This Knitwear Trend From Instagram Is So Unexpected (& It's Sustainable, Too)

by Danielle Naer

For those who never shy away from an eye-popping, maximalist look, you're in luck: there's a new look that's rippling across Instagram, and it's made for extroverted dressers. With loud colors, contrasting textures, and unexpected silhouettes, the patchwork trend is about to be all over your feed (if it isn't already) — with more designers taking a stab at the piece-y look everyday. The best part? It's totally sustainable.

Before starting Rua Carlota, one of Instagram's leading patchwork knit brands, Charlotte Rose Kirkham was not a designer. Instead, she was a formally trained mathematician who boasted a passion for pre-loved clothing. As a shopper, she'd noticed a lack of excitement around the "sustainable" fashion market — specifically with vintage boutiques, which can be heavily curated to a fault. Kirkham sought to give her pieces (many of which weren't fitting the mold at many secondhand shops) a second life. Using her knowledge of mathematics, Kirkham pieced together the scraps of fabric that fit best, tying them all together with punchy contrasting stitching. Thus, Rua Carlota was born — and it's been a cult-obsession ever since.

Beyond being an ultra-chic spin on the knit and crochet trend that's everywhere now, these patchwork styles are also challenging throwaway culture. By using exclusively pre-loved and deadstock materials, designers like Jasmine James of JJvintage extend the lifespan of clothing that may have otherwise wound up in landfills. James' brand follows a clear mantra: "recycle, reuse, and repurpose" — turning old Nike clothing into refurbished tops, skirts, dresses, and more. Not only does working with a limited set of materials help to reduce waste — it also guarantees that each piece is entirely one-of-a-kind, so that no two looks are ever the same.

Once you sort out which of the patchwork knit brands catch your eye, be sure to give them a follow on Instagram — most of their hotly anticipated drops are teased there, first. Then, continue below for the pieces that are already available for the taking, in a variety of shapes, sizes and styles:

We only include products that have been independently selected by The Zoe Report's editorial team. However, we may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.