Spotlight: Canada’s Knitwear Stars

Our favourite national knitwear treasures reinvent sweater-dressing

Saks Fifth Avenue

Anthea Simms

A cozy group of homegrown designers from across the country who specialize in fashion-forward knitwear have cropped up. Reiventing sweater-dressing, these talents are proving that knits are a necessary component in every Canadian’s closet, regardless of the
season. Vancouver’s Left on Houston was started when the designers noticed a void in the marketplace for knitwear with the vision of being “modern and sophisticated with attitude.”  Lily + Jae, also of Vancouver, focuses on knits of a boy-meets-girl variety, with masculine styles that still show their feminine side. Winnipeg-born, London-based Mark Fast’s body-conscious knitwear has taken the fashion world by storm. Each piece is hand-made, which is extremely important to Fast.  “It’s a very personal process which makes it unique,” says the knitwear star who has dressed Rihanna, Tilda Swinton and Kylie Minogue.  In Toronto, LINE is full of thin knitwear for all occasions, taking it out of just the casual realm. And what could be more novel than their knit sweater-gowns for fall? Ashley Olsen and Sarah Jessica Parker, who have both worn the label, would agree. Lastly, Breeyn McCarney’s collection “Hard Boiled Wonderland” features incandescent knits that embrace feminine whimsy and nod to fairytale lovers.

Sweater-dressing has never been more right.