Knit Knack

Tom Scott dresses up the sweater.
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You could say that woven textiles are in designer Tom Scott's blood. "My grandmother was a lace maker, and my father was a carpet weaver," says Scott, who got his start at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. "I was fascinated by the knitting machine," recalls the designer. "I was always seeing how far I could push it."
Along the way, the 32-year-old Pennsylvania native did something right. After spending five years as an accessories designer for a Ralph Lauren licensee, Scott began his own small line of knit pieces, like the Vertebrae scarf, a dramatic piece of neckwear that started out as an experiment. "When making the scarf I actually pull the fabric off the machine and twist it back and forth," explains Scott. "The manipulation results in something that's simultaneously soft and hard." That accordion-like piece is now just one part of the fall 2006 collection of sweaters that range from the practical to the fantastical.
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"There's a certain element of conceptual humor in my designs," says Scott, as evident in an alpaca and wool crochet knit shrug that buttons tight at the neck and then crops at the chest with a hanging hem. A simple brown cardigan reveals a lighter side, but this time with a double hem. "Even when I experiment, I still try to make pieces that are wearable and versatile." Take the cowl-neck cardigan with silk organza covered buttons; it can be shown buttoned up or open, and can also be reversed and worn front to back, making it four sweaters in one.
The versatility of his line extends into spring '07, his most complete collection to date. "I wanted to present a fuller look." So, along with his sweaters, he's introduced a line of equally cheerful pants. There will be crisp trousers cinched at the waist with belts made of sweater bits in lengths that rest somewhere between capri and crop. Scott has reinvented the legging in a drop-waisted style that pairs perfectly with one of his draped panel pullovers. And he's even made an attempt to bring back the skort, but in a crisp seersucker with a fabric tie. His experimentation with textiles continues also with an Itarsia, an argyle style that reveals the threads on the outside, rather than the inside. "I want to keep my clothing wearable, but interesting at the same time." So while that sweater might look like it's falling apart, it's in fact more finished than most of the pieces already in your closet.
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Tom Scott is available in New York at Shelly Steffee, 34 Gansevoort Street, 917-408-0409, and in Los Angeles at Noodle Stories, 8323 West Third Street, 323-651-1782. For more information go to www.tomscottnyc.com.
Photography by Stephen Rose
Tom Scott dresses up the sweater.
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