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Kotoba, the Japanese word for language, is also the name of a brand new collection in its very first season, designed by recent Fashion Institute of Technology fashion design graduates, Melinda Danko and Lindsay Mann. The collection is produced using Shima Seiki’s whole garment knitting technology, which eliminates waste through knitting the entire garment in one process. Much knitwear on the market is made by producing knitted fabric in a continuous sheet, and cutting and sewing designs in the same way that a woven garment is produced, and resulting in the same amount of waste. Higher end knitwear is often ‘fully fashioned’, meaning the designs are knit to the exact shape of the garment required, with each piece ‘fully finished’ with seams, edges, ribs etc. Where whole garment technology differs is that the technology also reduces seaming and often sewing needs. Garment designs are input to the software that knits the design in its entirety, often spitting out an entirely finished garment, seams, ribs and all.

The technology is not new, neither is it exclusive to Shima Seiki, having been around for fifty years or more, never the less, recent developments in the technology have made it more accessible and more suitable for complex and detailed whole garment technology. One of the major advantages of such a knitting process, is of course the almost complete elimination of waste, while other advantages are the improved stretch and mobility the finished products offer. Danko and Mann augment the natural advantages of the technology with the sourcing of luxury, soft, lightweight Italian yarns.

The collection features timeless, simple and versatile pieces, with unexpected structural details and textures, in the form of lacy stitches and graphic alternation between semi-sheer and solid knit effects. Available in a basic color palette of black, taupe and ivory, the collection is augmented with bright, playful, punchy colorations, including coral and mint green, featuring contrasting edgings and varying stripe combinations. Celebrating the first presentation of their collection during New York fashion week, with a runway presentation at the Maritime Hotel in New York’s trendy Meatpacking District. The collection was inspired by the duo’s own leisure activities, and looked to inject a fun, playful and stylish perspective into a sporty, activity driven collection, with the playfulness self evident on the runway as well as in the collection photo’s with models holding footballs, skateboards and sporting baseball caps.

Produced locally in New York, the collection combines elimination of waste with a small carbon footprint, while managing to maintain a fun, sexy wearable and timeless collection.

Kotoba operated until February 2015.