Published on ymemerson.com, March 13, 2016
Photo by Benjamin Frohman
Meet Pilar Duralde. Part time Writing for Film and TV major, part time sweater knitter. But she’s no grandma. This first semester senior makes delightfully quirky “boob sweaters” with a bad-ass message.
YM: Why did you start making these types of sweaters?
P: I made myself one last year around this time. I guess I had a dull black sweater lying around and I was thinking of what to do with it and I thought it would be a fun design. I was kind of scared to wear it at first, but it became second nature. Then everyone started asking about them, so when it was time for me to start funding my BFA I started to make and sell more.
YM: Is there a message that you want to give off with your sweaters?
P: I suppose it’s really about desexualizing breasts and creating a safer environment for them to be casually present. The stigma around breastfeeding has always bothered me, and I wholly support Free the Nipple. I don’t think I’m bold enough to go topless when it is warm out, and frankly, I’m not sure that it’s safe enough for a woman in America to truly free the nipple. Ultimately, the sweater is a cozier rebellion that more people can actively participate in (even guys!)
YM: What’s your experience in making clothes/knitting/art?
P: I learned to knit and crochet in the fifth grade but it really took until high school for me to pick them up again. I’ve made blankets, socks, sweaters, all sorts of things! I can do some sewing, I made my prom dresses in high school. I used to play bass, I write, I take pictures. Any project that can push me creatively or my skill set is worth trying. There is a constant need I have to be consuming or creating art, any time I can combine the two is perfect.
YM: How many sweaters have you made? How many have you sold?
P: I’ve lost track, I’d say around 40 or so made and sold. Alex Shadrow of UNItiques (a free online marketplace for college girls to buy and sell fashion) recently reached out to me to sell on that platform under the store PilarsCreations. I just got another load of sweaters, so I’m hoping to make more and sell them there soon!
YM: What sort of reactions do you get?
P: Mostly, overwhelmingly positive. I’ve run into a creepy guy or two who may have missed the point, but I’ve had more female strangers compliment them. My parents thought they were a hoot. College-aged students from all over seem to like them and want one of their own. I mean, I think not only is it a fun design, but since every sweater and color combination is unique it draws more of a crowd.