People who connect knitwear / Alan knitwear in 2021
STORY | 2021/09/11
Summer is over, the cold wind is blowing, and knit season is coming.
YUKI FUJISWAWA, which has been dealing with vintage knitwear for a long time, is taking on new challenges. The new items announced for autumn/winter 2021 are not vintage, but newly knitted knits. On April 20th, an online reservation event will begin, and based on the number of orders received, scarves, mittens, and knit cap hoodies will be knitted. In the future, I plan to challenge sweaters, and since last year I have been working on small items such as scarves and mittens.
In order to mass-produce the knits designed by designer Yuki Fujisawa, many hands of knitters are needed. However, Yuki-san, who had been dealing with vintage items until now, didn't have enough acquaintances with Nitter to ask for mass production. Kanae-san is the mediator between Yuki-san and the knitters, and is involved in production management.
When Kanae receives a design drawing of "I want to make such an accessory", she first creates a knitting pattern while consulting with Knitter. Then we make a sample and start mass production. Which item, which knitter, and how many pieces should be made? Allocate numbers while consulting with each person.
“Basically, we communicate a lot over the phone,” says Kanae. “First of all, I send knitting diagrams and yarn, and then I tell them the details over the phone. Some people say, ``I can only make small hooks. For example, it is difficult to ask a lot of people who are raising children, so I ask them to work while maintaining communication.”
Knitters also have their own individuality, and as long as they are hand-knitted, there will inevitably be slight differences. Even if you pass the same knitting pattern and yarn, there will be a slight difference in the density of the stitches and the details of the arrangement. It is Kanae's role to check all of them and make corrections.
“This year's reservation event was well received, and we received nearly five times as many orders as last year,” says Yuki. “With machine knitting, you can make as many items as you want, but with hand knitting, it takes a lot of time. Communication with the knitters increases that much, and each person’s individuality comes out, but being able to finish with the same quality is difficult. , Kanae-san collects and checks everything.”
Born in 1991, Kanae has been familiar with knitting since childhood. As winter approached, I went to a handicraft shop, chose my favorite yarn, and had it knitted into a scarf. Since I was born and raised in a peaceful land, there were no shops near me where I could buy the trendy products introduced on TV. Kanae herself has been knitting knit since she was in elementary school.
“When I was little, I had a knitting machine and a loom that even children could use, and mass-produced knitwear. I knitted scarves, and made pochettes by folding things that were woven straight on the loom. Elementary school students make them. So, even though it was a little awkward, when I gave it to my relatives' aunts, they were happy to use it. My relatives' grandpa and grandma have been using these small items for a long time, and I always felt that hand-knitted knits remain in people's memories and that they can be treasured."
After graduating from high school, Kanae entered the knit design department of Bunka Fashion College. After graduating, Kanae worked for an apparel-related company, and after working as a member of society for two or three years, she began working independently.
"The first company I got a job with was a little black." Kanae looks back. “Until then, I was working overtime until 21:00. Then, I was able to free up all the time I had been working overtime, so I decided to try a part-time job to earn some pocket money.So it just so happened that a call center job suited my conditions.Call center work is flexible in terms of hours. There are many people who are working with dreams, such as dancers, aspiring singers, etc. Those people had a big influence on me, and I thought I had to do something myself. Around that time, a friend of mine, who had become an independent designer, contacted me asking if he could help me, and I was able to balance both company work and individual work.”
Around the time Kanae became a member of society, cost cutting was being promoted in the handicraft industry, and more and more knitters were losing their jobs. Kanae recalls that she thought, "If the company doesn't work for me, I'll ask her to do the work for me."
“Many people who work as knitters don’t want to go out into the world. They can make more money by working part-time, but many people want to stay at home and knit. In order to get such people to work, I even started a hand-knitting brand and sold it for a while.”
Kanae says that what lies at the heart of her work is her "feelings of respect for people who work in knitting." There are people who spend most of the day at home knitting knits by hand. Our generation is familiar with the sight of grandmothers knitting hand-knitted scarves, but if knitter jobs disappear, the next generation may not see such a sight. do not have. Kanae has been working with knitters because she doesn't want to reduce the amount of manual work any more. The accumulation of that is also connected to YUKI FUJISAWA's new work.
Kanae says that chatting is important when working with Nitter. When he calls Nitter, he doesn't just talk about his work, but often listens to his grandchildren's stories and listens to petty complaints.
“Many of the knitters are knitting by themselves at home, so I call them regularly to ask how they are doing. I think it’s amazing that they are knitting at home all the time. If it were me, I would have wanted to stop knitting and go outside.However, thanks to the knitters who are silently knitting, the knit is completed.So at least, I would like to chat on the phone. It's getting harder to meet in person now, but I'd like to keep in touch with her over the phone, so that she can do her best again."
It was when Kanae was answering the phone at the call center that I realized the importance of small talk.
Even when I received a phone call asking for an inquiry or a complaint, I often found myself chatting. While receiving many such calls, Kanae realized the importance of exchanging trivial words with someone.
"Due to the effects of the coronavirus, it's been difficult to meet people, and I think I've become less likely to chat with people like that. When I called Mr. Nitter, he said, 'I was stuck at home all the time, and I was depressed. However, thanks to having a job, I felt like I had to do it! When I hear that kind of story, I think I'm glad I did this job."
It's not enough to tell anyone, but I was a little happy. I was surprised. I suddenly wondered. Smelly. The knits that are knitted with such feelings of each grain are sleeping in the box, waiting for the day when they will be delivered to the hands of each person who ordered them.
Words by Rinshi Hashimoto