In early October, we had the pleasure of visiting Glory Apparel in NYC. This small production facility in Manhattan caters to new and emerging designers who want to add knitwear to their product lines.
Glory Apparel uses Shima Seiki knitting machines, which our TD students know well. The in-house designers and programmers work directly with designers who want to create their own knitwear but don’t want to mass-produce items. It’s a unique service that is not widely known outside of fashion and textile design circles. The folks at Glory Apparel were generous with their time and attention, engaging in meaningful conversation and sharing tips for knitting success. They showed us how they use their machines, what kind of programs create certain types of textures and colorful designs, and how they work with their clients. When our students asked specific questions relating to programmatic challenges, they opened the software and gave demos on resolving or addressing the issues. It was such a positive and exciting experience for all of us.
Students in Textile Design learn how to knit first on manual knitting machines and then transfer that knitting knowledge and those skills to proprietary computer programs that create files for electronic knitting machines. Our program uses both Shima Seiki (Japan) and Stoll (Germany) knitting machines. Our conversation made it clear that our program is the only program in the region that teaches its students how to program and run these machines. These industrial machines are what industry uses to create our everyday apparel. It’s incredibly rare for a design student to get the inside knowledge on how something is professionally knit unless they attend our program, where it’s par for the course.
We have endless gratitude for these kinds of experiences. Our programs are set up to give young designers the tools to create, iterate, process, and realize their ideas for textile goods. Through partnerships and exposures like this month’s field trip, they can envision a future using these highly sought-after skills for a fulfilling career in design.