Laura Zukaite is a graduate from Parsons School of Design who has had her designs published in many major knitting magazines. She is also the author of Luxe Knits (2009) and the brand-new Luxe Knits: The Accessories. We caught up with Laura earlier this week.
Laura, how would you describe your knitwear design aesthetic? And how else does that sensibility show up in your life?
I would like to say that I am a modern knitwear designer, but I like to explore and play with the “old” and already established elements in search of new forms, shapes, and textures. I like to stay away from being “crafty,” but I like the actual craft of making. In my everyday life I have a great appreciation for functional elements, so I also design with function in mind. I always get involved in discussions of, “a beautiful painting or a beautiful chair,” and I always defend the chair!
I find knitwear to be the category that accessorizes trends that are happening in fashion in general. If it is about volume or a tight fit, then it is easy to make a big statement to accentuate the trend. I do not think that knitwear dictates fashion–but knits definitely add excitement to it!
You moved to America when you were just 18-years-old. What adjustment to a new country was easiest, and what did you find most difficult?
The most difficult adjustment definitely was mastering the language and making new friends when I first moved to Philadelphia. Moving to New York City for college a year later made it much easier: I found myself in a situation where everybody was new in town. We all had so much to do and see that my language barrier improved overnight.
The easiest adjustment was material detachment. I always laugh about how I moved to the United States with two suitcases…and now when I look at what I have accumulated over the past 8 years here, it puts a smile on my face.
How did you get your start knitting, and why did knitwear become your artistic medium of choice?
I have been knitting ever since I can remember. Funny, but someone pointed out recently that I have been knitting for more than 20 years. I never thought about it this way, but I guess when you love something it’s no surprise to find yourself doing it 20 years later. I have also been studying different forms of art since I was a child and enjoyed them all…and sometimes I think that artistic background has a big influence on the way I see things and the way I create my knitwear designs.
What does your perfect day off look like?
On my perfect day off I wake up, hop on my bicycle, and ride for miles and miles and miles. It makes me feel relaxed–I find myself not having to think about anything when I ride.