BEHIND THE SEAMS: HIGH QUALITY ORGANIC COTTON KNITS MADE IN NEPAL

To see where the knitwear of the Studio JUX collections is made we visited their production partner in Kathmandu, where the kind manager Mr. Ram Singh showed us around the two factories. We spent the entire day with Tzering (the production manager of Studio JUX in Nepal) and Mr. Ram Singh, who patiently explained us everything we wanted to know about the production of knitted garments, organic cotton and the people working in the knitting factories. 

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All of those super soft organic cotton machine knits for the Studio JUX collections are made in the first factory we visited. We started on the ground floor with step 1; the knitting of the panels. The factory works with high tech knitting machines as well as hand knitting machines to knit the different panels of the garments. There are schedules for power network usage in Nepal, where certain areas can access the power network within certain time frames only. Therefore the factories need quite a bit of emergency power, which is provided more and more by solar panels in stead of batteries. Most of the factories we visited in Nepal and India are investing in sustainable energy. 

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When the panels are knitted on the high tech knitting machines only the yarns and patterns are manually put into the machines, whereas the hand knitting machines (mostly for the smaller orders and because they don’t need electricity!) are fully operated by people who move the machine from left to right and back again to knit the designed pattern. 

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For the next step we continued our way up to the first floor where the panels are linked together, a very precise job and this is where you see the amazing quality of the knitted Studio JUX pieces. It looks much nicer and creates a stronger product when the knitted panels are linked together and not sewn together.

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The next steps are the finishings by hand, the washing, ironing, and a thorough quality check of the product. The raw material wouldn’t actually need any washing because there aren’t any chemicals used. ‘The products are only washed because so many hands touch the product on it’s way to the end of the production chain.’ Mr. Ram Singh explains.

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The yarn which is used to produce those soft organic cotton fine knits in the Studio JUX collections is GOTS certified.

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We also spotted the beautiful jacquard knits for the FW16 delivery ready to be shipped. Mr. Ram Singh tells us about the amount of work and material that goes into producing a cardigan like this – for the fishbone cardigan in the Studio JUX FW16 collection 8kg per piece is needed!

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Mr. Ram Singh and his business partner run a second factory and this is where the hand knitted items of Studio JUX are made. We met a group of women gathered on the ground and chatting whilst hand knitting the more chunky styles. Often these hand knitted styles are made at the women’s homes. In this case the women pick up the material and design at the factory and finish the work at home so they can take care of their family at the same time. 

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It was great to visit the knitting factories in Kathmandu and to see the manufacturing process of knitted garments, learn more about organic cotton processing and chat about what makes a great quality knitted garment.

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Interesting fact is that for the manufacturing of a garment made of organic cotton a longer lead time is required. Why? Because the organic cotton is always last in line at the spinning mills where the raw material is spun into yarns, and these yarns are needed to produce the rest of the product. Organic cotton is last in line because unfortunately these are still always the least amounts that need to be processed and the bigger amounts of conventional cotton go first. Let’s call it growth pain, as we’re buying into more organic cotton we are slowly moving forward in line…..  

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