INTERVIEW: MATT BOVAN of MKNB

I came to learn about MKNB when I was perusing Lookbook.nu a while back and came across a striking image of a leggy peroxide blonde kicking around a forest in this incredible, other-worldy outfit made entirely out of knit sweaters.
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A little internet stalking later and I found out that this vision in knit was Matt Bovan, a very young fashion student working on an amazing knitwear line called MKNB.
I'm going to let the pictures speak for themselves-Matt certainly has created a compelling aesthetic for his line and no doubt his talent will take him far. Matt has just finished his stint at the Leeds College of Art & Design (where not surprisingly, he won student of the year!) and is applying to Central Saint Martins in Knitwear-how very very exciting! Best of luck, Matt.

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How did you get started making clothes?

Ever since I was a child I have known that I want to make clothes! I have made all my own clothes since 2005 and really it’s all I have wanted to do in life! I honestly don’t know what I would do if I didn’t make my own! I think I’d buy second hand, vintage and possibly some designer bits, but my clothes fit my personality 100%! I love working on all my ‘personal’ stuff outside college, even though I’m studying fashion, my own collections give me a release. 

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How do you make your clothes? Are they recycled out of old sweaters?
I make my own patterns for leggings, tops and dresses and I have 4 or 5 knitting machines that I use for knitwear and I have been using them for about 2 years. 
I love knitwear with an insane passion – I don’t know why but there is just something about it! I love the feel and I could honestly live in entirely knitted clothes. 

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MKNB Fashion Show at Leeds College of Art & Design

Why sweaters? What is so compelling about them to you?
Knitwear and jumpers are so easy to wear, can look so effective and have an androgynous feel. They mould to body shape and give the wearer incredible movement! I love to create clothes that people can mix with other stuff and also just wear on their own to look effortless – I feel they have versatility. 


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Matt modelling his own designs

What will MKNB be like in 2009?

I’m so excited for where I’m taking MKNB in 09, the knitwear is going to a whole other level! I’m creating whole new patterns, new techniques and being able to express them in a whole new way. I have figured out how to incorporate words within my knitwear – I love it! Science and history and pipe-smoking 18th century fellows are my heroes at this point in time! I’m so excited to start it – Jane I will keep you posted!! I feel this is my best yet, but it’s all top-secret at the moment!


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What is inspiring your Light Voyager collection?

Light Voyager was my first ‘real’ collection and the inspiration came from all these ideas in my head I had gathered. I wanted a fierce, tribal character, who travelled the globe. All my clothes seem to connect with nature and Light Voyager was a mix of neon bright coral with all these darker colours and textures. I also wanted the clothes to be very wearable and quite fun. The name was created just from mind mapping and it hit me in a moment – this is how I create all my collection names – I just know what fits!! 

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A sweater from MKNB's Light Voyager collection.

Who would you like to see wear your clothes? 

All sorts of people! I love it when my friends wear my clothes – they all have this unique style, which I love, and they all interpret my clothes differently. If I had the opportunity for a celebrity or someone famous to wear my clothes I would like Björk or Kate Bush to wear them, but really anyone who appreciates me designs: if people are original and wear the clothes because they enjoy them, you can tell instantly – people have to wear the clothes, not the clothes to wear the people! 
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Matt and a band of MKNB models

Matt, thank you for doing this interview and we are so excited to see the path that MKNB takes.
Matt tells me he has just gotten back from London and has lots of new research and inspiration for his new collection-can't wait to see the results!
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  1. Very cool and unique stuff he’s got there
    stylejustice.blogspot.com

  2. very cool and unique stuff he’s got there!
    stylejustice.blogspot.com

  3. Isabel says:

    He is gorgeous, and I love his sweaters. :)

  4. Brigadeiro says:

    That 2nd pic is stunning! Tres cool!
    xx

  5. Ellen Hart says:

    These are such imaginative pieces! I love the range of styles with the common theme. Thanks for the interview and introducing us to a new designer!

  6. C says:

    Reminds me a bit of http://www.adhesifclothing.com/ but she doesn’t exclusively use knitwear and used more knitwear in her earlier collections than she does now…

  7. kimmm says:

    wow! thats amazing!
    funnily enough i got out a knitting machine that we had in the shed at home a while ago and could not make it work!
    i’m amazed he can even operate them let alone make such beautiful creations!
    thanks for the great post jane!

  8. Mandi says:

    I love his knitted outfit in the first picture! (with the reds and pinks..) Can you buy his clothes anywhere?
    Also, I’ve just started a shoe design and production course, and I was thinking you should look into doing one when you finish school? Check out my blog – I’ll be documenting my progress throughout the whole 18 month course..
    http://whatnotandi.blogspot.com

  9. caryjames says:

    so good.

  10. I love how primal and wild his designs are.

  11. WAX says:

    he is… ferosh.

  12. Natacha says:

    I love the sweater!

  13. iole says:

    I’m not so found of wool stuff, but this one is so great, I love IT!
    Iole

  14. Bishette says:

    That first one is amazing as an outfit. He seems really cute – lots of exclamation marks!

  15. DJ says:

    Well… full points for interesting, no? He and the girls at Rodarte would find things to talk about, I think.

  16. Great Things says:

    deconstruction has already passed and is basically a beaten horse at this point. Very elementary.

  17. JNA says:

    you do interviews too?! awesome….”internet stalking”…hilarious
    crazy running into you and your mom on Saturday. really some incredible work you pull off.
    http://www.helloooooo.com

  18. Kay says:

    I love this, he’s a true talent.
    Great interview
    http://thestitched.blogspot.com/

  19. Your blog is heaven…I’m so glad I found it. Besos xo

  20. john says:

    omg, are any of his pieces for sale? i must know…

  21. Megan says:

    it kind of reminds me of what the sweaters from Ugly book by Scott Westerfeld would look like. It’s very pre-rustiePr

  22. Anna M. says:

    OMG! I totally wondered who this guy was too! Amazing.

  23. zoe says:

    I would kill to have him make me a sweater dress or somethin!
    http://audhep.wordpress.com/

  24. i like. reminds me of mid-90s walter van beirendonck. in a good way.

  25. What a visionary! You can tell he’s truly passionate about his art. I love his attitude too, very genuine and down-to-earth.

  26. ediot says:

    such fun knitwear! love it. thanks for sharing

  27. amber says:

    what beautiful an imaginative work he’s doing.
    Thanks for sharing, it’s someone I would not have found on my own.

  28. mathilde says:

    I love so much this kind of things, pictures are so lovely

  29. Sabina says:

    Love his stuff! Knitwear is so much more than a boring cardigan, glad it’s in the picture a lot more these days.
    I actually started to learn knitting past weekend ^^

  30. evita says:

    woooww he’s super cool! sooo magical! :D

  31. the fashion shows are very original as well as the clothes they chose the forest is beautiful and is great with the style of clothes

  32. Jordans 2 says:

    What a pity I miss seeing all those gorgeous knits! Thanks for sharing the photos.

  33. new balance says:

    Words may be false and full of arts; sighs are the natural language of the heart. Do you understand?

  34. asics shoes says:

    so fashion.I can’t offer it.But it is really good

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