MADE IN CANADA A home­grown knit that celebs love.

Line Knitwear’s John Muscat and Jen­nifer Wells look back on 15 years.

Elle (Canada) - - Insider -

since its launch in 2000, Line Knitwear has be­come one of Canada’s most loved fash­ion brands, selling across the globe and worn by A-lis­ters like Jen­nifer Garner and Tay­lor Swift. Here, its founders rem­i­nisce about their early days and of­fer a glimpse into what’s next. WELLS “I’ve al­ways been into fash­ion. Right out of school, I had a streetwear store in Lon­don [Ont.]. That’s how John and I met.” MUSCAT “She was the queen of PVC at the time. Do you re­mem­ber

Elec­tric Cir­cus?”

WELLS “I used to make [ EC host] Monika Deol’s dresses!” MUSCAT “I was rep­re­sent­ing a multi-brand show­room in Toronto. And one cat­e­gory that seemed to be lack­ing was knitwear. That’s when we started. We said ‘Let’s see what we can do in the next five, 10 years.’ And we’ve been do­ing it for 15 now.” WELLS “Our first big mile­stone was when Holt Ren­frew picked us up.” MUSCAT “And then we cracked the U.S. mar­ket. That’s when ev­ery­thing be­came a lot more se­ri­ous. A lot of peo­ple have these re­la­tion­ships in Canada, but to be suc­cess­ful you have to crack Europe or the States.” WELLS “It’s hard be­cause tal­ent can only take you so far; there’s a lot of tal­ent in this coun­try, but if they don’t have the fi­nan­cial sup­port, it’s al­most im­pos­si­ble.” MUSCAT “The Cana­dian fash­ion in­dus­try needs more sup­port from the gov­ern­ment. I feel pas­sion­ate about that.” WELLS “We went on our own and es­tab­lished an of­fice in Asia. It opened many doors: be­ing able to source what­ever we wanted. We go to the best yarn shows and man­u­fac­tur­ing shows. For fall 2015, we’re work­ing with ar­ti­sans in Uruguay, which of­fers a whole other level of artistry and tech­nique. It’s very spe­cial, the way they can start and stop the knit­ting to cre­ate these pat­terns of mix­ing yarns.” MUSCAT “We also changed our de­sign team this sea­son.” WELLS “You have to have the right energy work­ing to­gether, and Hinda [As­saraf] has be­come an amaz­ing com­po­nent of how we do things here. She was VP on the busi­ness side, and we were like ‘You have to be part of de­sign!’ Her eye is amaz­ing.” MUSCAT “We have two strate­gies now. John & Jenn [the dif­fu­sion line launched four years ago] is at more of an open­ing price point, and Line is more el­e­vated—we’re tak­ing it to the next level. It’s funny: We were sit­ting in these meet­ings talk­ing about how to el­e­vate the brand, and part of what came out of that was go­ing back to our orig­i­nal logo. We had it right the first time!” WELLS “We even went back to the same colour. Back to our roots.”

For its 15th an­niver­sary, Line Knitwear has ex­panded its de­sign team and is work­ing with ar­ti­sans in Uruguay to pro­duce knitwear that has a unique hand­crafted qual­ity (from $149, at Holt Ren­frew, holtren­frew.com).

John Muscat, Hinda As­saraf

and Jen­nifer Wells

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