Although pockets of the retail industry have adopted a healthy ‘buy less, buy better’ messaging approach, the vast majority of brands are still under pressure to deliver an entirely new influx of product season after season. This causes a need to turn inventory by slashing prices (skewing expectations), disposing of excess material (increasing waste), and liquidating the old to make room for the new. Something we ourselves have struggled with in the past. It is hard to escape this habit when we as consumers expect newness, wait for the lowest cost possible, all the while brands are striving to meet sales goals and buyer expectations.
The cycle is vicious for brands and consumers in how we operate, how we budget, how we set expectations, and ultimately how we make decisions.
NWKC is trying a different approach. We look at our product line as foundational rather than seasonal. You will find the same fabrics in the same styles season after season, year after year. This allows us to invest heavily in the fabrics/inventory we believe in, avoid having to dispose of raw material that goes unused, and keep our prices consistent over time without having to wonder when the next flash sale will be.
Get it once, know it is built to last, and know we still value that style the same as when it was introduced. We will continue to develop new products and styles but only on top of what we know works and only if it fills a functional void that others in the line do not.
We partner with solely US-based, highly reputable, family operated factories who hire local craftsmen and depend on developing their skillset to uphold quality and remain competitive as a quality driven, highly agile player in a global market.
Our knitting mill partner is located in New Jersey where we construct our MDC fabrics. When knitting is complete, the raw fabric is sent to Pennsylvania for washing/finishing, then to New York City’s Garment District to be cut and sewn.
We believe this footprint is as efficient as it could possibly be within our financial capacity and upholds a standard of quality that is as competitive and dependable as the people and their machines that create it.
We understand that not everything is made in the US and even if it is, it may not be the best option available. Because of this we have chosen to source our raw materials and components from the best available suppliers whether they are across the country or across the globe.
Our Merino yarn is sourced from Suedwolle, a Germany-based world class yarn spinner and leader in Merino fiber development. Our zippers and snaps are sourced from Riri in Switzerland, the gold standard in its application. Fabrics outside of our MDC series come from global textile leaders and innovators Schoeller and Cordura.
The belief is simple. Put good in, get good out. We feel we adhere to this idea at all inputs of our product and that it reflects in ultimate function and longevity when you put an NWKC garment to work.
Industry standard cost markup is 4x the cost of what it takes to make a garment. We cut that mark up in half in an effort to provide the highest possible quality product and the lowest possible price for us to operate effectively. This is also another reason why you will not see our pieces on sale as we set the price once so you don’t have to wonder when is the best time to buy and we don’t have to wonder when to send out a new flash sale.
Granted we produce in the most cost intensive country in the world and in relatively small quantities so our unit cost is higher than normal. We know this is still high in the scope of life but are fully confident that the return on utility is worthy of its upfront cost.
Our approach to design is grounded in versatile function and proper form. Minimal branding, no noise, no unnecessary flare. Possibly to a fault, but we want the fabric’s inherent character to speak for itself.
Each piece is subtle in appearance and heavy in detail, built to be worn daily with far less care needed than traditional garments. We also set out to make pieces that are stylistically elastic, functioning in a wide spectrum of environments and adaptable to an individual’s style.
The Northwestern Knitting Company was originally founded to make underwear. They were able to build an efficient production line based on a few styles with little to no turnover. Granted trends driving what is under our clothes move at a much slower pace than what is on the outside, we try to design wardrobe staple pieces that evolve at a rate closer to NWKC’s original intention.