Theo has evolved into the world of fully fashioned knitwear, enlisting the help of a manual knit maker named Ajit. While the term 'fully fashioned' may sound like a foreign concept, take a peek at the close up of one of our sweaters below and we promise you'll know the type of knitwear we're talking about.
Fully fashioned knits are so called because each piece of the garment is individually knitted from yarn before being assembled into the finished garment. This is in contrast to traditional 'cut and sew' type garments (like a t-shirt) where the fabric is laid out and the pieces are cut out of fabric. Fully fashioned knits therefore create less waste since there are no fabric off-cuts.
While this type of knitwear is hugely common, the makers of knitwear are not. This is because the vast majority of knitwear produced today is created almost entirely by automated machines and button pressing. While this is hugely economical for large companies who can afford expensive industrial machines (we found a clip here which gives you an idea of how large-scale these are with bonus backing tunes to set the tone!) it leaves little room for small makers who operate manual machines. The slow nature of manual machine knitting is not quite the speed of nana's knitting but compared to the industrial version it might as well be! Small makers simply cannot compete in a marketplace that demands thousands of garments be created within short periods of time and this is exactly why we love it.
Our knit maker Ajit learned how to use a manual knit machine from his parents, and has since bought a few more machines (which are much more affordable and attainable than large industrial type machines) and started his very own knit business in Bali. His team includes around 5 employees working in his home, each individually capable of handling the knit machines to create different styles and variations. While it is solely Ajit's business, each employee takes responsibility for producing a style and quotes the payment they will receive by calculating the time it takes them to produce a piece and the complexity of the garment. Ajit then adds his own overheads to obtain the overall price. When you purchase a Theo knit garment, you are supporting a very slow process that is becoming less and less common but which enables Ajit to run a home business where each worker is skilled and paid fairly to create beautiful knit garments.