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Yellow Minnow for British Textile Week


Yellow Minnow is a knitwear design partnership established by Ann Wilson and Maggie Smith. Ann and Maggie graduated from the Fashion Textiles degree course at Brighton University in 1989. They gained experience as part of design teams at Kenzo (Paris), Anna Scipioni (Italy) and Missoni (Italy), before founding Yellow Minnow.

Yellow Minnow

Yellow Minnow

Yellow Minnow was one of the first knit swatch studios to provide a unique service to the fashion industry, namely an inspirational, trend-driven knit portfolio of designs. Sharing their love and passion for everything knitted is still the ethos of Yellow Minnow.

The studio has collaborated with many designers and companies around the world. They have worked with Marc Jacobs, Helmut Lang, Chloe, Gucci and Topman on amazing garments for their catwalk shows and advertising campaigns. They have twice captured the front page of WWD for Helmut Lang and Marc Jacobs.

They are currently working with labels and brands such as Anthropologie, Casey Casey, Tsumori Chisato, Essential, Boden, Brooks Brothers, Coach, Erdos and Maryling.

Yellow Minnow

Yellow Minnow

Yellow Minnow

Speaking about their passion for knit design, Ann and Maggie enthuse about knitwear:

“Knitwear will be so important going forward; something soft and comfortable to wear that gives that much needed hug. Something that brings joy through its colour and pattern, or comfort through the softness of its yarn and richness of hue. 

Knitwear can be nostalgic or incredibly new. It can be made in the most amazing hi-tech factories or simply with a single pair of knitting needles. This is what we love about the knitwear industry. 

Each season we look through the beautiful new yarn collections proposed by the yarn spinners, keeping in mind themes, trends, colours or techniques that keep reappearing, or which we feel are important. 

This year has been the strangest and most difficult since we started the business. However, we have used the time spent in lockdown to draw inspiration from nature, art, crafts, film and our fabric archive, in order to reflect on and develop new ideas. 

We have a deep knowledge of the industry and have seen many changes during our careers, so we feel able to adapt and react to change quickly. 

Asked about what they love most about their chosen careers as knit designers Maggie responds: “Combining patterns, colour and technique always inspires me”.    Ann comments: “I love yarn and texture and using stitches and colour unexpectedly. I have been developing some knits for a French fashion company and with NGOs in India, reusing offcut fabrics. I enjoy the challenge of working with limited materials and techniques, and producing something sustainable, precious and beautiful.”


UKFT’s British Textile Week is a digital showcase of the craftsmanship, imagination and innovation of the UK textile industry.