Knit fabric makers seeking global attention

Jiji Press
Circular-knit products created by fabric makers from Wakayama Prefecture are on display at an event in New York on Friday.

NEW YORK (Jiji Press) — Eight knit fabric makers from Wakayama Prefecture showcased their circular-knit products created with traditional techniques at a three-day event in New York through Friday.

“We wanted people to touch knit fabrics made in Wakayama and feel the excellence of craftsmanship,” an official from one of the makers said.

People related to the event aim to promote knit products from Wakayama not only to the apparel industry but also to general consumers.

Wakayama is Japan’s biggest producer of knit products made with the circular-knitting method for creating three-dimensional fabrics. The local industry has a history of over 100 years.

Sweatshirts using locally made knit fabrics, in particular, are highly regarded by luxury brands.

At the event, the eight companies showcased sweatshirts made with their own specialty fabrics, such as one reusing kimono robes and another with cashmere lining.

Visitors, including students from the Fashion Institute of Technology, part of the State University of New York, tried on the products and enjoyed the feel of the fabrics made with ingenuity.

The knit fabric industry in Wakayama faces a shortage of inheritors.

“If we can show the world our unique techniques and attract demand, it would make young people aspire to join us,” said Tomohiro Yamashita, president of A-Girl’s Co., which played the leading role in holding the event.