Santiago Knits: Luxurious Necessities for the Modern Woman

Julio Santiago creates knitted sweaters, dresses and more that hug your curves.
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julio santiago knits

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BettyConfidential: You create/design knitwear. How is the process different than designing other types of clothing?

JS: I design full fashion knitwear so there is no cutting and sewing. Each piece is knitted to shape.

BettyConfidential: What is the design process like?

JS: I need to be inspired first. Then I chose my color palette for the season and I start knitting. It doesn’t need to be anything specific; I just let the fibers talk to me. Then I sketch simple shapes and from there the loom takes over, after that it is hard to stop and I spend quite some time editing my creation to simplest form of expression.

BettyConfidential: Were you ever given a piece of advice that you didn’t follow and wish you did? If so, what was it?

JS: No. I always welcome advice and make it part of my decision making but I have no regrets. Experience is everything and learning is a never ending process. It is important to make informed decisions but it is vital to accept that sometimes your decisions will be as good as what you know at the time. You can change your mind later, but never regret it.

BS: You work with Italian yarns and Alpaca, are they very delicate to work with? What is it about Alpaca that makes it so sought after?

JS: I work with many different fibers. Royal Alpaca is a fine soft fiber that is very durable and has great draping as the longer coarser hairs are removed during the spinning process.

BettyConfidential: What is your favorite yarn to work with and why?

JS: I can’t commit to just one. I love the silkiness of Bamboo, the softness of Cashmere, the lightness of linen, but I wouldn’t be able to stop; I love cotton, angora and many more.

BettyConfidential: Do you have a personal motto?

JS: Keep it simple.

BettyConfidential: Who is your ideal customer?

JS: I always say that I design for women that range between the ages of when they start shopping until they stop.

My designs are for women who appreciate effortless style with a sass and sophistication. It has a little bit of attitude, yet very approachable, classic yet different, unpretentious yet noticeable.

BettyConfidential: If you could dress any celebrity—living or dead—who would it be?

JS: Many, but I guess Nicole Kidman is someone I admire for her walk and statuesque presence..

BettyConfidential: What’s your favorite part of the design process? What’s the part you like the least?

JS: Without hesitation I can say that sitting at the loom creating shapes is by far the phase I enjoy the most. The least favorite…? I must confess that invisibly linking is what I would avoid if I could.

BettyConfidential: Where do you find inspiration?

It doesn’t happen in a particular place, I think it has to do more with what I am experiencing at the time. Most times I am inspired by architecture but it could come to me simply from colors and shapes from my gardens as easily.

BettyConfidential: Do you have a style or designer icon?

JS: Jean Paul Gaultier is one of my favorite designers. He has always been true to himself, genuine, unapologetic and genius at pushing limits.

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PJ Gach is Senior Editor: Style + Beauty at BettyConfidential.

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