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Fashions' New Optimism: Cooperative Designs

A knitwear duo that graduated from Central St Martins who counts Schiaparelli wearing a trompe d'oeil sweater as a top fashion moment.

Annalisa Dunn and Dorothee Hagemann, Very youthful, British and German, Knitwear (designing for their label Cooperative Designs)

Where did you study and why did you decide to study there?

We both studied at Central St Martins MA. It was an easy decision to want to go there, because the course is so amazing. But it was hard work staying there!

Which city do work in and for what reason?
We work in London. Dorothee is from Berlin so the decision was not so easy for her. It would be amazing to work there because everything is so much more affordable, but the British fashion scene is so inspiring we want to be part of that.

What films/books/tv-programs/moments and stories inspire your design now?
We are both really enjoying re-watching The Sopranos, though we don’t know yet how that will affect our new collection!  Annalisa has also been suffering a huge John Waters addiction. I think some pieces from Cecil B. Demented may be cropping up next season….

In your own words describe your last collection.
Funny bright patterned stripy sexy mesh revealing knitted grandma all wrapped up chic?  

Describe the moment you realised you wanted to be a fashion designer?
Annalisa: When I worked for Peter Jensen, the studio was such a fun environment and i really enjoyed what we were doing.  
Dorothee" When I first started reading fashion magazines, when I first saw Bless and Martin Margiela back in the 90’s, and it really made me emotional.  

Who is your all time fashion idol?
Louise Wilson in a confrontational kind of way….

In a sentence how would you describe your work/style?
Traditional knitwear that is reinvented with modern techniques conceptual silhouettes and sense of humour.  

From the recent S/S 09 shows, which shows were your favourite collections, and why?
We thought Gareth Pugh was amazing, so polished yet conceptual and difficult. The Louis Vuitton collection was really inspiring, so massive and well thought out. The Vivienne Westwood collection was one of my favourites too, she had done some things we had wanted to do.  

Which new designers do you respect and why?
Gareth Pugh, because he has such a strong concept and has not compromised it for commercial success, which has now really benefited him. There are so many good new designers at the moment, Louise Gray, Peter Pilotto, Danielle Scutt.

If you could go back in time and experience any fashion moment, what would it be?
Annalisa: When Chanel started pioneering the use of jersey for womenswear.  When Schiaparelli arrived for dinner wearing her tromp l’oeil bow-necklace-jumper.   
Dorothee: Punk in London. I’d have liked to have experienced that.  

If you could get any model/ anyone to wear your clothes, who would it be - who is your muse and why?
We love Iekeliene Stange, she has an amazing and inspirational personal style. We also really like Anna Piaggi for the same reasons.

If you were to shoot your campaign and you could get your dream team of photographer, stylist, and model and do anything you wanted, who and what would it be?
Cooperative Designs S/S 09 collection, styled by Jane How, shot by Juergen Teller, starring Iekeliene Stange.  

Where do you see yourself/your label for A/W 09?
We are designing some darker pieces, we want to explore using real traditional knitwear for more evening wear pieces, as well expanding our signature styles.  

Where do you see yourself/ your label for A/W 29?
We will have our own stores, in London and Berlin at least. We will both have great consultancies for other houses, and be happy and content with what we are doing.  

Tell us any anecdotes about the making of your last collection.
One of our favourite memories is our stylist Lizzie spending days on end eating, smoking, emailing and making telephone calls all the same time. She was so inspiring and made the experience so much fun.  

If you weren’t a fashion designer what would you be?
If there was any other career we would have taken it, but there is only fashion!!!!!!