From Polimoda in Florence to Shima Seiki USA

The type of letter our assistant dean Sass Brown swoons over:

Dear Sass,

My name is Lindsay Mann and I’m a BFA graduate of FIT who specialized in knitwear. I studied at Polimoda in Florence, where I first met you in 2005. I’m lucky and proud to have had such opportunities. Hands down, FIT’s design programs are the best.  I thought I’d take a moment to catch you up on my professional work.

I work with Melinda Danko, also an FIT grad who studied in Florence, for  Shima Seiki USA, a Japanese knitting machine manufacturer.  The company uses a technology called WholeGarment, to  produce garments as entire pieces with little or no leftover yarn. It is a high-quality, eco-friendly method of machine knitting.

About a year ago, Shima Seiki asked us to start a brand to help promote the technology. Melinda and I were ecstatic! With the support of an internationally recognized knitwear manufacturing powerhouse, we started KOTOBA.

Our brand development decisions are made as a team, which also includes Akira Tsuno and Alexandra Sarabia. Our motto is “the whole becomes the one.” Kotoba means “language” in Japanese. The languages people speak, or the language of knitwear or technology can be an obstacle — but for us, it brings our team together.

The sustainable aspect of KOTOBA’s manufacturing process is incredible. We feel it meets high ethical standards. Our New Jersey factory is a beautiful facility. We work directly with our technicians and seamstresses, an important part of creating a quality product.

Shima Seiki is a big family in Japan. We’ve been adopted into its smaller family in the U.S. There’s pride in what we’ve created and while we’re new and still learning, we hope to inspire designers to adopt a similar approach.

We showed our Spring 2013 collection during New York Fashion Week. The presentation and launch party was a big success for us. Our design aesthetic, knitting technology, and message were well received. Our guests and models had a great time connecting with our theme of leisure activity.

We are truly excited about KOTOBA as a made-in-USA, high-quality, sustainable fashion brand. We believe that the key to changing the industry is to educate the consumer about ethical means of manufacturing.

Your know-how in eco-fashion has inspired and helped guide us as designers with the desire to improve on ethics of fashion.

For this we cannot thank you enough.



photos used with permission

2 responses to “From Polimoda in Florence to Shima Seiki USA”

  1. Yes Edikan, we do. It’s a concentration in the upper-division of the fashion design major. But also, there’s a non-credit course that might be of interest: Advanced Machine Knitting: Hat, Handwarmers & Socks
    go to:
    Good luck!

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