As of Thursday, July 10, 2014
On a recent Friday afternoon at Pacific Coast Knitting, designers were browsing through headers in the company’s showroom.
“We make a lot of high-end fabrics,” said Mike Tolouee, owner of the Huntington Park, Calif.–based mill. “We use high-end fibers [such as] Tencel, silk, cashmere, Modal, angora, Supima, Italian yarns and 100 percent linen, which right now is very strong.”
Pacific Coast Knitting’s showroom has racks of sweater knits, double-faced fabrics, sheer knits and styles with multi-color slubs, as well as basic fabrics.
“Everything is available for sampling. We don’t carry any inventory,” Tolouee said.
A short drive east from downtown Los Angeles, the 50,000-square-foot facility houses about 75 employees and 26 knitting machines. Because Pacific Coast Knitting knits to order, there are no minimums, Tolouee said.
“Our minimum is a dye lot,” he said. “But we’ll do small orders to fulfill our customers’ needs. Most of our customers’ customers are specialty stores. The volumes are not high.”
Pacific Coast Knitting works with contemporary and better misses designers, as well as high-end men’s and some children’s, Tolouee said.
Turn times are three to four weeks. And prices range from around $2 per yard for basic styles up to $12 per yard for specialty fibers.
The mill has been in its current location since 2002. Tolouee, who founded the company in 1990, started out making more basic goods but shifted the focus of the mill when commodity knits moved offshore.
“The last several years we have slowly evolved to high-end as the commodity market went away,” he said.
The shift proved to be a good move. The company’s customer base has increased to more than 600 clients in recent years. To build out-of-state business, Pacific Coast Knitting exhibits at the Los Angeles International Textile Show, where the company landed customers from the East Coast, Texas, Chicago, Seattle and Florida, Tolouee said, adding that the recent interest in made-in-America fabrics has also helped bring in new customers.
“As you see, we’ve been very busy,” he said.
For more information about Pacific Coast Knitting, visit www.pacificknitting.com.