Creativity and design in a contemporary knitwear business: an interview with Di Gilpin and Sheila Greenwell

Abrams, L. (2023) Creativity and design in a contemporary knitwear business: an interview with Di Gilpin and Sheila Greenwell. Textile, (doi: 10.1080/14759756.2022.2141518) (Early Online Publication)

Full text not currently available from Enlighten.


Di Gilpin is the creative director and Sheila Greenwell the production manager of Di Gilpin, an independent knitwear design studio and workshop based in Fife, Scotland. From modest origins on Skye in the 1980s, Di Gilpin is now one of the few hand knitting businesses working with the fashion industry as well as maintaining a presence within the wider hand knitting community by producing knitting patterns, kits and its own brand of knitting yarn. The designs emanating from her small studio are some of the most distinctive to be found on the catwalk, showcasing the creativity and skill required to produce high quality, fashion-forward garments. Di Gilpin has long been an advocate for hand knitting—no machines are used in her business—and has drawn attention to the skill deficit in the sector. Collaborations with the Moray Firth Gansey Project, the Knitting-in-the-Round network at the University of Glasgow and more recently with Knitwise and the Prince’s Foundation to enhance hand knitting skills in the couture knitting sector, are all part of Di’s commitment to the sustainability of the industry and the traditions of hand knit. In conversation with historian Lynn Abrams, Di and Sheila talked about the design philosophy of the company, Di’s approach to designing a garment, the challenges of working with collaborators, the relationship between the creative and technical elements of designing knitwear and the problem of skill acquisition and training in the industry.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Early Online Publication
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Abrams, Professor Lynn
Authors: Abrams, L.
College/School:College of Arts > School of Humanities > History
Journal Name:Textile
ISSN (Online):1751-8350
Published Online:24 January 2023

University Staff: Request a correction | Enlighten Editors: Update this record

Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
303148Fleece to Fashion: Economies and Cultures of Craft in Scotland - Knitted Textiles c.1780-presentLynn AbramsArts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)AH/S011528/1Arts - History