Rebuild our American Knitwear Industry with Ohio Knitting Mills

Be part of revitalizing one of America's few operating knitting mills, and take home a piece of history. Your support goes towards equipment and materials.
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Steven Tatar
694 Facebook Friends
Fashion
Cleveland, Ohio
United States
3 Team Members

This is a tale of heartland manufacturing craftsmanship in America coming back to life. And you can be part of this success!

The storied Ohio Knitting Mills of Cleveland made knitwear for the American middle class for almost seven decades. Their iconic and colorful sweaters were sold from Saks to Sears, bringing modern fashion to the masses.

Though the factory closed it's doors by the end of the last century and ceased production, they fortuitously left a hidden treasure behind: a massive archive of their knit garments from the mid-1940's onward. And today, this collection and the legacy of industrial creativity that it emerged from, are the inspiration of a new apparel brand named for the original factory.

      


My name is Steven Tatar, I'm the guy reviving Ohio Knitting Mills. In 2005, I met the family that had owned and operated the Ohio Knitting Mills since founding it in 1927. After the business shut down, they bequeathed their remarkable collection to me for the purpose of preserving it, and to use it to attempt to revive the mill as an apparel label for the 21st century.

We have made great strides towards achieving this ambitious goal of reopening the Ohio Knitting Mills. By supporting us, we will be able to buy additional sewing production equipment and materials to design and develop new knit textiles and garments for the fall 2014 season.

Over the past few years, my team and I have managed to put together a small, simple sewing factory in Cleveland to prototype and sample new sweater designs. We have found the few remaining knitting industry suppliers to provide us with yarns, use their specialized knitting machines, and teach us how to design, knit, and sew garments.


             

We successfully produced and delivered a collection of men’s sweaters for Fall 2013: sort of a pilot project or shakedown cruise for us. Now we are poised to grow the Ohio Knitting Mills of the future. A future allowing us to continue our revival, develop new collections, and hopefully, be available to provide knitting services to other small labels that are seeking sources to realize their US produced knitwear designs.

Please join and support us on this adventure to revitalize Ohio Knitting Mills and the American knitwear industry. THANK YOU !!


HOW WE'LL USE THE FUNDS WE RAISE

The funds we are asking for now would go directly to purchasing additional equipment and materials to produce the next collections of knitwear. By having more machines to make our goods, we would be able to increase our manufacturing capacity and lower the costs of production, which is critical for our brand’s survival in a price competitive global economy.

Being able to purchase an inventory of yarns, notions, and other garment-making materials would allow us to much more effectively innovate new designs. We look to create apparel that distinctively reflects the remarkable and unique styles of the Ohio Knitting Mills archive.

Broadly, here’s how we intend to allocate the funds we’re seeking:

       


WHAT IS THE IMPACT OF THIS CAMPAIGN?

At Ohio Knitting Mills, we are motivated to make our vision a reality because we recognize the importance of making things locally. Manufacturing is an intrinsic part of a healthy economy. It connects people and businesses, sustains the middle class, and is the best, and maybe only way to preserve and propagate our inherent design cultures. 

In short:  Manufacturing Builds Communities !!

And it’s worth pointing out that while our country is thankfully seeing a growing resurgence of the clothing making business within our borders, very few of these success stories are specifically making knitwear. The Ohio Knitting Mills designs and produces sweaters from the very beginning by developing and dying yarns, designing the styles and the patterns to sew them, knitting the fabrics and doing all of our cutting, sewing, and finishing of the completed garments. In other words, we don’t just design our clothing, we also design and produce the fabrics we make our clothing from.

We regularly hear from many other small labels (and even some very large ones) asking if we might help them to produce their knit-based designs. Producing off-shore simply isn't an option for many small labels, even if they wanted to. 

Today, there is a large need for domestic knitting production. Supporting this campaign not only helps our company, it also can help other designers to create their knitwear products with us.

The good news is that the Ohio Knitting Mills label is more than just a hope and a dream:   through grit, determination, some luck and definitely the help of a number of others, we have already established a solid foundation for the Ohio Knitting Mills label.  Our label is widely known and admired in the marketplace, and over the last few years we have gained some expertise in the technical art of making knitwear. The brand successfully launched last year, and we have retail accounts at top stores in NYC, LA, San Fran, Chicago, & Tokyo; we have put together a small factory to create our sweaters once again.

To be sure, we’re very excited and proud of all we’ve accomplished so far. But our little ship is still somewhat new to this journey, and financially very vulnerable.  We need to stabilize the foundation we’ve established by adding resources to build upon and get our cost structures down to make our clothing more affordable to our customers. And so we’re coming to you, and the many other like-minded folks out there, to ask for your help.

We are offering to you some fabulously awesome Ohio Knitting Mills items as rewards for your pledge of support: limited editions of our new marvelous knitwear, available only through this campaign, as well as hats, scarves, and pillows made from our vintage knit fabrics, c. 1970’s.

THE MARVELOUS PERKS YOU CAN RECEIVE

$10  Wall of Favorite Friends + Our Deepest Thanks & Appreciation!

Your name will be listed on our Wall of Favorite Friends. Everyday when we come to work, we walk down the alley to our factory studio and pass this wall. We will put all of the names of everyone who pledges on our wall, to remind us of the wonderful people who support us and who we do the work for.


$20  Textile Map of the Heartland, 1948.

We will send to you an 8 x 10 archival quality digital print of an engraved map of the textile geography of the Heartland, USA. This map was originally printed in a 1948 edition of Davidson’s Textile Blue Book, which was published regularly back in the day as a sourcing guide for the knitting industry.

And your name will be included on our Wall of Favorite Friends.


$30  A signed copy of the Ohio Knitting Mills Knitting Book

Published by Artisan Press, 2010, this book tells the colorful story of the history of our mill and the garment industry in the Midwest, as well as offering 26 hand knit patterns of our iconic sweaters from four decades: 1940’s, 50’s, 60’s & 70s. 267 pages, full color, soft bound. Authored by our President and Creative Director, Steven Tatar, who will sign your copy of the book.

Your name will be honored on our Wall of Favorite Friends, and you will also receive a digital print of the 1948 Textile Map of the Heartland, USA.


$40  Limited edition OKM Fly High poster. Silk screened on French Paper Company’s Speckletone paper, a 6th generation paper mill in Niles, Michigan. 3-color silkscreen, 19 x 12 ½”. Printed at our local community graphic studio, Zygote Press. http://www.zygotepress.com/

                             

Your name will be honored on our Wall of Favorite Friends, and you will also receive a digital print of the 1948 Textile Map of the Heartland, USA.


$40  Grab Bag of Crafter’s Vintage Goodness.

Big bag o’ vintage trim and buttons plus Ohio Knitting Mills Knitting Book Super Combo. We will send you a selection of yardage of our mill’s vintage trims as well as a small collection of very unique vintage buttons. Each grab bag will include at least 2 yards each of 5 different trims (10 yards total), as well as at least 6 matching of 3 different button styles. Sorry, all selections are at our discretion, but we promise you’ll love them. And of course we want to send you the OKM Knitting Mills book. A sweet bag of awesomeness for all you other makers out there.

 

Your name will be honored on our Wall of Favorite Friends, and you will also receive a digital print of the 1948 Textile Map of the Heartland, USA.


$40  OKM Vintage Fabric Beanie or Scarf

We are sewing your hat or scarf from historic Ohio Knitting Mills fabric, originally knit in the 1970’s. Black and blue tiny houndstooth pattern, cotton and acrylic blend. Hat is one size, scarf is 9 x 64”.  Choose either the beanie or scarf, we will contact you to receive your choice of beanie or scarf.

Your name will be honored on our Wall of Favorite Friends, and you will also receive a digital print of the 1948 Textile Map of the Heartland, USA.


$50  $100 Ohio Knitting Mills Gift Card.

Think of this perk as 50% off any purchase from our online store, and you get to choose when to use it, no waiting for a sale! You will receive a code allowing you to apply $100 towards any purchase on our Ohio Knitting Mills e-commerce site, which will be emailed to you within 24 hours of your pledge (no waiting!) You can use it for purchases from our online store upon receipt and for up to two years. You are able to purchase more than one gift card, can transfer the code to anyone else to use, and can use multiple cards towards one purchase on our site.


Your name will be honored on our Wall of Favorite Friends, and you will also receive a digital print of the 1948 Textile Map of the Heartland, USA.

$50 OKM Vintage Beatnik Sweater + Signed OKM Knitting Book Combo.

Our vintage Beatnik Top was made in 1959 for Sears, Roebuck & Co. We found some unsold boxes of this hot item in our warehouse, and we're offering them to you! They come in their original box, with original labels in place; 100% Virgin Orlon, brushed to a finest faux-hair texture. One size, similar to a contemporary woman's small, though they are a loose fit, so will fit a medium as well. And of course, receive a signed copy of The Ohio Knitting Mills Knitting Book as well!


Your name will be honored on our Wall of Favorite Friends, and you will also receive a digital print of the 1948 Textile Map of the Heartland, USA.


$60  OKM Vintage Fabric Beanie or Scarf + Signed OKM Knitting Book Combo.

Choose either our vintage fabric beanie or scarf, plus also receive an autographed copy of the Ohio Knitting Mills Knitting Book. We will contact you to receive your choice of beanie or scarf.

Your name will be honored on our Wall of Favorite Friends, and you will also receive a digital print of the 1948 Textile Map of the Heartland, USA.


$75  OKM Vintage Fabric Skirt plus Book.

This lovely number is sewn from our vintage Ohio Knitting Mills fabrics: Missoni inspired lane stitch pattern fabric was made by us in 1968. We are sewing your skirt to order from this historic fabric.  You will also receive an autographed copy of the OKM Knitting Book.

                                    

Your name will be honored on our Wall of Favorite Friends, and you will also receive a digital print of the 1948 Textile Map of the Heartland, USA.


$75  Matching Beanie & Scarf, plus Book Combo.

You’ll love the hat so much, why not go matchy-matchy with the scarf? Get two so you can both be on the same team!  A nice shareable perk.

Your name will be honored on our Wall of Favorite Friends, and you will also receive a digital print of the 1948 Textile Map of the Heartland, USA.


$150  A Pair of Perfect Pillows

Made from OKM vintage fabric, circa 1970’s, our knit pillows are super soft, looped yarns; cotton, acrylic and wool blend. Zippered to remove down filled inserts, for easy washing. 20” x 20”.


Your name will be honored on our Wall of Favorite Friends, and you will also receive a digital print of a 1948 textile map of the Heartland, USA.


$250  Mondrian Dress.

We first issued our Mondrian dress in 1968. Your dress is newly knit of Italian yarns, 50/50 wool and acrylic blend. We love this dress so much, we featured it on the cover of our Ohio Knitting Mills Knitting Book. And of course, you will also receive an autographed copy of the book with this perk. We will contact you for sizing after you have signed up for the perk level. This piece normally retails for $328.

Your name will be honored on our Wall of Favorite Friends, and you will also receive a digital print of the 1948 Textile Map of the Heartland, USA.


$250  Faire Isle Men’s Cardigan

We jacquard knit our Faire Isle Cardigan in a wool / acrylic blend, added metal buttons, and two welt pockets to hold your gizmos or warm your fingers. We will contact you for sizing after you have signed up for the perk level. This piece normally retails for $312.

                     

                      


Your name will be honored on our Wall of Favorite Friends, and you will also receive a digital print of the 1948 Textile Map of the Heartland, USA.


$300  Draftsman Wool Jacket

We like to think that this is what Frank Lloyd Wright would have worn while drawing at Taliesin. Our 100% heavy wool knit cardigan is garment dyed in field grey, and features woven leather buttons, an inside notebook pocket and a canvas pencil holder on the left upper sleeve. Wear the shawl collar down for a professional look or up to for extra warmth. This piece will retail in our Fall 2014 collection for $425. We will contact you for sizing. 

                       

Your name will be honored on our Wall of Favorite Friends, and you will also receive a digital print of the 1948 Textile Map of the Heartland, USA.


$1000  Private Tour of OKM Factory Studio For You and a Friend.

Be our special guests for a visit to our creative studio and production factory in Cleveland, Ohio. You and a friend will be invited to explore our extensive OKM archive of knitwear, and pick out one each of our historic pieces to keep for your own. Lunch will also be provided, something very local (think Slavic soul food).

Note: Travel to our studios in Cleveland, Ohio is not included (though should you travel a distance to come see us, we would be very flattered!) If you get to Cleveland, we would be sure to pick you up and show you the sites.

Your name will PROMINENTLY be honored on our Wall of Favorite Friends, and you will also receive a digital print of the 1948 Textile Map of the Heartland, USA.


$10,000  Your Own Personal Limited Edition of 12 OKM Sweaters

Have us design and create for you, your own custom made limited edition of 12 Ohio Knitting Mills sweaters. We will work with you to design, and then produce your dream sweater. Outfit your own team, get a jump on your family Christmas gifts, or have a fresh one for every month of the year! We will hold digitally remote design meetings with you, or if you are close to Cleveland, Ohio or New York City, we can arrange to meet with you personally. And of course, everyone on your list gets a signed OKM book, 12 included.

Sizing by your determination: small, medium, large and Xl available.

Your name will be PROMINENTLY honored on our Wall of Favorite Friends, and you will also receive 12 copies of the digital print of a 1948 textile map of the Heartland, USA.


OTHER WAYS YOU CAN HELP

We appreciate all of the support from our customers, collaborators and fans all over the world. We would not be here today without all of you.

So please, take a few minutes to tell your friends, family, co-workers, and loved ones about our campaign. Tell hand knitters, knitwear designers, fashion and sweater lovers, bloggers, makers, neo-industrialists and everyone in between. You are part of this community we’re talking about, so with this love, you support our project to grow our little company, as well as a sustainable American knitwear industry.

Follow us on Twitter, like our Facebook page and pin with us over on Pinterest. We love hearing from you and thank you for being part of our community.   


WHO WE ARE


      

I'm Steven Tatar, currently the guy in charge of the Ohio Knitting Mills. I come from a long lineage of making things: my grandfather on my dad’s side was a glove maker from upstate New York, and my mom’s father founded and built a graphics printing company that made greeting cards in Cleveland, Ohio. I began my career as a carpenter and builder, and later after college, I became a sculptor. I have worked across numerous industries, designing, building, and providing creative direction for a variety of products, interiors, services, and experiences over the past three decades. When not making things, you might find me playing guitar, riding my bike, traveling, or taking a long walk.

I have a marvelous business partner in Paula Pedaci, who has been working in fashion and apparel for over 25 years. We also work with a small but outstanding team of designers, seamstresses, and machine knitters to create our sweaters. These lovely people are as committed to our vision of a revitalized Ohio Knitting Mills as I am, and I'm very lucky to get to work with them. 

Find This Campaign On
$22,320USD
raised by 190 people in 2 months
67% funded
0 time left
$33,400 USD goal
Flexible Funding This campaign has ended and will receive all funds raised.
Campaign Closed
This campaign ended on March 17, 2014
Select a Perk
  • $50USD
    Featured
    $100 OKM Gift Card

    You will receive a code allowing you to apply $100 towards any purchase on our website. Code will be emailed to you within 24 hours of your pledge. Valid up to two years. You may purchase more than one gift card, and can use multiple cards towards one purchase on our site. Your name will be honored on our Wall of Favorite Friends, and you will also receive a digital print of the 1948 textile map of the Heartland, USA.

    19 claimed

  • $10USD
    Wall of Favorite Friends

    Your name will be listed on our Wall of Favorite Friends. Everyday when we come to work, we walk down the alley to our courtyard and pass this wall. We will put all of the names of everyone who pledges, to remind us of the wonderful people who support us and who we do the work for.

    15 claimed

  • $20USD
    Textile Map-1948 Heartland

    We will send to you an 8 x 10 archival quality digital print of an engraved map of the textile geography of the Heartland, USA. This map was originally printed in a 1948 edition of Davidson’s Textile Blue Book, which was published regularly back in the day as a sourcing guide for the knitting industry. And your name will be included on our Wall of Favorite Friends.

    14 claimed

    Estimated delivery: February 2014
  • $30USD
    OKM Knitting Book

    Published by Artisan Press, 2010, this book tells the colorful story of the history of our mill and the garment industry in the Midwest, as well as offering 26 hand knit patterns of our iconic sweaters from four decades: 1940’s, -70s. Authored by our President and Creative Director, Steven Tatar, who will sign your copy of the book. Your name will be honored on our Wall of Favorite Friends, and you will also receive a digital print of the 1948 textile map of the Heartland, USA.

    16 claimed

    Estimated delivery: February 2014
  • $40USD
    Fly High Poster

    Silkscreened on French Paper Company’s Speckletone paper, a 6th generation paper mill in Niles, Michigan. 3-color silkscreen, 19 x 12 ½”. Printed at our local community graphic studio, Zygote Press. http://www.zygotepress.com/ Your name will be honored on our Wall of Favorite Friends, and you will also receive a digital print of the 1948 textile map of the Heartland, USA.

    13 claimed

    Estimated delivery: March 2014
  • $40USD
    Crafters Vintage Grab Bag

    Big bag o’ vintage trim and buttons + OKM Knitting Book. We will send you a selection of yardage from our mill’s vintage trims + a collection of vintage buttons. Each grab bag will include 2 yards each of 5 different trims + 6 matching of 3 different button styles. Sorry, all selections are at our discretion, but we promise you’ll love them. Your name will be honored on our Wall of Favorite Friends, and you will also receive a digital print of the 1948 textile map of the Heartland, USA.

    53 claimed

    Estimated delivery: March 2014
  • $40USD
    OKM Vintage Beanie or Scarf

    We are sewing your hat or scarf from historic Ohio Knitting Mills fabric, originally knit in the 1970’s. Black and blue tiny houndstooth pattern, cotton and acrylic blend. Hat is one size, scarf is 9 x 64”. Choose either the beanie or scarf, we will contact you to receive your choice of beanie or scarf. Your name will be honored on our Wall of Favorite Friends, and you will also receive a digital print of the 1948 Textile Map of the Heartland, USA.

    7 claimed

    Estimated delivery: March 2014
  • $50USD
    Vintage Beatnik Sweater + Book

    Our Vintage Beatnik Sweater was made in 1959 for Sears, and we're offering them to you! Original box, with original labels in place; 100% Virgin Orlon (so says the label), brushed to a fuzzy grooviness. One size, woman's small, though they are a loose fit, so will fit a medium as well. And receive a signed copy of The OKM Knitting Book as well! Your name will be honored on our Wall of Favorite Friends, and you will also receive a digital print of the 1948 Textile Map of the Heartland, USA.

    2 claimed

    Estimated delivery: March 2014
  • $60USD
    Vintage Beanie or Scarf + Book

    Choose either our vintage fabric beanie or scarf, plus also receive an autographed copy of the Ohio Knitting Mills Knitting Book. We will contact you to receive your choice of beanie or scarf. Your name will be honored on our Wall of Favorite Friends, and you will also receive a digital print of the 1948 textile map of the Heartland, USA.

    4 claimed

    Estimated delivery: February 2014
  • $75USD
    Vintage Skirt + Book

    This lovely number is sewn from our vintage Ohio Knitting Mills fabrics: Missoni inspired lane stitch pattern fabric was made by us in 1968. We are sewing your skirt to order from this historic fabric. You will also receive an autographed copy of the OKM Knitting Book. Your name will be honored on our Wall of Favorite Friends, and you will also receive a digital print of the 1948 textile map of the Heartland, USA.

    13 claimed

    Estimated delivery: February 2014
  • $75USD
    Matching Beanie & Scarf + Book

    You’ll love the hat so much, why not go matchy-matchy with the scarf? Get two so you can both be on the same team! A nice shareable perk. Your name will be honored on our Wall of Favorite Friends, and you will also receive a digital print of the 1948 textile map of the Heartland, USA.

    6 claimed

    Estimated delivery: February 2014
  • $150USD
    Pair of Perfect Pillows

    Made from OKM vintage fabric, circa 1970’s, our knit pillows are super soft, looped yarns; cotton, acrylic and wool blend. Zippered to remove down filled inserts, for easy washing. 20” x 20”. Your name will be honored on our Wall of Favorite Friends, and you will also receive a digital print of the 1948 textile map of the Heartland, USA.

    6 claimed

    Estimated delivery: March 2014
  • $250USD
    Mondrian Dress + Book

    We first issued our Mondrian dress in 1968. Your dress is newly knit of Italian yarns, 50/50 wool and acrylic blend. We love this dress so much, we featured it on the cover of the Ohio Knitting Mills Knitting Book. You will also receive an autographed copy of the book with this perk. We will contact you for sizing. This piece retails for $328. Your name will be honored on our Wall of Favorite Friends, and you will also receive a digital print of the 1948 textile map of the Heartland, USA.

    6 out of 40 claimed

    Estimated delivery: February 2014
  • $250USD
    Faire Isle Men's Cardigan

    We jacquard knit the faire isle cardigan in a wool acrylic blend, added metal buttons, and two welt pockets to hold your gizmos or warm your fingers. We will contact you for sizing after you have signed up for the perk level. This piece retails for $312. Your name will be honored on our Wall of Favorite Friends, and you will also receive a digital print of the 1948 textile map of the Heartland, USA.

    2 out of 30 claimed

    Estimated delivery: March 2014
  • $300USD
    Draftsman Wool Jacket

    We like to think that this is what Frank Lloyd Wright would have worn while drawing at Taliesin. Our 100% heavy wool knit cardigan is garment dyed in field grey, and features woven leather buttons, an inside notebook pocket & canvas pencil sleeve pocket. This piece will retail in Fall 2014 for $425. We will contact you for sizing. Your name will be honored on our Wall of Favorite Friends, and you will also receive a digital print of the 1948 textile map of the Heartland, USA.

    4 claimed

    Estimated delivery: March 2014
  • $1,000USD
    Private Factory Tour for Two

    Be our special guests for a visit to our creative studio and production factory in Cleveland, Ohio. You and a friend will be invited to explore our extensive OKM archive of knitwear, and pick out one each of our historic pieces to keep for your own. Lunch will also be provided. Note: Travel to our studios in Cleveland, Ohio is not included. Your name will be honored on our Wall of Favorite Friends, and you will also receive a digital print of the 1948 textile map of the Heartland, USA.

    1 out of 3 claimed

  • $10,000USD
    You Design a Sweater

    Have us design and create for you, 12 of your own limited edition, custom made OKM sweaters. We will help you to design, and we produce your dream sweater. Outfit your own team, get a jump on your family Christmas gifts, or have a fresh one for every month of the year! We will hold digitally remote design meetings. And of course, everyone on your list gets a signed OKM book, 12 included. You choose sizes. And of course, top spot on our Wall of Favorite Friends, and 12 Textile Maps, 1948.

    1 out of 3 claimed

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