Stefan Cooke designs one-off piece for sale to help fight coronavirus

The young brand is part of Commuknitty, a network of London-based knitwear designer hosting an auction to support the Emergency Designer Network

by Mahoro Seward
24 June 2020, 8:45am

Courtesy of Stefan Cooke

Yes, this year really has been a bit of a shitter, but if there’s solace to be found anywhere, it’s in the speed and care with which a diverse array of business communities have rallied to do their part to help where they can. In fashion, for example, numerous large houses were quick to commit to manufacturing PPE and hand sanitisers for staff on the pandemic’s frontline.

And in London, independent designers have proven that you don’t need access to large-scale production facilities to make an impact. Led by designers Holly Fulton, Bethany Williams and Phoebe English, the Emergency Designer Network has assembled a volunteer team of the city’s young fashion talent to produce much-needed scrubs for hospital and care home workers.

“PPE (in the form of scrubs) is vital for the safety of those working in hospitals,” say Stefan Cooke and Jake Burt -- the pair behind Stefan Cooke -- who joined the initiative during lockdown. “We had seen so many reports of a lack of protective gear and as a result was endangering the people who were working hard to fight the coronavirus.”

Now, the duo are extending their commitment to the cause through a sale organised by Commuknitty, a London-based fundraising network of knitters and designers, with all proceeds going towards the Emergency Designer Network. “We first heard about Commuknitty from the knit consultancy company we work with, Knitster, who asked us to design a one-off knit garment that would be made from left-over yarns and produced in London to then be auctioned,” say Stefan and Jake.

Along with designers Ahluwalia, Daniel W. Fletcher, Carlota Barrera, Paolina Russo, Kepler and Berthold, they’ve produced a one-of-a-kind piece for the sale, which launches this Friday. “It gave us the opportunity to go back to an idea we had had for a previous project that hadn’t gotten realised,” the duo explain. “We used research we had done into golf jumpers, hence the argyle pattern. We then added the slashes that disrupt the classic motif across the chest and sleeves. We wanted a hand-knit vintage feel that is then made unfamiliar and strange by the slashed technique we apply to a lot of our knits.”

Commuknitty’s charity auction will take place here from 28th June till 5th July.

stefan cooke
Emergency Designer Network