Country of origin crafts modern knitwear using traditional methods.
Ben Taylor and Alice Liptrote are the duo behind Country of Origin, designing and manufacturing all their garments in their Clerkenwell studio in London.
Ben explains, “We started in 2014… we had a workshop and store that sold our collection but we also did made-to-order from there too.”
“We make menswear sweaters, scarves, hats and other accessories,” Alice says. “We’d stand in the window making these jumpers and people would come in and say what they wanted, and we’d get it to them in two to three days.”
“It wasn’t particularly fast moving in terms of what we could shift, because obviously it was handmade…” says Ben. “Then we started doing trade shows, went to Paris and the business grew from there – soon we were selling overseas to Japan and various stores around the world.”
And how did they get from there to glamorous Leicester and the Knit Design Centre? As Ben explains, “It was after we’d been to trade shows and done a fair bit of businesses, we wanted to do some development on the garments and find a way of manufacturing them that made more economic sense than hand flat machines.
“Because you get the volume with Stoll machines, we came here and did some production with the team last summer. Then our business grew further so we decided to buy our own Stoll machine and bring our production in-house.”
“We were in the market to buy a Stoll machine and we came across the Knit Design Centre and it was the perfect happy medium.
“We had no idea how to use a Stoll machine before we came here. There’s a lot to learn but we were trained by the Knit Design Centre guys for a week down at our workshop, and we did the programming for that season with them to hit the ground running.
“Now, we’re using the centre for development as our machines are blocked up with production before our upcoming show in Japan. And we’re getting to the stage now where we’ll start outsourcing production in factories and we’ll be able to use our Stoll machine for development too.
“Having access to the Knit Design Centre studio has massively helped us, it’s set us on our own in terms of where we are now and how we develop things… it’s better to do it one-to-one with a programmer rather than having to work with factories remotely, sending samples back, having to wait a week, then request changes etc.
"We can do it all in one go here, with Flori and it works so much better… So the Knit Design Centre has been a massive help to us.”