Nikki Walker

Bachelor of Design (Textiles)

Nikki Walker completed her Bachelor of Design in Textiles in July 2017 and is currently working towards her Master’s Degree in the same discipline. During her undergraduate programme she was given the opportunity to work with both print and knit technologies, after which she opted to focus being her efforts on knitting. ‘I am constantly fascinated by what is achievable on the Shima Seiki flatbed knit machines and enjoy both the freedoms and restrictions that these systems offer’, she says.

During her undergraduate studies, Nikki was supervised by Dr Mandy Smith and Rachelle Moore and mentored by TDL Senior Technician, Gordon Fraser, who taught her programming and the machine operating skills required to produce her range of bags. ‘The TDL played a major part in my work. Gordon has vast experience and knowledge of Shima knitting technology, and as my focus was primarily on knit, I was in constant contact with him. His technical skills are fantastic, and his patience second to none!’

Towards the end of her final year, Nikki won a scholarship to intern with AllBirds in San Francisco, where she spent 6 weeks working with their design team. She was also a finalist in the industry sponsored student competition, Raising the Baa, in which students from all disciplines were encouraged to develop new applications for coarse wool. Nikki also entered her seamless knitted bags into the Student Product category for the 2018 Best Awards in which she was selected as a finalist.

Since graduating with her Bachelor of Design degree, Nikki took up a design role with Manawatu Knitting Mills in Palmerston North, where she developed a collection for their Native World label. The new collection was launched in September 2018.

Nikki says she benefitted immensely from working with Gordon who shared his vast technical knowledge with her. ‘This has been vital for me to sell myself as a textile designer and to build confidence in my own ability’, she says. ‘Gordon spent many hours doing variations on stitch structures and colourways for me and his enthusiasm prevailed even after dealing with the many student requests that he receives’, she adds.

Nikki's fashion designs

Examples of Nikki’s seamless knitted bags