NEW YORK — For more than two decades, Suss Cousins made her name in Hollywood circles with her knitting expertise.
This story first appeared in the July 22, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The Swedish-born designer knitted sweaters for celebrities including Bill Cosby, Halle Berry, Julia Roberts, Sandra Bullock and Laurence Fishburne, taught a few of them to knit and penned six books on the art of knitting, including “Hollywood Knits: With 30 Original Suss Designs” and “Home Knits: Luxurious Handknits for Every Room of the House.”
Although Cousins has had stores selling her knit items in Los Angeles and New York in the past, retail has taken a bit of a backseat in recent years because of all the other projects she has been working on. That’s about to change now, with the fall launch of the Suss Design collection of cashmere, cotton wool and bamboo tops such as pullovers, tunics, turtlenecks, capes and ponchos, and accessories such as shawls, scarves and beanies. The collection is inspired by Sweden and its landscapes and fjords.
With the backing of former home decor and hosiery industry veteran Alan Schneider and apparel and manufacturing financial adviser Oded Simha, Cousins is now hoping to translate her expertise into a lifestyle brand.
“I have been doing this for 25 years,” she said. “It’s more of a revelation; it’s not a comeback. I have been through different phases in my life, opened stores in New York and Los Angeles, and knitted sweaters for movies and celebrities. Wholesale wasn’t my focus point for a long time.”
Cousins has teamed up with the Hatch showroom and started wholesaling the line, with prices from $39 to $249. Planet Blue and Ron Herman are among the stores that have ordered the line.
“I have a different opportunity now that I have a great partnership with these veterans in the business,” said Cousins, who declined to disclose volume information or sales projections for her collection. “I am trying to expand my business into a lifestyle brand. I now have financial backing to produce everything.”
Cousins is already thinking beyond apparel. She is planning to add knit home decor items to her lineup. “I always made pillows and lamp shade covers. People love that idea.”