James Cox Knits for the Man in your life, was today’s HOT TOPIC on the Yarn Thing podcast with Marly Bird. This was his first visit to a podcast, we’re so tickled about this First Date!
James Cox called into the Yarn Thing podcast from Palm Springs, California, which is a ways away from where he grew up in Kansas. His family was very crafty, he says, his mom taught them everything from knitting and crochet to quilting. One day as an adult in the line at Woolworths he saw a booklet to Learn to Knit, stepped out of line and collected what he needed to start. That first project was a Fair Isle sweater that he still wears.
The mention of Woolworths kind of dates this story, he admits that was more than 30 years ago. He’s always been a fan of fashion and understands construction or how things are put together. He sees knitting as 3-dimensional grid in rows and columns of stitches, admires how things are finished. He found a local yarn shop that was helpful and nice, continued to design things for himself, and they led him into mosaic. During this time, he worked in the advertising industry which approached as an art director. It’s apparent that he has that detail orientation that successful designers and knitters have from his background and formal training.
His accumulation of designs and wearing his pieces himself led to comments and compliments. In a men’s fashion store in Paris, he was asked who designed the sweater he was wearing, and when he admitted it was his own, he was handed a business card and told to make contact when he released his line. At that point, he realized he was a they are exactly where they are in designer, which he had not thought previously was something he wanted to pursue. With his niece who is in the fashion industry, he began to plot a different course, develop a new brand. James Cox Knits gave him an opportunity to explore and experiment with yarns and fabrics on his own terms.
His concepts were based on modifications of what is out there and what we found people were wanting to knit. One of the things he includes is a row-checker, which allows a knitter to see what the stitch counts are and shaping so, if the project has to be set aside for awhile, it’s easy to find where you are when you pick it up again. He also puts his kits in a backpack which features elements that allow someone to knit on the go! His website features images (you really must see www.JamesCoxKnits.com) of his designs on professional models captured by professional fashion photographer. He wants his brand shown in a way that’s about fashion and about the fun of knitting!
When James began to design with the thought of selling his designs for other knitters, he was unsatisfied with what he could find, and heard from others that there was not much available. Working in San Francisco and Los Angeles, (he has a satellite office in NYC, and a home in the Caribbean, so he’s watching and studying on the road somewhere all the time!) he was able to observe and listen to what others were looking for. He creates designs in men’s sizes Small to Extra Large and sometimes Extra Small to Extra-Extra Large, but the women that are creating the pieces are sometimes wearing them as well. He develops designs from concepts then looks for the yarn to accomplish what it needs to do and be. For instance he says one of his designs is meant to be a bit dressier and classic, so he looked for a
cashmere. CoBaSi has been a favorite material of his design, using it once and then again in a lighter weight because of it’s fiber content, being Cotton/Bamboo/Silk blend, perfect for warmer climates, cooler evenings. He also likes the ideas that come with knitting top-down for it’s ability to allow for tailoring.
He is creating collections now, working toward twice a year producing Spring/Summer and Autumn/Winter ideas. Having his products at Stitches Events, Vogue Knitting Live, and elsewhere, meeting people and introducing his kits to folks has been positive and enthusiastic beyond expectations. Because of an article about James Cox Knits in California Apparel, his kits were included in the gift bags for the Oscars to Hollywood celebrities, like Angelina Jolie, Helen Mirren, Scarlett Johansson. The outcome of THAT, was that BD Wong will be modeling some of James’ things and in fact, James posted on his blog about BD’s knitting!
Most of what James has achieved in his business has happened in just a very short period of time, but his lifetime of experience has clearly led him to this wonderful adventure. James Cox can be followed through his website: www.JamesCoxKnits.com, with his blog, his Facebook page and Ravelry Designer page, also a Pinterest page!
If you missed getting to hear this live, you can still listen to it as an archived episode where it aired originally: https://www.blogtalkradio.com/yarnthing/2016/08/25/james-cox-knits-for-the-man-in-your-life or with your favorite podcast catcher like iTunes or Stitcher Radio.