It must be hard to imagine 40,000 men walking around in one of your own knitwear designs. Not many can boast such an achievement, but when Marie Wallin was working for a commercial knitwear manufacturer, one of her accounts was Burton menswear and she created a top seller for them.
After gaining a first class degree in Textile and Knitwear Technology at DeMontfort University, Marie went on to work for a small knitwear manufacturer called Open House Knitwear in Stapleford, Nottingham. “It was a great place to learn,” says Marie.
Shortly after, Marie decided to leave and set up her own design label, where she made hand knitwear and frame knitwear which sold successfully in the States, Japan and many independent shops and galleries in the UK. Even at that time, Marie was mostly working with Rowan yarns.
She also lectured part-time on her old degree course, freelanced for the Welsh Crafts Council and a mail order fashion company called Penny Plain.
Later, Marie worked for Stuart Mensley Knitwear, in Syston, Leicestershire. Here she worked with fashion giants such as Burtons, BHS, Debenhams and Next.
In 2005, Marie came to Rowan, where she is Head Designer. Marie designs knitting and crochet patterns for the Rowan magazine and brochures. She is also responsible for briefing designers each season for the magazine, and art directing the beautiful photography in the Rowan magazines. She also works on developing the Rowan yarn ranges.
Marie says her inspiration comes “From anything and everything. I particularly like the traditional folk crafts of the Far and Middle East and I love Indian handblock printed fabric and Indian carpets from Kashmir. Generally I love colour and pattern.”
Personal career highlights for Marie include seeing her designs for sale in an exclusive menswear store Paul Stewart on Madison Avenue, New York in 1989. “Also it was quite good when Germaine Greer bought one of my handknits at the Edinburgh Festival one year!” smiles Marie.
Keep an eye open for more designs from Marie on the Coats Crafts site.