Words Rikke Jensen
Less Magazine would like to present the knitwear designer Iben Høj. She graduated with a First Honours degree from the University of Brighton where she studied Fashion Knitwear. Besides being a teacher and leader of the knitting workshop at Design School Kolding, she has also sold designs to Marni, Kenzo, and Marc Jacobs.
After graduating, Høj knew that knitting was her passion. Stitch structure and the medium of yarn was what ultimately led to her immersion into garment creation. The utilisation of three-dimensional shapes and creating fabric in any shape and form, is a completely unique experience that still inspires and fascinates her. In 2003 she launched her first eponymous collection of women’s knitwear and has since then received numerous grants from the Danish Art Foundation. Her knitwear is sold worldwide and her work is currently represented in The Permanent Dress Collection at Designmuseum Danmark in Copenhagen.
Høj designs and produces knitted pieces that work independently and separate from seasons and time. The classic and highly useful pieces are made by hand with hand-operated knitting machines and produced in small series. They are produced with a focus on sustainability, quality, materials, shape, and structure:
“With a boundary-pushing work method, where the goal is originality and strength, I seek to push to notions of what knit work is and can be. Central to my work is the artisanal tradition. I work with a hand-operated industrial machine while I experiment with different materials and techniques. The immediate creation process is crucial to my work – the knitwear can be shaped directly on the machine and I can freely let effect, pattern, texture, and technique contribute to the shape. Recurring characteristics in my work are shades of different colours and dynamic, rhythmical progress. It’s all about working with complexity and simplification, space and surface, rhythm and displacement. To process a theme and test its possibilities on different scales, expressions, and mediums.” – Iben Høj
The hands-on approach to producing garments is what enables Høj to create such intricate pieces of work with a focus on details and a unique expression. With this technique and the use of simple resources, Høj invokes the feeling of true craftsmanship. It is not the machine that defines the work at hand but the person that operates it. She always meets her team with challenges of technically complex knits and time-consuming designs. In return, the high quality of the finished garment is defined when it has been through the hands of these highly skilled individuals.
Iben Høj has managed to show exactly how expressive yarn can be a medium through her mastering of knitting. The flexibility used in her creations is visible through the attention to detail, materials, colour, and craftsmanship. Creativity and sustainability are the lifeblood for her and the team behind the brand, and the quality involved signifies how Høj’s designs are true works of art.