For one Los Angeles upstart, ideating a luxurious knitwear line to accompany its existing celebrity-adored lifestylewear meant heading to Brooklyn, New York.
Launched in October, Losano has seen a carousel of celebrity fans, including Rumer Willis, Nina Dobrev and Jordin Sparks who have gravitated toward its sustainable activewear sets made of more eco-friendly innovations like Lenzing modal and recycled polyester.
“This is a customer who is busy,” said Malinda Behrens, chief executive officer of Losano, to WWD, of Losano’s core customer. “How they define themselves by what they wear is changing — but it’s comfort. The idea of moving into sweaters was an easy transition.”
While Behrens was out and about in Brooklyn’s Industry City during a visit, she discovered a sample sale at 3D knit production house Tailored Industry — and the rest was history.
Losano’s knitwear launch includes six foundational pieces in a tightly edited color palette of bordeaux wine, charcoal gray and black. Styles span a bralette, shorts, long-sleeve top, ribbed boyfriend cardigan, lounge pant and dress and range in price from $99 for the bralette to $249 for the ribbed dress. Details include a jersey stitch for the V-neck to a high-low cut in the long sleeve. Styles are knitted from yarns made with 72 percent viscose and 28 percent polyester, tapping Lenzing’s “Ecovero” innovation.
For Losano, cut-and-sew activewear is still predominantly made in Los Angeles for about 90 percent of its assortment, but Brooklyn has made its mark. What’s novel is that the styles are preordered and 3D-knitted in real time, all but eliminating the need for inventory or waste. Losano’s collection will be available to preorder online at Losano.com beginning Feb. 9.
“Everyone who is working with us is running on-demand production,” said Emily Gauger, senior director of partnerships at Tailored Industry, to WWD. The company has 67 brand partners including Losano, Bandier, Rosetta Getty, Henning NYC, American Trench and Active Cashmere.
Though two years ago Tailored Industry’s production began at just four garment knitting machines, it has since ramped up to 18 machines with 15-gauge and eight-gauge stitch capabilities.
The virtual tour of the facility revealed an open, spacious, organized and almost entirely automated production.
While there are a handful of programmers, the space is relatively sparse of labor. Tailored Industry’s proprietary software automatically assigns units to machines. Workers will simply scan QR codes and move the tickets, check for quality, snip any yarns and move them to laundering. All washing and drying is done on the premises as instructed by individual tech packs.
“Yarn inventory is pretty much the only inventory you’ll see,” Gauger added.
Any notions such as zippers, pockets or other details require manual labor, as does packing and labeling. At the end, “They pull up the order, see its Losano and pull up the Losano tag….We’re really excited about brands that are embracing it fully.”
Behrens reiterated that “[Losano is] not sacrificing anything by the way of quality, attention or design….[On-demand knitting is] an amazing model for how things can move forward in the future and building community anywhere in the U.S.”