Inside The Mind Of Mischa Lampert

With Fall upon us and Winter on its way, we wanted to find out more about a designer that makes us covet the chilly weather, or at least its required wardrobe, with her fabulous and cozy line of hand-spun knit accessories. Mischa Lampert is a knit-aficionado that transformed her love of hairstyles and art into a successful and original line of hats, scarves and now, handbags. Find out what brought this Dutch-born designer to the States, how she creates her amazing pieces and what the future holds for her.

Mischa Lampert

Mischa Lampert, perfecting one of her knit creations.

Izabella M. de Souza: How did you get into knitting?
Mischa Lampert: I was truly bad at knitting and crocheting in school when I was a kid. As a six-year-old, I took a small school project home (two pot handles) to have my mum fix, but it was such a disaster. She unraveled it and crocheted new ones herself. As a teenager, I became obsessed with any kind of hat and hairstyles. One day, I had this idea that I could somehow knit a hairstyle/hat/wig and went to our neighbor and asked her to show me the basic stitches. This was at the beginning of the 90s, when (Maison) Martin Margiela and the whole deconstruction in fashion thing started and I loved it. Let’s just say that was part of my inspiration for my first knitted cap, which was more of a spider web molded to the head than a hat, but cool… Say, a spider web hairnet?

I.D.: What brought you to the U.S.?
M.L.: As long as I remember, I was always fascinated and somehow in love with New York, even if the 80s media was pretty negative. But I loved break dance, graffiti, the music, the magazines, Warhol and the whole art scene. I would visit New York and record street noise with a tape recorder, shut the curtains at home in the country side in the Netherlands, and pretend I was (back) in New York. So my New York obsession brought me to the U.S.

I.D.: I am a lover of all things knit, and your pieces truly stand out because of the impeccable quality of your wool. Do you think working with wool is easier than other materials?
M.L.: I like the whole process of making something out of “nothing”. I get the raw fiber and spin my own wool. So as I mold the product right from the start, it makes it easier for me.

I.D.: The hues on your color sheet are simple yet bold. How did you choose such a clean and fun color sheet?
M.L.: Ha! Thank you! I like muted or non colors best; grey, beige, mink, white, black or really, really strong colors that pop. As I personally do not wear other colors, I have a hard time doing the rest of the color sheet. I usually have a table full of swatches in blues etc., and when friends come over, I ask them which they like best. Oh yes, wedgewood blue.

Mischa Lampert

" I like the whole process of making something out of 'nothing'," says Lampert.

I.D.: I love the exaggerated ear flaps on your Big Knot Hat. What inspires you to create such interesting details?
M.L.: I usually take my inspirations from hairstyles or haircuts like an exaggerated bob cut.

I.D.: Knitting is often considered a stress-reliever. Because knitting is such a large part of your work, do you find it to be labor intensive or relaxing?
M.L.: Absolutely relaxing. It is the most soothing part of my day.

I.D.: On average, how long does it take to complete one of your pieces?
M.L.: It depends on the piece and it’s also a combination of spinning the wool and (then) knitting the piece.

I.D.: We are excited that you are expanding to handbags. What else can we expect from you in the future?
M.L.: Teapot cozies!

– Izabella M. de Souza, E-Commerce Copywriter

2 Comments

  1. BARRY MORGANSTERN
    Posted 11.16.10 at 9:24 am | Permalink | Reply

    Interview questions focus on need to know information and this interview was extremely well written

  2. kathy o'malley
    Posted 11.29.10 at 10:34 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Finally – a glimpse of this artist. VG interview. I’m a 60-YO novice knitter – any idea where I can learn more about ML? Thanks.

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