London Fashion Week: King of knitwear Mark Fast of Dalston



Mark Fast Shows his latest collection at Somerset House. Photo: Cassandra Martin

The fashion designer whose studio is based in Hackney, wowed them again at  London Fashion Week, when he showed his summer 2012 collection a week ago.

Fast,  a Canadian who graduated from Central St. Martins, is known for his exciting and innovative use of yarns of  wool, linen, silk and cotton in his stunning knitwear designs…which are not your grandmothers style of knitwear. We’re talking body clinging mini dresses, floor sweeping tasselled ensembles, high wasted slim legged pants and even swim wear.


Summer 2012 collection - tassels and frills. Photo: Cassandra Martin

And it’s not just his designs that stands him apart. His decision to add “curvier” models to his show back in February 2010 raised his profile, especially after his stylist and and creative director walked out at the 11th hour, angry about having to work with “healthy”  girls.  He has since used size 12 and 14 models in various catwalk shows and has been lauded for his effort in challenging the fashion world obsession with skeletal size zeros.

While a lot of people were happy about his inclusion of  size 12 – 14’s they (including me) wasn’t too thrilled with the fitting. They may have been curvier, but they were definitely squeezed into smaller sizes, which did nothing for them.

He's been dubbed the yarn alchemist - Mark Fast

When I asked Fast if he would be introducing a plus line any time soon, he replied: “We always design with fit in mind. A lot of the dresses they wore were body-con so they obviously look tight fitting”.  I took that as a no.  In the past he has used Crystal Renn (who by the way has now shrunk from a size 16) and Gywneth Harrison (a healthy size 12).

It was a long shot, but I asked if he was ever inspired by the fair maidens of Hackney. He non-commitally responded; “We had a fabulous model from Hackney in our Faster by Mark Fast collection in New York Fashion Week…. She looked rather amazing!”

Even more amazing is that Cassandra Martin a student from Hackney was there and sent us some photo’s.

Mark Fast Website

Photo: Cassandra Martin

Crystal Renn - Autumn/Winter 2010

About Remi

Remi Hackney Hive founder, publisher and contributor. Hackneyite and all round Girl Friday who couldn't wait to leave Hackney and London behind her. After hitching her wagon in California, Texas, New Orleans, Louisiana for 18 years, with a brief spell in Mexico, the prodigal daughter returned to London, happy to put an unconventional and risqué past behind her. It sometimes feels like she’s still at war with herself. This often leads her into a whole lot of trouble, although it’s fair to blame it on some of her best qualities: intelligence, original thinking, willingness to take risks, skepticism, rebelliousness, independence, and creativity. But you know what, much of the trouble she gets into is because she can’t help pointing out that the emperor is naked. Remi still lives by her own rules, nobody else’s. She is owned by her two dogs Deffer(a Jack Russell ) Darcy (a Jack Russell/Pomeranian mix now deceased but can’t remove their names) and two Black cats she adopted December 2021, Desmond and Tutu. She is proprietor of London’s finest and long established pet sitting service. The big smoke is home for the moment, but she desperately yearns wide open spaces, where she hopes to call home in the near future.


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