LONDON, United Kingdom — “I like when people see my clothes and say, ‘oh, is that knit?’” confesses 32-year-old Lucas Nascimento. Indeed, the knitwear designer’s garments can be deceiving. His slick, sculpted silhouettes and intricate textures make his pieces look more like they’re crafted from some kind of luxurious techno-fabric from the future than woven cashmere, cotton and chenille. And that is precisely the designer’s goal. “I love crafty, chunky knits, but I want to go against that a bit because I see knitting as a path to creating something new,” he says. “There’s so much you can do with knits nowadays thanks to high-tech equipment and that really excites me.”
After only three seasons, Nascimento has done a lot, like developing special cord weaving techniques and forging a distinctive aesthetic that fuses everyday inspirations, often found in his East London neighbourhood, with sophisticated shapes and a bit of a granny vibe. “I just love old ladies! From the lengths of their garments to how they put their clothes together,” he laughs.
Balancing vivid colours and unexpected textures is something Nascimento also does very well. “I never want it to be too much,” he says. And, as evidenced by his hand-stitched finishings, the designer pays close attention to the little details.
Raised in Sao Paulo, Brazil, the half Italian, half Brazilian Nascimento began knitting at the age of 11. “My mother taught me in the countryside,” he recalls, noting that his mum’s sense of style has influenced him throughout his career. In 2001, he moved to London to improve his English and ended up studying knitwear at the London College of Fashion. “I just thought it would be amazing to do this. I never doubted it,” he said, when asked how he chose his course of study.
After graduation, Nascimento stayed on in London. He began working with Brazilian brands like Ellus 2nd Floor and Neon, as well as Basso & Brooke, and in 2011, launched his own line with a show held in his native country.
Last season, after winning NEWGEN sponsorship, Nascimento showed in London for the first time. His collection included sporty figure-hugging tops, skirts and trousers, geometric chenille looks and a range of pieces in abstracted graffiti prints, inspired by Kingsland Road and the streets of Brazil, garnering interest from prestigious retailers including LN-CC, Matches and Le Bon Marché, which now stock his pieces.
But while he enjoys the exciting pace at which his business is growing, Nascimento believes that, above all else, it’s essential to take things one step at a time. “I think pacing yourself is really important if you want to be strong in the future.”
For this month’s spotlight, Nascimento created a custom BoF logo that illustrates his knack for innovative weaves, as well as his fondness of very particular colours. “Colour is something that’s very strong for me. There’s always navy blue and yellow,” he says.
As for the future, Nascimento hopes to one day launch an accessories range, but first, he’s placing his focus on shoes, which, for the fall season, came in the form of minimal open toe suede heels. “I’d love to do more down the line, but if you’re going to do something, it needs to be fantastic. There’s a time for everything.”
That may be so, but there’s little doubt that right now, it’s Nascimento’s time to shine.
Katharine K. Zarrella is an associate contributor at The Business of Fashion.
Photos by contributing photographer Morgan O’Donovan. Photographic Assistant: Jeff Yiu. Stylist: John Williams. Hair and Makeup: Teresa Davies. Model: Sophie at Storm.