Meet Julie from Julie At Work
My name is Julie. I’m a fashion designer living in Brooklyn, New York. I design hand knit patterns and create fabric based jewelry and home goods. Craft has always been important to me. Growing up, I wanted to recreate things I saw in magazines but couldn’t buy at the local mall. Online retail in the early 2000’s was nothing like it is today. My interest in knitting and sewing eventually led me to study fashion design.
I learned to knit when I was in high school. My friends and I would mostly make scarfs. I started to get more sophisticated and adventurous in my projects in college. Even though I was studying fashion design at the time, knitting was mostly an escape for me. I would make other people’s patterns as a way to unwind from designing all day. I didn’t start designing my own patterns until I was a rising senior in college.
I decided I wanted to make a top-down raglan sweater, my first sweater of any kind, and I thought “why not just go all in and design my own?” This kind of jump-ahead mentality has plagued me since I started making. When I was first learning to sew as a teen, after I made my first set of PJ pants I wanted to make a Jessica McClintock prom dress. That project didn’t make it out of the house! Luckily my sweater turned out much better. It’s still in regular rotation in my wardrobe.
For me, craft is a way to engage my brain. Each project is a little puzzle to be solved. There’s nothing like the sense of pride and accomplishment I get from completing a piece or publishing a new pattern.
Craft has always played an important role in society, but I think a lot of people are becoming more aware of how it has been absent in their lives. With all the stay-at-home orders and lockdowns happening all over the world, I think people are rediscovering craft in their everyday lives. First through food, and then adding other activities as time allows. Craft and design is a lot about choice and control. In a time that feels thoroughly out of control, and where choice has become extremely limited, it’s nice to identify places where you can still feel stable.
In our modern world, having the time to craft at all is a luxury itself. With that in mind, it’s always my goal to produce projects that look and feel luxurious to honor the investments of time, money, and resources put forth by myself and other makers.
When I was younger I aspired to make everything in my life, to be completely self-sustaining and self sufficient. Needless to say I’m nowhere near that, and I’m actually glad for it. My wardrobe is a mix of store-bough and me-made items. I tend to buy more simple, utilitarian things and I save my making time to spend on something that makes more of a statement, or fulfills a very specific need in a way a mass produced item never could. I have a finite amount of time on earth and I want to use as much of that as possible to create beauty.