Japan features some of the most respected clothing manufacturers in the world. More specifically, they are famous for constantly raising the bar with respect to innovation and quality. We have found that the latter is usually more prevalent in workshops which uphold traditional craftsmanship techniques to produce unique, original garments. We confirmed this fact by recently visiting the fourth-generation, family owned knitting workshop in Wakayama, who we decided to partner with to create our new 'Slow Knit' Crew-neck T-Shirt.
The much coveted, high quality Slow Knit technique was widely used in America's garment industry in the 1930's. As it's name suggests, the slow fabric knitting process is inconceivably time-consuming compared to modern machinery, and in turn renders it impossible for the machinery to keep up with large scale demand. This meant that the popularity of these 'slow knit' machines in manufacturing was short lived. The most well-known 'slow-knit' machine is the famed American Loop-Wheel, which can now be found almost solely in Japan. To exacerbate its rarity, each machine must be assembled and calibrated to manufacture one single size. That means, a knitting workshop will need to equip a minimum of five of these old machines to cover sizes from XS to XL.
So why do the Japanese take the extra effort to make simple Tee-shirts? What separates a 'slow knit' garment from one made with modern techniques is the process. The machine is slowly fed the cotton thread into the knitting hands without any tension. Woven at this glacial pace, the cotton has sufficient time to engulf and trap air in the fibre, making the material extremely soft and spongy. When pushed to its maximum output capacity, a slow-knit machine merely produces about 1-2 metres of cloth per hour, supplying material for an approximate 20 T-Shirts a day. The machine knits the fabric in a perfect tube, without any side seams, and the sleeves and collar are cut and attached to the top of the tube. All of this ensures the finished garment resists stretching and remains soft yet durable over time. In conclusion, a Slow Knit Tee is a strong and versatile everyday essential: the very reason why we searched out this old and reliable technique.
Shop our Slow Knit Tee!
If your size is not available, please email for Made-to-Order option.