Interview with Lizzie Cawthray, Director of Needle

Lizzie Cawthray is challenging the outdated notions of knitwear with her fresh, stylish and playful company, Needle. Cawthray aims to produce luxurious pieces that make her customers feel fantastic. After working as the knitwear product developer at LK Bennet for a number of years, Cawthray decided to focus her attentions fully on the versatile material and Needle was born. She speaks to Aesthetica about her future plans and the designers who inspire her.

A: How would you define the ethos of Needle?
The Needle ethos is to make beautiful knitwear that is classic with a contemporary edge. For us it has always been about playing with different textures through the type of stitch we use or being playful with colour. As a brand we want to have the best quality product which is the most desirable and coolest women’s knitwear brand out there and the one to go to in the UK and Europe.

A: What was it that drew you to knitwear in particular?
LC: Emma, the Needle designer is really the reason that I was particularly drawn to knitwear. We met working together at LK Bennett; Emma was the knitwear designer and I was the knitwear product developer but we made a great team and Ems showed me that knitwear could be so playful and interesting and not just a cardigan or jumper. I just wanted to share the love for the knitwear. It doesn’t need to be dowdy or old fashioned, it can be stylish and fun and worn every day.

A: What is currently your favourite garment from the collection?
LC: My favourite piece in the Spring/Summer collection is the Sicily top, it is a blend of silk and cotton, and knitted incredibly fine so it’s a beautiful light weight piece with scalloped trim detailing. I have it in cream and it is my fail safe piece for going out or for meetings. Working for myself I don’t have lots of smart work wear, I have a lot of smart casual clothes and the Sicily top is so easy to dress up with a patterned pair of trousers and a pretty necklace.

A: Which designers have inspired you?
LC: Personally I am a fan of Anya Hindmarch, Tory Burch and Diana Von Furstenberg – not that I actually own so much of their products, but I love the brands they have created. They are luxurious and stylish and have their own trademarks which they have each become famous for. That’s what I would like for Needle, to be recognised for our trademark style, this currently seems to be cable knits!!

A: How would you like to develop the company in the future?
LC: In the future I would like to create a men’s knitwear range, it’s something we get asked about regularly and clearly there is quite a gap in the market for stylish, fun men’s knitwear. But first I would like to grow the women’s wear in the international market and continue to grow our wholesale stockists in the UK.

To find out more about Needle, visit

1. Image courtesy of Needle.