Checking in: Mark Fast on New Diffusion Line, Refusal to Dress Lady Gaga

Knitwear designer Mark Fast isn't one to shy away from a little controversy. Notorious for his form-fitting, often dangerously revealing "body hosiery," the designer -- a graduate of London's Central Saint Martins -- is as fearless about risque mini-dresses as he is about business decisions. Fast famously turned down the opportunity to dress Lady Gaga, saying he didn't want to become known for creating "fast food fashion." He's also a champion of plus-size models, inviting curvaceous ladies to stomp down his spring 2010 runway.

With a successful new diffusion line, "Faster," and a spectacular spring collection enjoying plenty of editorial love, Fast is striding fearlessly into the future. We caught up with London's resident crochet-ing bad boy to hear what's keeping him busy this summer, and how he feels about being labeled one of fashion's "edgiest" newcomers.

What first attracted you to knitwear?
It was the machine itself that intrigued me. It was like a metallic piano. I didn't know how to play it, but the discovery of the unknown gave me much joy in knitwear.
You're famous for creating your own knitting techniques. Can you describe the kind of hands-on work that goes into creating a Mark Fast piece?
Once the vibe of the collection is formulated, the sampling of the techniques start. Everything is done by hand at my studio and for each knitter, the dress becomes quite personal to them. When the finished garment is tried on a model, it is endearing and exciting moment for my team. It would be less exciting if we were cutting and sewing a garment together. Every millimeter of the garment is through the hands of my knitters.
How does your diffusion line, Faster, differ from the main collection?
Faster is a line of luxury basics. They are created with a different form of machinery. They can be made in high quantities, so the whole world is able have fun with the power of stretch!
You're often dubbed a 'controversial' designer, from skin-baring designs to declining to dress Lady Gaga. Are you surprised by the epithet, or have you always had "edgy" tendencies, so to speak?
I always have a point of view, and sometimes not everyone agrees. But I must follow through with the voice of what my heart says, no matter the consequence.
Who would you love to see in a Mark Fast creation?
I want to see more men wearing my creations. I would be interested to get their opinions on my work.
What are you most looking forward to this summer?
Canoeing at my cottage!

What album are you listening to on 'repeat'?
"'Pink Friday," by Nicki Minaj.

The book we've all got to read:
The Holy Bible.

The title of your memoir would probably be:
When in Doubt, Stretch It Out!
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