceptualizing a product is generously tempered by a creative “Aries” side. Balancing my artistic side with a measured, business-oriented approach has allowed me to develop a new collection twice a year for the last 30 years—and remain excited about it!

Farmhouse Hoodie with Inspirations
The Farmhouse Hoodie from Tahki Yarns Knit Country (right) with its source inspirations—a tunic-length Etro sweater from FW16 (bottom left) and a casual men’s stripe-and-cable sweater

Each season I scour the runways, Women’s Wear Daily, fashion magazines, and the streets and storefronts of Manhattan for inspiration. After 30 years, I still love what I do and look forward to each new season. My process always begins with research and development, and while it may seem traditional, it is constantly evolving. The advent of new technologies and how they influence the hand knitting industry fascinated me, whether it’s new fiber blends, advancements in machinery for spinning, or novel dyeing methods. I approach our industry mindful of hand knitting’s history and anticipating the innovations of the present and future.

Tribeca Capelet with Inspirations
The Tribeca Capelet from Stacy Charles Fine Yarns Urban Knits (left) with its source inspirations—a capelet from BCBG Max Azria’s Fall 2015 collection (top right) and a stylish woman captured on the street

This blog will be my eye on fashion, the world, and all things yarn. I’m thrilled to have a trusty sidekick in this journey, Flossie Arend. Flossie and I have worked together behind the scenes on developing our fashion trends and storyboards. In addition to being a fashionista, Flossie brings a true knitter’s perspective to the creative process. Moving forward, she will be the conduit through which I share my musings and discoveries in the world of fashion and fiber.

I can’t think of a better place to start this journey than with the launch of Tahki Stacy Charles’ new Fall 2016 Collections—Tahki Yarns Knit Country and Oh, Natural! and Stacy Charles Fine Yarns Urban Knits. Exploring and manipulating colors greatly inspired me this season—I can never get enough of stripes and bold color graphics. New versions of thin to thick or irregular stripes make a modern statement, and bold uses of color in a variety of graphic shapes look new and fresh.

Fair Isles and the innovative ways in which they could be achieved were definitely a focus. This season is all about a modern take on this traditional sweater look. I love the way this technique can be simplified by using a printed yarn carried along with a solid, creating color drama without all the effort. We used this look mostly in our Tahki Yarns brand, with inspiration from Ralph Lauren, Rag and Bone, and Vera Wang. The best example would be Knit Country’s Mountainside Poncho using Alden and Alden Print (below).

COLLAGE 2 Mountainside Poncho

From the generous and bold color-blocked fabrics of Salvatore Ferragamo, the ultra-femme shimmer of a candy-striped top from Cristiano Burani, the dizzying color static of Missoni’s trademark stripes, or Celine’s adoption of the knitter’s classic Fair Isle sweater (all below, left to right), colors and the way they could be patterned spoke to me this season, and I did my earnest best to listen.

TSC Color inspirations

All the neoclassic designs in the Urban Knits collection pay particular attention to shaping and specific details of construction (see the Tribeca Cowl at the top, for one example). Most of my inspiration this season came from Michael Kors, Proenza Schouler, and The Row. I love traditional, classic design, but as a confirmed “fashionista,” I am always looking for a modern twist. Neck shaping, fully-fashioned sleeves, short rows, and sleeve treatments turn simple sweaters into modern classics.

There were other influences, of course, but you’ll have to stay tuned to this space and browse our collections to catch them…

When you look at Tahki Stacy Charles this Fall and Winter, you should recognize the influence of current fashions in both the yarns and the garments. Like me, you’ll probably start connecting dots and seeing the inspirations everywhere! That’s our goal: to translate trends into wearable, lasting garments you’ll love to knit and can’t wait to wear.

Please join me on my fashion journey.

Stacy sign








Stacy Charles