Lucy and Anne Aitchison of knitwear label Dorothy. Image supplied.
Mother and daughter duo Anne and Lucy Aitchison are the women behind knitwear label Dorothy which makes gorgeous hand-knitted jumpers. The duo’s unique designs are created using locally sourced materials and are stocked exclusively online at Well Made Clothes. Dorothy came to life in 2017 after Lucy remembered her Mum had been a knitter in the 80’s. She thought with her Mum’s knitting and design skills and her own often wacky ideas they could come together and create some unique knitwear that is modern and offbeat.
All of their Dorothy jumpers they are one-offs and knitted with New Zealand mohair or wool sourced from small businesses. Lucy designs most of the jumpers by creating a sketch and Anne translates that into the knitted garment. Their designs are inspired by paintings, photography, art history, pop art, nature and exciting colour combos.
We caught up with Lucy and Anne to find out more about their label, what inspires them and what you would never catch them wearing!
What made you become designers?
Lucy: Mum had mentioned she wanted some pocket money and was going to get a waitressing job and I thought that was a bit rough considering she should be retiring not getting a second job. Then I remembered what a fab knitwear designer she had been in the heyday of the ’80’s knit’ and thought with her skills and designs and some of my wacky ideas we could come together and create something for today’s market. Handmade, offbeat, original.
Anne: I can remember thinking I’d like to be a clothing designer as I was leaving school but was swayed in the direction of being a “sensible” teacher! Knitting, along with many years of creating wearable art, is my creative outlet.
What inspires you?
L: Painting, photography, art history, exciting colour combos, pop culture.
A: Lucy’s ideas.
Describe your personal style/s and how it influences your designs?
L: My style is pretty random and I come up with some pretty random designs – Mum must think I’m nuts sometimes – I don’t like to follow the rules so I think our jumpers reflect that.
A: I’m generally pretty conservative so I love to be inspired by lots of different ideas.
Hand-knitted jumpers by Dorothy. Right image from Well Made Clothes.
What is your all-time favourite purchase?
L: A full length, velvet, leopard print dress with matching elbow-length gloves. Bought at Hunter and Collectors in Wellington.
A: Presently it’s a dress my daughters bought me from Kowtow.
What wardrobe item should everyone invest in?
L: That’s a hard one – maybe some well tailored trousers or a raincoat?
A: Something they love and feel great wearing.
Do you have a style rule you always obey?
What has been the highlight of your career/s so far?
L: Seeing Mum’s amazing knitting skills. There is no design I have come up with that she can’t create!
A: That people have liked our designs enough to buy them.
Hand-knitted jumper by Dorothy.
What can’t you live without?
L: Black liquid eyeliner.
A: Good food.
Finish this sentence – You would never catch us wearing…
L: I wouldn’t be able to answer this honestly – as there is always the possibility that in the future I would change my mind and end up wearing Funkis clogs or a Billabong visor or even Ed Hardy jeans and then I would be a hypocrite.
A: Something my daughters told me didn’t suit me.