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January 18, 2021 —

Meet the Maker: Jules Hogan Knitwear

Using only the finest materials (including soft lambswool sourced from a family mill operating since the 18th century), British knitwear designer, Jules Hogan creates handcrafted fashion and homeware from her garden studio in Berkshire. We spoke to Jules to hear about her business journery so far…
Shelley Welti
91 Magazine online content editor,
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Hi Jules. Why and when did you decide to start your business?

I started Jules Hogan Knitwear in 2010 while I was working full-time for a knitwear design studio. We produced inspirational designs mainly for the American market who would then develop them into garments and accessories. With my own collection I wanted to complete the whole process myself from concept through to final product.

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Tell us more about your background…

My graduating collection focused on dip and tie dye techniques, this progressed into my first appointment working for a design consultancy in London, mainly dyeing inspirational colour onto silk. A textile collection followed designing and producing print, embroidery and knit designs.

How would you describe your brand’s ethos?

My work is the study and celebration of colour in all of its subtleties. Natural materials, simple shape. Knitting machines used to produce the cloth but ‘the hand’ is used for threading up yarn, casting on and off, and finishing off loose ends.

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Can you tell us a little about the processes used to create your work? 

Colour is always the starting point for my work, I use it quite seasonally any intuitively. Palettes are selected from a range of shade cards, usually with an organic, neutral earthy feel with highlights that lift and add surprise.

The collection is continuously evolving so there is usually a new design each year with signature patterns re-coloured. I initially like to knit smaller samples to see how tones sit together before knitting larger pieces.

After knitting, each piece is pressed, the loose ends are tidied up, then washed, dried, pressed again and care labels are sewn in.

You design knitwear for those who’d like to make a ‘quiet statement’ – what does this mean to you?

My garments and accessories are designed to enhance and flatter the body, hues are chosen to suit varying complexions. It’s about helping the wearer feel comfortable and great about themselves.

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Which is your most popular product?

My most popular product are the ponchos and ponchettas, I think this is because they look great on all body shapes and they add something completely different to a customers wardrobe.

Do you have a favourite?

My favourite design last season was a colour block scarf that has taken many years to be produce exactly the way I wanted it to be as a double-sided fabric. It’s available in two colour ways, taupe with a warm orange and soft grey with a pea green.

Photography by Sam Shields
Photography by Sam Shields
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What does a typical day look like for you?

Each day starts with a cup of tea but is different depending on what’s in the diary. It generally involves answering emails, ordering supplies, researching, and gift wrapping orders. My favourite is an uninterrupted day in the studio knitting, the sound of the radio in the background getting completely lost in what I’m doing.

How does your location inspire you?

My surroundings are a constant inspiration and I look for beauty in the simplest of things, especially during dog walks in my local neighbourhood. My Horizon scarf and wrap are inspired by the countryside and Sulham Estate not far from the studio. Green space is a great de-stresser.

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How do you approach PR and marketing?

Working alone means having to juggle all of the elements of running a business but this is something I hope to improve, especially emailing news from the studio. You can usually find me on Instagram which has the most up-to-date information about what I’m working on, events and musings.

If you were to share any words of wisdom with readers looking to start a creative business – what would they be?

I would say find your niche and what makes you different and unique.

Be patient and persevere, a great quote found via The Design Trust – ‘Don’t compare your beginning with someone else’s middle’.

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What’s been your highlight so far?

For many makers, last year was very uncertain and we have had to be resilient and adapt our way of working. During the first lockdown I used this time to experiment without pressure. A real highlight came from developing the ponchettas and customers reacting favourably towards them.

What are you working on currently?

After a break, I’m excited to be working on a new project of ‘creating colour’ but with natural dyes. I’m really looking forward to discovering how this will affect my practice and how my work will develop.

Quick-fire questions

Describe your work in three words:

Timeless, understated, soft.

What are your creating rituals? 

Warm studio, Radio 4, cup of tea.

Tea or Coffee?

Ginger tea.

Mountains or sea? 

Sea.

Night owl or early bird? 

Early bird.

I wish someone had told me..

Always follow your heart, its seldom wrong.

See more from Jules at www.juleshogan.com and on Instagram.

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