Today we’d like to introduce you to Hanna & Suss Cousins.
Hanna & Suss, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
My mom, Suss Cousins and me (Hanna Cousins) are partners in our knitwear company…so it really started because of her. I grew up in her store in LA on Beverly Blvd. (across from El Coyote, haha) called Suss Design, which she had for 25 years. She taught knitting classes to adults (I would teach the kids) and she made one of a kind knits as well as huge collections and knitwear for movies like The Grinch, The Matrix, Scooby Doo and others. So I’ve always been totally influenced by her. She moved onto other projects as I got older but just a couple of years ago, we realized how well we work together and started our own knitwear collection Eskay Label (it stands for S -K my mom’s initials and a total ode to her). We really became intertwined in working together and growing together when the pandemic began and that’s how we got to where we are today. We built our studio in the back of her home, and being with family this past year was so important, we just put all of our energy into continuing to grow our cashmere collection.
We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
It’s been smooth in the sense that we love working together, we think the same, have the same style and design aesthetic, I understand the technicality of hand looming and all things knit because I’ve watched her all my life. In the beginning, it was really hard finding our message or “brand.” It’s tough being creative but knowing you have to sell, you get into a box of feeling like you need to design for everyone else but really there is a balance between us making knitwear that is true to us and our aesthetic but also understanding what people like. Things got smooth once we felt more authentic, in the sense that we leaned into our message (of telling a story), being a mother-daughter company, pulling from the past and what we know, staying in the lane of slow fashion pieces, hand-looming with our local technicians, trying to create nostalgic pieces as well as incorporating our Swedish heritage by adding hand-embroidery and hand knitting to the mix.
Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
We specialize in creating hand-loomed knitwear locally here in LA. A hand-loom is a manual knitting machine. It’s not a digital/electric knitting machine. Each panel of a sweater is fully fashioned on the hand-loom (not cut and sewn). Our pieces have such a specific look and feel when done on the hand loom. We are knowledgeable about all things yarn and knits haha, but mainly cashmere. How to create knitted patterns, how to wash the cashmere (it shrinks so you have to gauge this in creating the pattern but that’s how it gets soft) dying cashmere and hand embroidery. I think what sets us apart from others is how involved we are with each piece we make. We are hands on from the yarn development, the actual development of the piece to the finishing sewing or embroidery and quality control. We love developing our knitwear locally using sustainable cashmere and other recycled yarns and finalizing everything we make together.
Alright, so to wrap up, is there anything else you’d like to share with us?
I guess we are really working to promote the novelty of hand-loomed pieces and spread our love of knitwear to the world. There is so much artisanship to working so hands on with knitted goods. The quality and overall hand and feel is incredible, we are just really so obsessed by yarn. Every yarn you work in has a mind of its own, it knits up differently, grows differently, it’s pretty exciting (but maybe I’m just a nerd for it). We are really striving to make clothes for the individual who wants to feel elegant and totally comfy at the same time (especially after this quarantine attire right?). My mom Suss can be found in her leather jacket and silver rings and I’m basically the same so we also aim for a little rock and roll (Suss lived in NY in the 80s, lol), Swedish influenced, modern but also hands-on knitted vibe if that makes sense.
Also, we do made to order pieces as well as orders for wholesale. That being said, we love doing custom knitted/one of a kind pieces for people. It’s so fun and creative sharing our knitting world.
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: www.eskaylabel.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/eskaylabel/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/eskaylabel