An Interview with Adeela Salehjee

Ahead of revealing the six winners of our latest opportunity to manufacture with Hawick Knitwear, we chat with knitwear designer and SR:D x Hawick judge, Adeela Salehjee.

How and when did you first encounter cashmere?

My father’s sweaters were always lofty and soft which made me curious as to why different wools had such contrasting hand feel. You have to experience the technical end to end process of how a garment is constructed and how varying wash levels can effect the surface appearance and hand feel of the textile. Once you start wearing cashmere it is rather difficult to wear another type of wool.

What is your relationship to Hawick Knitwear?

I worked with the parent company of Hawick Knitwear whilst working at Burberry. I also went to visit the Hawick factory in July of this year.

Tell us about your experience in the industry, what was your favourite element of working with Burberry?

It is a competitive fast paced Industry that requires patience, perseverance and a thick skin. I spent eight wonderful years and learnt a lot about the runnings of a corporate fashion business at Burberry. It is only when you move away from project managing diverse teams, that you realise how much happens behind the scenes that you are aware of, but only learn more about when you become an Independent brand.

What is it about Hawick Knitwear that inspires you?

Hawick knitwear has a history that dates back to 1874. The fact that all garments are made in the factory by skilled craftsmen and craftswomen with decades of experience behind them.

The Hawick Knitwear brand encapsulates an incredible heritage. Their private well pumps pure, crisp, Scottish water into the factory from a burn that runs nearby. This water is used in the washing process of the sweaters to release their natural softness during the manufacturing process. This ensures that the jumper stays soft and comfortable for years to come and can be passed down to the next generation.ᅠ

What are you looking to for in the Hawick Knitwear applications?

I am looking for a curiousness and keen eye for design. Also someone who has a strong commercial style because at the end of the day that is what sells.

How many pieces of cashmere do you own?

Gosh I’ve designed two collections so I own approximately over a hundred till I sell them. Just joking! I have one of every design and often wear them out to represent the brand.

Who are your favourite contemporary knitwear brands?

Derek Lawlor’s recent collection has a good creative and commercial balance. Its edgy, yet creative and cool.

Adeela’s cashmere collection is available at Fofolles pop-up until December 12th at 27 Duke Street, London, W1U 1LE.