The Great Unknown

We jump into the pretty, patterned world of knitwear duo LWTO.

BY BRIDGET HONAN

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For LWTO founders Tabitha Osler and Linda Weisner, the medium hasn’t always been the message. In fact, when the duo fnished their studies at the Royal Fashion Academy in Antwerp, they didn’t know much beyond the fact that they wanted to work together. The next logical progression involved Osler’s knowledge of natural materials and Weisner’s artistic point of view. They became interested in rethinking the role of wool and so a knitwear collection celebrating non-traditional shapes and patterns was born: LWTO.

Tell us about the inspiration behind your collections.
We always build a collection based off a place, so that's our key inspiration. Then, we always look at what craft exists in that place and try to incorporate that into our work. So in Lisbon, we looked at the traditional Portuguese craft of tile making, and we actually collaborated with a tile maker who is using our design to create a tile in the method used since the 19th century. 

We want to bring new life to a lot of products that have integrity, and we do that in a variety of ways. Most recently we gave a bar of coconut soap with every piece, which encourages sustainable care of that product. And this soap is 100% coconut oil and has been made in the same way since 1933. 

So we use objects that are not necessarily fashion items, but are always artisanal. This adds another aspect to our work, and it means we also share our audience and help the people in the region reach a market they may never have reached before.

Can you tell us what sustainability means to LWTO?
Sustainability is just living in a way that is not destructive to the future. It's interesting because although this is key to us, we don’t want to be seen as just a 'green' label, like that's our gimmick. We want to be a high fashion label who are obviously fair trade— it's 2016 and of course any label should be fair trade.

Several years ago sustainable fashion was a new movement.