Daniel McGeough is a Scottish knitwear designer. Inspired by boats and sailing equipment, his final BA collection is a rich variety of textures that result in a strong collection with a minimal, geometric aesthetic.
Talking of his inspiration, McGeough says “The initial idea came from my love of traditional British Isles knitwear (such as Aran & Fair Isle knits) and how these ‘gansies’ were worn especially by fishermen & sailors around the UK”. This lead McGeough to research the boats these men would work on and to produce some beautiful photographic research. His photograph work took place in the Scottish Maritime Museum in Irvine (from where the majority of his research was taken), the National Maritime Museum and the Museum of London Docklands. He also visited various canals, riversides and docks in Scotland and London. McGeough says “I took photos of the interior and exterior of boats, sailing equipment and anything else relevant which I felt possessed interesting qualities”.
Using various collage and mixed media techniques, McGeough pieces together designs which are developed into small, experimental swatches. These swatches he then combines or enlarges and displays on the body, whether through illustration or mannequin. It is at this point that he manipulates weights through a trial and error process to see how different samples work together, or whether they are better on their own and unedited, before developing his most successful pieces in large scale. Colour was an important part of what attracted me to McGeough’s work. Colour was translated “from photo to collage, breaking down the proportions and combinations of colour (he) found most appealing”. Contrasting oranges and blues are weaved with pale greys and create a striking knit. McGeough attempted to dye the fabrics himself but, unhappy with the results, he bought the yarns instead, though he is not deterred from dying in the future. He uses a mix or natural and synthetic materials; merino, wool, cotton, silk, linen, mohair, alpaca, rayon, viscose and acrylic.
Primarily a menswear designer, McGeough feels positive about the menswear climate and displays real passion for pushing the boundary of the ‘traditional menswear designer’. “I think that the contemporary menswear market is a very exciting place at the moment with such a large scope of clientele that there is a niche for every designer and it would be a shame to change or adapt someone’s style to suit a male or female garment. I try to create fabrics which are different and unusual for menswear but at the same time are (hopefully) interesting and desirable”. When I ask him how important it is to him that his work is commercial, he responds “I didn’t intentionally set out to create pieces that were commercial with this collection, that just happened of it’s own accord. I wouldn’t say that producing a commercial collection is extremely important to me, I would just hate to think that someone would view my collection as boring and dismissible against someone who has produced work which is highly concept driven and a bit mental but ultimately unwearable”.
McGeough is job hunting at the moment but he is also looking to continue with freelance work. With access to industrial machines (including a domestic at home) and a “now ridiculously sized supply of needles and hooks”, McGeough is far from stopping. McGeough works both by hand and industrial machine (he can’t pick a favourite). He hasn’t ruled out doing an MA in the future, and hopes to produce a new collection soon and he wants to continue creating.