Part of: Les Smokings

LiveStudio: Craig Lawrence

published on 17 June 2011

NEWGEN knit wizard Craig Lawrence re-interprets Le Smoking as a deluxe deconstructed knitted jacket live in the studio.

NEWGEN knit wizard Craig Lawrence re-interprets Le Smoking as a deluxe deconstructed knitted jacket live in the studio.


17 JUN 2011. 14:01

Q: Your mother made a fantastic impromptu appearance at your presentation in Feb - how proud is she? Anne
A: Very proud. She should be.

17 JUN 2011. 13:37

Q: What was it like working with Bjork? How was she like in person?
A: She's amazing. I saw her in New York with her assistant James.
Just amazing and friendly

17 JUN 2011. 13:24

Q: what is your greatest project? that is your favorit dress? can you tell us her name?
A: One of the graduate ones. It was quite funny.
Slutty Sue

17 JUN 2011. 13:15

Q: what do you do when you don't have inspiration ? how do you work?
A: If there's not specific inspiration for a project then I'll be experimenting with different materials. I'm always busy.

17 JUN 2011. 13:00

Q: omg!! thank you just got my question answered!! thrilled. Can I have just 3 more? are interns allowed to submit ideas? where does craig get his inspiration from? does stephen have any input?
A: I'll listen to them but not necessarily take it on board. And as long as it's good ideas then it's fine! Martin Parr - seasides - knitting books from charity shops and Jordan. Yes Stephen does. It's very big. I put my ideas to Craig and if it's bad then he'll slap me! He sews and designs.

17 JUN 2011. 12:55

Q: craig???? how does one get to be an intern? I know you say send an email - how did stephen get to work with you? do your intern's share in the work load and see first hand from start to finish a collection??? i keep asking because I want to get started!!
A: Just email with your CV and what you can do. Yes you would share the workload and see the whole collection being made.
The email is :!

17 JUN 2011. 12:51

Q: That sounds really fun, I love trashy pop... do you have a DJ name?
A: Salt and Shake!!

17 JUN 2011. 12:44

Q: What are your thoughts on Lady Gaga? :)
A: I like her when she wears my clothes!

17 JUN 2011. 12:34

Q: I am really inspired by craig's designs and would love to know if he takes interns and, if so, when and how? tess (aspiring knitwear student)
A: Yes, please email!!

17 JUN 2011. 12:29

Q: Craig, whats your taste in women, and more important - in men?
A: Basically men - tall and broader. Not fussy on personality.
Women - bolshy babes!

17 JUN 2011. 11:11

Q: My friend Zann told me you are also a dj?! Is it true and if so what is your favourite track to play??
A: I'm not a DJ yet but me and my friend William are going to be a DJ. I play trashy pop - Mariah Carey. Celine Dion.

16 JUN 2011. 18:18

Q: can I buy this ? If so where ?
A: Yes you can. For enquiries please email and the final piece will be in view at our current exhibition in Bruton Place; Practice to Deceive: Smoke and Mirrors in Fashion, Fine Art and Film.

16 JUN 2011. 18:18

Q: Who is your favourite model male/female? (for both)
A: Lara Stone and Betty Ade
Aaron Frew

16 JUN 2011. 18:16

Q: do either of you have any tattoos?
A: No.

16 JUN 2011. 17:58

Q: who would be at your ultimate dinner party? dead or alive
A: Madonna, just Madonna!!

16 JUN 2011. 17:56

Q: have you two ever had a fight? if so who won?
A: Next question....

16 JUN 2011. 17:55

Q: what's for dinner?
A: Salad or Pot Noodle

16 JUN 2011. 17:54

Q: what's the best non-fashion based competition or award that you have ever won?
A: Swimming when I was in Primary School.

16 JUN 2011. 17:40

Q: Is it possible to self-learn knitting? Any book/way you would recommend to beginner?
A: Videos are better than books - tutorials on YouTube as it's easier to follow the movements. You can get kitting DVDs too.

16 JUN 2011. 17:25

Q: your work is amazing! may i ask - what is the model of your knitting machine?
A: Brother. KH860. Thanks

16 JUN 2011. 17:09

Q: can I be an intern??
A: If you can knit then send your CV's to!!

16 JUN 2011. 16:53

Q: what type of yarn are you using ?
A: Gimp yarn - from Kyoto in Tokyo.

16 JUN 2011. 16:47

Q: Does Stephen sell his art?
A: Not yet but he's available for commissions!

16 JUN 2011. 16:47

Q: How much is the jacket and if I buy it how much does it cost?
A: Yes you can buy the jacket. Please follow this link and you can click purchase/enquire about item.

16 JUN 2011. 16:17

Q: Stephen, your drawings are bloody wicked, they've got a certain Aubrey Beardsley charm. How did you end up with the current illustration style/look?
A: Just from doing roughs over and over again. It is similar to my technique when I draw for collections.

16 JUN 2011. 16:05

Q: Is it possible to do an internship at your studio? What should I do?
A: Can you knit?

If so, email

16 JUN 2011. 16:05

Q: Any designers, artists, or any living person that you look up to?
A: Alexander McQueen and Viktor and Rolf and my mum!

16 JUN 2011. 15:56

Q: have you got any regrets from your career? any missed opportunities?
A: Don't think so!

16 JUN 2011. 15:45

Q: What to do guys do when you feel like you've lost motivation and inspiration with your works and things don't go the way you want them to. How can you tell yourself to keep going on and stronger?
A: I don't think I ever lose motivation cause I always have the fear factor of Fashion Week!
Stephen says have a few blinks and dance and it'll be fine.

16 JUN 2011. 15:34

Q: Who is doing those drawings?
A: Stephen Doherty. He's Craigs assistant.

16 JUN 2011. 14:10

Q: What is the best feeling about presenting a collection: a) done!; b) Ok, next? or c) everyone's compliments ?
A: Stephen thinks about next season but I think it would be done!! I think its be able to see it all made together. That's the best bit!

16 JUN 2011. 14:04

Q: i have a very nice clock plate for you ...
A: Send it to SHOWstudio headquarters!

16 JUN 2011. 13:25

Q: If you had to wear one piece of clothing for the rest of your life, what would you wear?
A: A Moo Moo. No matter how fat I get I can grow into it!!

16 JUN 2011. 12:48

Q: Which beauty products do you swear by?
A: I might start using tinted moisturiser.

16 JUN 2011. 12:41

Q: If GaGa said I want to wear one of your knitted dresses and her intentions are to makes holes through it and add spikes all over. What would you say?
A: Fair enough!

16 JUN 2011. 12:39

Q: do you like being alone?
A: Either or.

16 JUN 2011. 12:32

Q: Who is your true celebrity crush?
A: Stephens is Iwan Rheon

16 JUN 2011. 12:29

Q: What are you texting? Are you ordering cupcakes? By Cupcake guy hah
A: Hahahaha! It's a pair of scissors!!

16 JUN 2011. 12:26

Q: Where would you like to be in 3-5 years in your career? What would you like to be earning?
A: Millions!!!
Showing in Paris, having my own shop and I could have a Saturday job.

16 JUN 2011. 12:13

Q: Does Craig know anything about his mum? Ask him when is his mum's birthday?
A: I forgot it - it was the 2nd June.

16 JUN 2011. 12:11

Q: Our school is going to lunch now. What is your favourite food? Lucy Leiston Middle School
A: Fish and Chips!!

16 JUN 2011. 12:10

Q: Have you designed anything for your mum? Laura.Leiston Middle School
A: Yes - a capey black thing but I'm going to knit something for her birthday!

16 JUN 2011. 12:06

Q: Did Stevie draw on the walls when he was young? Alice Leiston Middle School
A: Yeah!!

16 JUN 2011. 12:05

Q: who is the girl that the boy is drawing in the backround? and what would she say if she could speak.? xxx
A: Barbara would be shouting NO at me and Craig
Helen - something in a Liverpudlian accent!

Drawings to follow....

16 JUN 2011. 11:52

Q: Which famous person would you like to design for? Pauline Leiston Middle School
A: I've done a lot of stuff with Bjork, but ideally Helena Bonham Carter!

16 JUN 2011. 11:48

Q: what made you want to be a fashion designer. John Leiston Middle School
A: I think I was always interesting in making things and creating objects and instead of being a fine artists it made sense for me to make something someone could wear so that was the point I went into fashion.

16 JUN 2011. 11:27

Q: how would you describe your relation to body thru your work? what are the main problematic you met, and how did you got over those?
A: Showing off the body I guess. I want to accentuate the figure but I think of the design first then how it will look on the body afterwards. To begin with it liked adding strange shapes to the body but now i want to emphasise the natural form.

16 JUN 2011. 11:17

Q: do either of you participate in events aimed to help with the promotion of knitting?
A: Fashion Week??
I was one of the judges for Pitti Immagine where a group of students from all over the country had to produce one piece of knitwear each.
What type of events are there?

16 JUN 2011. 11:17

Q: did you both participate in the worldwide knit in public day on saturday?
A: No, we were standing in a queue in Sao Paulo airport busy arguing with airline people.

15 JUN 2011. 17:54

Q: what's the best present that you have ever received?
A: I haven't received it yet!! It would be a dog - something little and fluffy.
A little poodle maybe?

15 JUN 2011. 17:49

Q: Do you smoke? (for both)
A: Sometimes!

15 JUN 2011. 17:46

Q: is there a device yet to be invented that would make life a lot easier for you or is the brother all that you need?
A: I don't know! If there was, it would probably be really expensive.

15 JUN 2011. 17:39

Q: how many circles will you need to complete the piece?
A: Eight to Ten!

15 JUN 2011. 17:31

Q: how many times have you shown at fashion week? do you have any desire to show at any of the others in the future?
A: This will be my sixth time and it would be quite fun to show in NY, maybe a film and then Paris as well.

15 JUN 2011. 17:27

Q: Which is your favourite city in Europe and which in the world?
A: I haven't been to any yet but Sao Paulo would be one.
New York.

15 JUN 2011. 17:27

Q: you seem like you'd quite like a easy life, what with your desire to be a retired dog, so what keeps you going in the hectic fashion industry?
A: Don't know!! See you laater!!

15 JUN 2011. 17:18

Q: If you were an animal, which one would you be? Which one would Stephen be?
A: Craig would be a dog.They have it easy!
Stephen would be a bird of paradise.

15 JUN 2011. 17:07

Q: what do you listen to in the studio?
A: KISS FM. Trashy Pop music.

15 JUN 2011. 17:05

Q: which superpower would you like to have?
A: I would like to stop time. Rob a bank, take a day off.

15 JUN 2011. 17:04

Q: have you ever knitted a christmas jumper for the sake of doing it? it'd be the best around...
A: No I haven't knitted one but I would.

15 JUN 2011. 17:03

Q: what's your favorite smell?
A: When Stephen's not in the room.

15 JUN 2011. 16:57

Q: what was the childhood dream? I wanted to be an optician...
A: I always wanted to be retired like my grandad!

15 JUN 2011. 16:55

Q: How long did it take you to learn how to work with that machine?
A: A couple of months at school.

15 JUN 2011. 16:53

Q: Does Stephen ever get let out of the studio?
A: Rarely. This is a big trip for him!!

15 JUN 2011. 16:51

Q: which x factor judge are you both?
A: Danni Minogue. Craig.
Cheryl Cole. Stephen.

15 JUN 2011. 16:49

Q: can we see the girl asking the q's
A: She has a face for the radio.

15 JUN 2011. 16:46

Q: If you were being sent to a desert island and could only take one thing, would you take your brother primed with all the wool you could shake a stick at or stephen?
A: Probably Stephen to be honest!

15 JUN 2011. 16:46

Q: Are there photographers inspiring your imagery? If yes, who are they?
A: Nick Knight, Martin Parr. He's always been an inspiration.

15 JUN 2011. 16:41

Q: are you single?

15 JUN 2011. 16:35

Q: What is the best compliment you have ever received?
A: Having Tilda Swinton on the cover on AnOther wearing my pieces.

15 JUN 2011. 16:32

Q: any advice for young fashion design students?
A: Just say NO! Save yourself. Just to actually do it. Making things all the time - even if it's not for anything.

15 JUN 2011. 16:32

Q: Who's your favourite Aunty?
A: Aunty Clare!

15 JUN 2011. 16:30

Q: do you think your work effects you social life??
A: Yeah. Well about 2months before there is no social life.
It's also not a 9 to 5. You're always working towards an end.
Vice Versa too. My social life effects my work.

15 JUN 2011. 16:29

Q: what is the strangest material you've worked with?
A: Mink fur was the worst. But the weirdest is the clear plastic bra strap material. It was gummy and tacky.

15 JUN 2011. 16:27

Q: Whos the muse for this piece? did you have any idea when you conceived it?
A: Considering the traditions of the Smoking Jacket which was the brief. It will look good on someone but I had no-one in mind particularly.

15 JUN 2011. 16:18

Q: if you could make a garment for one person from history who would it be and why?
A: Loads of dead people.
Mary Queen of Scots. I saw a film and I liked her. Powerful and a bit of a bastard.

15 JUN 2011. 16:17

Q: do you have customised needles?
A: No that's a good idea though. I have these really chunky needles for kids to learn but use them to knit chunky things. There's a shop in Ipswich called Busy Fingers - I think that's my favourite shop - a little yarn shop.

15 JUN 2011. 16:08

Q: Do you ever have days where you wake up and think of something totally different, unrelated to everything you've worked on before that is outside of your comfort zone of working?
A: Yeah, a knitted twin set in wool! That would be scary!

15 JUN 2011. 16:07

Q: how many people you have around in your studio helping you to make a collection?
A: Can be up to 8 people especially near the time!

15 JUN 2011. 16:06

Q: come to first out for dinner after you are done!
A: No James. Craig doesn't like you!

15 JUN 2011. 16:05

Q: do you have any goals you've set yourself for your career? you've achieved so many great things already but when will you come to the point when you'll shock yourself
A: To keep going and if I do well then that's good.

15 JUN 2011. 15:54Q. whats your fav cider!?

15 JUN 2011. 15:54

Q: Craig, were you a good student with good marks at school and at Uni?
A: No! At high school I was fine but I just didn't jump through all the hoops. I got a D at my art A-Levels. I did AS Levels Textiles and was the only boy in my year at GSCE to do Textiles.

15 JUN 2011. 15:44

Q: what's the destiny for the jacket that you're making today? Can I have it please?
A: The destiny is for it to be viewable and purchasable through the SHOWstudio Shop and the current exhibition Practice to Deceive. For!

15 JUN 2011. 15:40

Q: do you ever want to move away from knit? Is the future knitted?
A: I don't think I'll ever move away from knit. I enjoy making my own fabric. I've knitted leather before.

15 JUN 2011. 15:30

Q: how do you think you'd fare in a knitting competition? a speed race? no machine just needles...
A: I'd probably win but not against any old ladies! They can do it with their eyes shut.

15 JUN 2011. 15:17

Q: If you were not lucky enough to persue your passion in the world of fashion, what would you see yourself doing?
A: A barman in Falaraki. I would open a gay fashion bar and play FashionTV. I might do that when I retire!

15 JUN 2011. 14:17

Q: Down in Brazil, I have been knitting since 6:30 to finish a lace as I follow the live stream on a brother as well. As well as I keep concentrated on what I am doing, my mind is always travelling to far away lands. What goes on your mind while you are knitting so concentrated?
A: Brazilian men! Me and Stephen just gossip most of the time! Stitch and bitch!

15 JUN 2011. 14:06

Q: What is your favorite trend right now?
A: Ugg Boots. I don't really follow trends. I think it's better not to. Trends are trends - they last a couple of weeks. By the time you've got the trend - it's already gone.
I don't think I could be trendy if I tried!

15 JUN 2011. 14:00

Q: Would you rather own a Shima or Stoll machine, that are so technological but need a lot of programming or working on brothers and knitmasters?
A: Brothers definitely, I don't like Shimas. I'm working on a brother now.
With Shima you have program in the exact pattern and technique - it's all maths and graphs and I don't like computers.

15 JUN 2011. 13:56

Q: What are the best places to learn about creative knitting, besides your own practice? I did study this winter at Knit-1, do you know this place?
A: Yeah I know of it. My friend went on a work experience. Good. Always learn from family and friends - make friends with an old granny and learn to knit. Some of these course are expensive. There's no particular place though. There are knitting clubs - yarn shops have their own knitting classes.

15 JUN 2011. 13:41

Q: What is your favorite color to work with?
A: It changes. A couple of seasons ago I was in love with gold - then it was two-tone. I do like pink. We chose navy as it's most traditional to a smoking jacket. It's best to keep it traditional as the design is not the norm!

15 JUN 2011. 13:40

Q: Hi Craig, I'm from Brazil, living for the last 5 years in Portugal. I'm sorry, don't know your work...could you please describe it? You said you've been to Brazil, did you learn some new technique there? And, just to relax, aren't you done with ethnic trend in knitwear?
A: Knitwear. He draws inspiration from his childhood in Ipswich, where nostalgia, decadence and decay meet amongst Britain's seaside towns. Craig's approach to knitting can only be described as extreme, reinventing this ancient craft through unexpected use of both materials and form.

15 JUN 2011. 13:32

Q: What inspired you to begin knitting?
A: My nan originally. She taught me one Summer. But my portfolio in my Foundation year I did meanswear but it wasn't very tailored and quite soft. I became a control freak and making my own fabric was more creative than having to pick out a certain material.

15 JUN 2011. 13:21

Q: do you make anything for yourself?
A: No - I give it to someone else. I think I get more from it seeing someone else in it.

15 JUN 2011. 13:17

Q: Hi Craig, you seem to be knitting super quick, how long dows it take you to make a garment usually? Or does it depend from piece to piece?
A: It takes much much longer to knit a circle. If I was to do a straight square for example it would take 2seconds so it really varies. This will take around 3 days.

15 JUN 2011. 13:05

Q: who's the guy in the back, and what is he doing?
A: Stephen - He's Doodling but eventually he'll be hand sewing the pieces together. He's Craig's full-time assistant.

15 JUN 2011. 12:55

Q: just curious, is the music currently playing your choice of music? Or what is one of your favorite genres of music/bands etc. that you like to listen to when creating? Or do you usually prefer silence?
A: KISS FM. That's my usual. Katy B is really good - I love her - basically trashy pop - I'm not really musically educated. I think the music I listen to probably inspires me energy wise.

15 JUN 2011. 12:51

Q: have you or would you make anything for rihanna? if so what?
A: I would - I haven't.
Similar to Nicki Minaj - Tight and slutty!

15 JUN 2011. 12:45

Q: we can get some good mexican food downstairs at La Esquina! I'll take you on a date ;) ( this is the meat guy from NY) just got home from partying and can't sleep cause I like watching you.
A: Yes totally!

15 JUN 2011. 12:44

Q: with you being so busy with designing and yarning who helps you with all your pr and gets your amazing dresses out there?
A: Ella Dror PR. She's really good. She's an actual bulldog - not looks wise!
She was looking after me with Machine-A.

15 JUN 2011. 12:39

Q: Is there a theme in your latest collection?
A: Yeah - circles - inspired by windmills of your mind. Picking a technique and going with it. You get shapes from using wires - easy to structure. I knitted a huge cirlce with a whole in the middle and it became a skirt in which the waist fitted in the cirlce.
I use wire a lot.

15 JUN 2011. 12:31

Q: im a massive fan of your designs? but im a male, would you make a limited collection for mens? or 1 of pieces?
A: Yeah - not really any plans in the pipeline - once I get the whole womenswear done I think it would be really good to do.
Men need to be wearing hot knitwear as well as girls.

15 JUN 2011. 12:25

Q: craig? have you been away recently with you work? have you traveled any where nice? if not where would like to travel with your work?
A: Yes, just come back from Brazil. Seoul Fashion Week - didn't really happen because of huge queues and no flights because of volcanic ash. We missed the whole thing and just spent a day in Rio looking at the Brazilian men!!
I've also travelled to New York and Paris with London Showrooms.
I would like to travel to Hong Kong.I went to Japan to do an exhibition. It was immense and with 24hrs solid travelling. When your there it felt like the first time in my life I was on another planet
A mix of places and people inspire me - seaside towns - its hard to explain it - colours inspire me but it's the more the attitude of the place.
I would ideally like to show in Paris.

15 JUN 2011. 12:22

Q: would you make anything for nikki minaj?
A: Yeah. Something slutty. Stretchy. Probably two tone metallic.

15 JUN 2011. 12:20

Q: Hi Craig, I thought Id watch you do a bit of knitting while I having my lunch at my factory... so a question...what do you think about when you knit? And... is that the same machine you had in my studio for like 3 years? Gareth Pugh x
A: NO!! He had the chunky one.
Working in Gareths studio was exciting - be able to see things turn from paper patterns into collections is amazing. So fun.
I think about lots of things - everything thats pissed me off or everything thats excited me.
Mostly my next husband...To be honest I'm not that fussy!

15 JUN 2011. 12:20

Q: who would like to design a dress for or even wear?
A: I think it's already happened - Bjork!
Natalie Press she was in Summer of Love - one of my favourites.
Helena Bonham Carter would be great.

15 JUN 2011. 12:18

Q: Do you still own your first knit dress?
A: Probably!! I think it is in a box and was part of my degree collection. I don't want to give it away or sell it!

15 JUN 2011. 12:10

Q: Who are your fashion inspirations? Who first gave you a thirst for fashion and textile design?
A: My gran taught me how to hand knit, but for fashion, the strongest ones are Alexander McQueen and Viktor and Rolf. They are not what I aspire to be but the way they present their work and it becomes a concept and much more exciting. I want to knit something that needs to be worth knitting.

15 JUN 2011. 12:09

Q: Hi Craig! Have you ever knitted a jacket before or is this a new experiement?
A: I think it's new. I've never done a collar or a lapel. I might do an abstract version on a collar!

Design Assistance:
Tiffany Pisani at Models 1
Akiko Kawasaki at New Breed
Kerrie Ann Murphy
Project Concept:
Alexander Fury and Carrie Scott
Fashion Direction:
Film Edit:
Film Grade:
Zoe Hitchen
Technical Supervision:
Camera Assistance:
Studio Assistance:
Ashley Sherrard
Special thanks to:
Ella Dror and Ashley Smith



LiveStudio: Phoebe English

06 June 2012
Young London Designer Phoebe English creates an outfit for dancer Leah Debrincat, and answers viewer questions on her work and process.

LiveStudio: Mary Katrantzou

06 December 2010
Designer Mary Katrantzou demonstrated her creative process (and flower arranging skills) live in our studio.

LiveStudio: Gareth Pugh

22 January 2010
Gareth Pugh took up residency at SHOWstudio to create a one-off garment live on camera.
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