Western Australia-based knitwear designer Stéphanie Caulier’s loopy sweaters and cardigans are the very definition of slow fashion. Made by hand and made with love, each one is knitted by a member of the I Love Mr. Mittens extended family and sits in the cosy spot between fashion and forever piece. Made of super soft chunky wool and loved by stylemakers including Gary Pepper’s Nicole Warne, these are knits to invest in and treasure. We talk to Caulier about community, cat names and timeless colour choices.
Where do you come from?
I’m from Antwerp, Belgium.
Where do you live now and what do you love about it?
I now live in Perth. It is pretty quiet but has the most beautiful beaches.
How did you first get into knitting?
I started knitting when I was five or six years old. My mother and grand mother taught me how to knit. That was 25 years ago.
How did your label first come about?
I started making items for friends and family.
Where does the name I love Mr. Mittens come from?
That started a bit as a joke with a ‘temporary’ name out of a cat name book. It just didn’t feel right to change it.
How important is a sense of community to you in your work?
At ILMM I work with a large team of women and they make up a huge part of the company. It’s really nice they are part of the whole process. We discuss everything with them so they are really part of ILMM. I have a good understanding and relationship with all of them, it’s like family.
How do you try to foster this sense of community through your knitwear?
We share a lot of ILMM through social media. Development of samples, new projects, collaborations…It is the beauty of social media these days – people can really feel part of what you are doing.
Can you explain your ‘heartworking’ philosophy?
Every single piece is handmade. You have to absolutely LOVE knitting to be doing this full time all year around. It also can’t be rushed – so much time and love go into each piece.
Tell us about your quality over quantity ethos? How does the production work?
We produce quite a large amount every season for a handmade product, but there are limits of course. There is only so much we can knit each year. We have a team fulltime on wholesale orders and a team on our online orders. Every knitter picks up their weekly list and works at home.
How do you choose the yarns you work with? And what do you love about working with wool?
We knit our collections with a big chunky wool. It is super soft and so much fun to work with. The process of seeing the wool onto a cone and transition into a full garment in a matter of hours is just amazing. If you have wool and needles you can do pretty much anything!
How do you walk the line between fashion and timelessness?
We don’t produce any over the top crazy designs. Lots of easy to wear and timeless pieces. The combination of colour choices, patterns and stitches are very important and carefully researched.
Are your pieces made to be passed down and passed on?
If you look after your wool garment well it should last you a long time.
What do you hope people will gain from owning an I love Mr. Mittens piece?
Often people say wearing an ILMM piece is like wearing a big hug! I hope it will make them feel warm, comfortable and fashionable.
Find Stéphanie Caulier’s heartworking knits at ilovemrmittens.com