Knit Illustrated

“COVID gave me time to rethink my goals and remember why I got into this business.”

Peter TamPresident & Owner

“I stumbled upon the fashion industry by accident.”

Peter Tam entered the fashion industry by accident. After college, he started working for a sweater import company, which introduced him to the world of knitwear and sweater manufacturing. Intrigued, and seeking to better understand knitting and fabric making, he enrolled in New York City’s Fashion Institute of Technology. Right upon graduating in 1992, Peter used his newly developed technical skills to start his own knit development business – Knit Illustrated. He had never before worked in a fashion manufacturing, and remains as enthusiastic now as he was back then about the seemingly endless opportunities.

Knit Illustrated was first established in Long Island City, but as the business grew, Peter clearly saw the value of relocating to the Garment District, in close proximity to all the designers. His decision to relocate was also linked to the fact that he deeply enjoyed the creative part of manufacturing, when designers came to see and touch his work; a central location helped maximize these in-person visits.

Faces of the Garment District - Knit Illustrated Runway Designs
Faces of the Garment District - Knit Illustrated knitting machine

“I love working with designers to make the impossible actually possible.”

Peter started Knit Illustrated to expand the world of knitting. He wanted to make the impossible possible, and push the boundaries of this art. Most designers generally do not possess deep knowledge of the knitting or stitching process, and Peter saw this as an opportunity to both partner with and educate creative minds. Furthermore, he strongly believes that collaborating with designers during the early stages of development helps achieve better end products.

Peter and his team primarily work on women’s knitwear, as they view these products as generally more fashion-forward and creatively-driven. Technology has played a key role in Knit Illustrated’s ability to create unique and original stitching. The company’s state-of-the-art equipment has contributed to the full-range of offerings – from swatch development and fashion samples to full-production. Of course deep expertise and talent are essential to bring the knits to life, with all employees trained to thoroughly understand both the stitching process as well as computer programming so as to ensure the highest quality output.

“COVID gave me time to rethink my goals and remember why I got into this business.”

Knit Illustrated is an integral part of knitwear development in New York City, and one of the only remaining businesses of its kind in the Garment District. The company’s solid reputation stems from its success in achieving excellent quality while respecting tight deadlines, with Peter and his team laser-focused throughout the entire process on bringing the designers’ vision to life.

A lot has changed for the company since the pandemic. Many of Peter’s employees no longer come to work, and large orders have been canceled. With less workers in the office, Peter has started focusing more on his technique, and on producing samples. This shift in pace brought him back to his roots, allowing him to spend more time on the creative details and on advising designers. The deep satisfaction that he derives from working on the smallest of details and the intricacies of a stitch is what drove him to start the business almost thirty years ago.

Faces of the Garment District - Knit Illustrated fashion models
Faces of the Garment District - Knit Illustrated knitwear

“I want to pursue the many projects that I feel passionate about.”

Despite Covid19’s unexpected consequences, Peter feels very positive about Knit Illustrated’s future. He and his team have pushed the “reset” button  and spent time thinking back on all that his company had achieved over the last thirty years, and this has helped them devise a plan for the next few decades. While Peter is keenly aware of the many uncertainties associated with the future of fashion, he is convinced that as long as he focuses on projects that he feels passionate about, business will follow. follow.

Q&A with Peter Tam

What work have you enjoyed most?

I love the creative aspect of knitting - turning something basic into something complex.

Who influenced you most?

The professors at FIT who taught me about knitting.

Best compliment received from a client?

When I review a design, and designers use my recommendations in their sketch so that we create a finished product together. It is nice getting the recognition and appreciation.

What is your advice to someone starting out in this business?

Perseverance and passion – if you do not like what you do, you will not be able to succeed.