Designer Profile: NIT: FELT: PHRAME

Thursday, May 7, 2009

above: a close-up of the felted hem of a chiffon tunic
all images courtesy of N:F:P

NIT: FELT: PHRAME is a new womenswear label created by New York designer Gail Travis, with soft, architectural shapes which could work beautifully on their own, or layered to create an array of modern looks. I was drawn to the versatility and textures of her debut collection for Fall 2009. The muted color palette and feminine yet minimalist silhouettes owe much to her background at Calvin Klein and Shelly Steffee. Some standout pieces include a sweater with cutouts and removable arms (“modular pieces” as she calls them) and sheer chiffon tunics edged with contrasting colored felt. Keep your eye on this talented designer and read on to learn more.

“I have always been ‘crafty,’” designer Gail Travis says. “Ever since I was very small, I remember learning to knit and crochet with my grandmothers and great grandmother.” Travis, who launched her womenswear collection, NIT: FELT: PHRAME, this year, says she took a detour from her crafty childhood, graduating from Cornell with a degree in communications, before studying at FIT, Polimoda and enrolling in intensive knitwear courses in Prato, Italy. When Travis moved back to New York in 2004, she interned at Calvin Klein and Shelly Steffee and worked in design with Shelly Steffee, which had a lasting effect on her aesthetic: “Shelly has a beautiful minimalist, avant garde and feminine aesthetic; working with her for almost three years gave me a strong foundation in how I now design my collections,” she says.

above: a knit sweater with snaps for modular dressing

above: a floor-length chiffon dress

above: a sculptural knit sweater

Travis appears to draw inspiration from her previous employers, with her debut Fall 2009 collection combining knit, jersey, chiffon and felt pieces in softly geometric forms. “My design process varies from season to season,” she explains. “I use whatever tools and mediums feel right at the moment.” Usually, Travis says, she begins by draping on the dress form, using large blocks of fabric to utilize as much of the entire piece of fabric as possible to keep waste at a minimum, reminiscent of the technique of a designer she admires, Yeohlee Tang.

“With the knitwear component (NIT) of my collection, I try not only to design shapes rooted in modular components, but also the technology of various knitting machine technology,” she continues. “I have a strong architectural sense when designing knitwear and my patterns and specs often end up looking like blueprints when complete.” In contrast, Travis says the FELT component of her collection is much more organic: “This is a signature hand-felting technique in which I work with raw merino sheep hair manipulated through an all natural process that ultimately creates a new textile. Using this technique, I play with the concept of hard versus soft. For example, a wool hem in a chiffon tunic allows the chiffon to hold an A-line shape.” The third component of her collection, the PHRAME portion consists of jersey underpinnings, including leggings, bodysuits and tanks over which NIT and FELT pieces can be layered.

above: a sweater with cutouts and removable arms

above: tunic with contrasting felted hem

Due to the versatility of the pieces in the collection, Travis says that the label caters to a wide range of customers, particularly those who embrace creative dressing. “The sweaters are designed in a way so they can be worn upside down, backwards, etc. so ultimately, everyone can wear the collection pieces a little differently,” she says. “My overall goal is to inspire creativity in my customers and help make their outfit a collaborative endeavor.”

The collection is currently available at Dressing Room, a boutique for emerging designers in New York. Starting in June, pieces may be purchased from the label’s website and in August, will be available at La Bella in Long Beach, The Red Balloon in Newport Beach and Abejas in Houston.

For more information, check out the NIT: FELT: PHRAME website.

Other Designer Profiles on Dream Sequins:


Roarclothing said...

i love the tunic with felted hem. really lovely lovely clothing and photographs.
a good find!

jade - roar vintage clothing

Carlotta said...

love the cut sweater and the chiffon dress, always amazing finds!!

The Haute-Shopper said...

These clothes are beautiful. I love the combo of chiffon and felt - I'm such a sucker for different fabrics and interesting tailoring. Those cut-out pices are gorgeous as well. Can't wait for their pieces to go online - I'll definitely check them out.

Fashion Personality said...

wow! beautiful combination... chiffon tunic with felted hem. love it!

E said...

I love the idea of soft geometric forms. My fav is definitely the gray floor-length chiffon dress. The white touch softens the look so nicely.

Ashita said...

Hey! Thank you for following my blog!

I would really love your winter wear... Sydney weather is blistering cold atm :)

great finds

Couture Carrie said...

Fab review, darling! I am in love with that sweater with the removable arms!


Jennifer Nicole said...

These pieces are gorgeous. If you get a chance, let us know when the site opens for shoppers in June!

Najeema said...

Wow! I really like it all, especially the chiffon and felt piece. I have a feeling we'll be hearing more about them in the future!

Allison said...

Oooohhhh these are great! I love that they are so minimal, but can be made into very individual ensembles and configurations...basically I love it and I want some!!

Denise said...

Ooh! Thank you for this! I make felt as well so I appreciate the work that has gone into these pieces and how difficult it can be to felt trim and get chiffon to hang just right. Her pieces are lovely.

And what a coincidence, I received a mailing from one of my favourite feltmakers in the UK today showing her felted gowns and was planning a post.

You may also be interested in the work of Liz Clay, her felted boas are absolutely exquisite:

lisa said...

This is amazing work she's doing! I love the sculptural knit sweater's silhouette.

SOS! said...

the felt is very interestingly used here..
xx-LJ from SOS!

Ashita said...

I will put up some more Australian designers :D

thank you so much for your support.

Indie.Tea said...

Interesting...I'm obsessed with architectural clothing lately...

Dream Sequins said...

Wow. Thanks for the amazing response and comments!

Roarclothing, Fashion Personality: I'm in love with that tunic, too. Can't wait to buy it. Hope it's in my size :)

Carlotta: Yes yes the cutout sweater will be mine...

Haute-Shopper, Jennifer Nicole: You've got great taste. I'll let you know when the pieces go online!

E: The long grey dress is amazing as well. Very Calvin Klein-esque a la Francisco Costa, no?

Ashita: Thanks for your comment! New York weather has not been that great either...

Couture Carrie: Welcome! Seems like we'll be fighting over the sweater ;)

Najeema: Definitely one to watch...

Allison: Thanks for stopping by! I'm so happy this is receiving a positive response.

Denise: Wow. Thanks for the heads up. I will have to check out the website!

Lisa: I think the sculptural sweater would look amazing paired with a simple pair jeans...

SOS!: You're so adorable. Thanks for the comment.

Indie.Tea: I am with you on the architectural shapes... Any designers you're excited about?

Sarah said...

Great post! Very informative.. I posted a link to this on my weekly links roundup :]

WendyB said...

Such creative work. Love the felted hem.

Wicked Halo said...

completely diggin the sculptural knit sweater and the sweater with cutouts and removable arms...very cool frocks, and highly unsual

Juliana said...
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