Anna Cohen and Imperial Knits Pair Up for Some DIY

Post Portland Fashion Week, Anna Cohen and Imperial Knits sit down with EcoSalon to talk DIY.

Portland Fashion Week can mark another first for their past runway season with the launch of the first ever knit-it-yourself kits come to life on the runway. With a bold turn away from traditional ready-to-wear runway designs usually featured at fashion week, the designs were created from the collaboration of heralded designer Anna Cohen, and guest designers Chrissy Gardiner and Edie Eckman along with Imperial Yarn – a branch of the Imperial Stock Ranch.

Designs varied from chunky knitted sweater dresses to knitted belts and knee high socks and illuminated the growing popularity for DIY and as Cohen says, “a very clear desire for people to go back to the roots, to the land, to simple processes that feel like home.”

“This focus on creating beautiful product and the responsibility that comes with it very much aligns with my history and commitment to helping bring high fashion and sustainability together. We are in other words, very well matched. How exciting for this relationship to bring me closer to the roots of fiber than I have ever been,” says Cohen.

DIY kits are fairly new to the scene with designers like Wool and the Gang and Alabama Chanin at the forefront, but both Cohen and Imperial Knits are ready to join the growing ranks who see using their hands as a way to become even more connected to their clothing.

Jeanne Carver, Imperial Ranch co-owner, who runs the family’s 140 year old farm with husband Dan on 30,000 acres of Oregon’s desert high country, says as far as the popularity of knitwear itself, she has seen a marked increase in the apparel and fashion world.

“We market our yarns and patterns to the hand knitting industry and there is definitely a growing segment of interest among younger people, twenty to thirty somethings, to gain the traditional skills and ‘make their own.’ Kits themselves are simply a convenient way to combine the pattern and the amount or type of yarn needed for the customer,” says Carver, adding that she is seeing more people in general, shifting toward the local movement which is most evident in food, seeking to know where it comes from and connecting with the source.
“This is growing in the needlearts sector as well, knowing where the yarn comes from and connecting with the story of the farmer or rancher and the fiber animals which provide these wonderful natural and renewable materials to us. We are receiving more and more requests from apparel and fashion companies to connect with Imperial Stock Ranch and Imperial Yarn as a source of traceable yarns for knitwear. I personally think this derives from a deeper need to reconnect with the very landscape which supports us literally and spiritually,” adds Carver.
Besides beautifully designed silhouettes, the Imperial Knits Collection kits are 100% made in the U.S. with Imperial Stock Ranch’s wool and are available at their site where you can choose from yarn colors and size to create your own.
Amy DuFault

Amy DuFault is a conscious lifestyle writer, consultant and fashion instigator. She resides in Cape Cod, Massachusetts.