Miranda Pereira was balancing a career in advertising with a young child when she was diagnosed with the first of two brain aneurysms.
“I had an ad agency and a little baby when I fell ill,” she says. “I was given pretty awful statistics and after two post-surgical fits my husband came to say goodbye to me in the intensive care unit.”
Miraculously, Pereira survived but was incredibly weakened and unfit for work.
“Work was utterly out of the question and my doctor said you have a lot of rehab to go through before you are ready to come back to your life,” she says.
Pereira was in the second year of her rehab when she discovered her late mother’s old craft box. Her mother had died one year earlier – also of a brain aneurysm – but had been an avid knitter before she passed away.
“The neurosurgeon told me I needed to get my hands moving, so I just started fiddling around with her things and using my hands for the first time in my life.”
Pereira began knitting, knotting, hooking and weaving, and within five years had founded her eponymous label devoted to hand-knitted wool fashion and lifestyle accessories.
“I touched fabrics and natural fibres for the first time in my life and there was no going back,” she says.
Exquisitely detailed jumpers, cozy wraps and textured woollen totes are among the pieces in the Miranda Pereira range that is devoted to showcasing Australian Merino wool.
“I adore wool,” she says. “I love the endless possibilities of the fibre and it offers a breathability that makes it perfect for multi-seasonal executions.”
Working only in black and white allows Pereira to celebrate texture, form and function in a timeless, highly sculptural and tactile manner.
“People say we work in black and white but I think we work in colour as the wool can vary beautifully from raven and blue black to icy whites and buttery creams,” she says. “The different stitches also give you different effects, colours and textures.”
Pereira is proud to manufacture every garment by hand in the Loddon Mallee region of Victoria, located 2.5 hours from Melbourne.
“I didn’t want to manufacture in China so I started researching knitting clusters in marginalized and rural areas,” she says.
“The Loddon Mallee was the most compelling option, so I packed my patterns and fibres into the back of my Land Rover and drove to a town called Wedderburn which has a pub and a post office and not much more.”
A woman working at the Wedderburn general store was the founding member of Pereira’s first knitting cluster (“I said I’d pay her to knit for me and she said yes”) and they now extend over four shires in Victoria in partnership with the National Hands Network.
Founded to reignite employment in rural areas of Australia, the NHN provides paid knitting work to marginalized people in remote areas.
“We provide paid employment for women aged 18 to 89 and we are not only creating jobs, we are creating beautiful knitwear pieces that tap into the heart of handskills in this country.”
Made in collaboration with a community of women in India, this designer’s handmade knitwear is anything but homespun