“I’ve been knitting since the winter of 2005, but it was really just for fun for a long time. I started making my own designs in 2009. I never thought that I would be a fashion designer. I actually remember watching season 2 of Project Runway in my friend’s living room and saying, ‘Wow, I could never do something like that.’”
Read on to learn more about Dylan’s journey (from watching Project Runway to launching his own business and fashion collections), his motivations, and his elegant knitwear!
Hi Dylan, can you introduce yourself and tell us about the classes that you offer?
My name is Dylan Uscher. I’m an independent knitwear designer and the owner of my own company, DYLANIUM Knits. I’m based in Boston, MA, by way of Toronto, Canada. I’ve been knitting professionally for the last 6 years and have my own collections, as well as collaborations with companies large & small, which have taken my work around the world.
I’m currently running three workshops on Verlocal. The original Stitch, Sip & Shop is the most popular class. We get together with a small group of people for a casual weeknight class where we have some wine, talk about fashion, shop some of my collection (with a discount), and, of course, learn the basics of knitting. The other two I’ve launched for the current fall/holiday season are: Knit a Cowl and Knit a Polar Bear. These workshops are for those who know the basics of knitting, but still want to learn something new and have some fun.
Your works are amazing! When did you first become interested in/passionate about fashion and knit design?
Thank you so much! I’ve been knitting since the winter of 2005, but it was really just for fun for a long time. I started making my own designs in 2009. I never thought that I would be a fashion designer. I actually remember watching season 2 of Project Runway in my friend’s living room and saying, “Wow, I could never do something like that.”
When I first started designing, I was pretty active in the hand knitting and crafting communities in Toronto, so I wanted to start submitting patterns to magazines and blogs to be published. They didn’t really go anywhere, but then I showed one of my best friends what I was working on. He was a journalist and thought they were really great, so he showed pictures of the products to a few fashion editors that he knew. They loved the pieces I’d made and started asking me to produce and sell them. That was really the moment that made me decide to really start looking at this fashion thing seriously.
Where does your inspiration come from? What made you want to pursue your passion and become a host?
The inspiration for my collections usually comes from a specific reference: an image, thought, feeling, piece of art, music, etc. And then I’ll just sit and focus on that one thing, and brainstorm ideas off of that. For example, my Fall 2016 collection is called the Winter Rose. I was inspired by an image I saw of a rose with ice crystals on it in a stark winter setting. From that one picture, I chose my mood, colors, and details that unified the collection.
I wanted to become a Verlocal host because I’d been teaching knitting classes at various levels in Toronto and Boston for the last 5 years. When I heard about Verlocal’s mission of having artists and creatives teach their passions in their own space, I thought it was an awesome opportunity.
How would you describe the link between your classes and the community around you?
Knitting is just as much about community as it is about making things. The reason we keep coming back to it is because we want to get together with our friends, build community, and create together. I’m so happy to be able to bring people together with these classes!
How long have you been living in Boston? What would you recommend to someone who just moved to this city?
I grew up in Cambridge, MA before moving to Toronto. I’ve been back in Boston since 2013. Boston really is a city of neighborhoods, each has its unique identity and feel to it. This means that a lot of locals just tend to stay put where they live or work. I’d suggest breaking out of your own neighborhood and exploring all the city has to offer. You’ll find so much cool stuff anywhere you go, and nothing is really that far away from anything else.
Tell us about your favorite moment/ biggest achievement since you started teaching your classes.
This summer, I taught the Machine Knitting course at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). It was an amazing opportunity to teach what I love to some amazing students at a very prestigious college.
What is your favorite piece of work & story behind it?
My favorite piece I’ve ever made has to be the dress I did for the 2013 White Cashmere Collection for the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation. Cashmere is a brand of bathroom tissue in Canada and they sponsor this annual event where the best designers in the country make runway-ready pieces out of their product. I spent three months folding, cutting, spinning, plying and knitting bathroom tissue to make an incredible final dress for the annual charity event. The final show was at the Art Gallery of Ontario, with roughly 400 people in attendance and several million online views. It was an incredible honor to be a part of something so meaningful that so many people got to see.
What are your goals for the future?
Right now, my goals are to continue teaching and producing at a high level with more university courses, guest lectures and teaching opportunities. I also want to expand my professional network to start working on design projects with larger businesses.
What does Verlocal mean to you?
Verlocal is an awesome opportunity for me to teach about my passions in my own space. It allows me to engage and excite people about my work and inspire them to create new things, completely on my own terms. There’s nothing better than that!
Any recommendations to someone who wants to pursue their passion for a career?
Do what you love, but let it love you back. What I mean is, pursue your passion, be creative, take risks, love what you do. Times will be hard sometimes (often?). Know yourself and know your limits. It’s okay to take a break sometimes to recharge and remember why you love doing the work that you do.
What is the love that you’re thinking of? Do you have a dream of fashion or crafter calling you now? If so, take this chance to take one of his knitting classes and meet this amazing fashion designer in person! Dylan also offers different special seasonal classes and fashion pieces, so don’t forget to keep up with his latest works by following Verlocal and his website.
All photos by Dylan Usher
What do you want to ask Dylan? Comment on our Facebook post before October 11 and one lucky commenter with the best question will receive a FREE knitting class taught by Dylan and meet him in person!
Share your thoughts now.