Fashion designer Gabriele Knecht realized something that clothes makers were neglecting in their clothing designsthat our arms come out of our sides in a slightly forward direction, and we work them in front of our bodies. Knechts patented Forward Sleeve design is based on this observation. It lets the arms move freely without shifting the whole garment and allows clothes to drape gracefully on the body.
Gabriele Knecht was born in Germany in 1938 and came to America when she was 10 years old. She studied fashion design, and in 1960, received a bachelor of fine arts degree from Washington University in St. Louis. Knecht also took courses in physics, cosmology, and other areas of science that may seem unrelated to the fashion industry. Her broadened knowledge, however, helped her understand shapes and methods of pattern design. In 10 years she filled 20 notebooks with sketches, analyzed all the angles that sleeves can take, and made 300 experimental patterns and garments.
Although Gabriele Knecht had been a successful designer for several New York companies, she felt she had more creative potential. Struggling to start her own business, Knecht met a buyer from Saks Fifth Avenue department store who liked Knechts designs. Soon she was creating them exclusively for the store, and they sold well. In 1984, Gabriele Knecht received the first annual More Award for the best new designer of womens fashions.
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