Venturing to find vintage vêtements for your fashionista friends this holiday season? Look no further than the Ohio Knitting Mills’ Pop-Up Shop (a 2011 Best of Cleveland winner) located on the corner of West 28th Street and Lorain Avenue in Ohio City.
“Three generations of one family ran the mill from 1927 to 2004, when it finally shut down its production operation,” explains Steve Tatar, current president and creative director of Ohio Knitting Mills.
“I met the owner of the business, Gary Rand, who revealed a very, very large collection of historic sweaters that his father and grandfather had been saving since World War II. He kept one or two of everything they made from the 1940’s up through the 1970’s," Tatar says. "It became this tremendous collection of more than 5,000 sweaters.”
The holiday shop will have an assortment of these one-of-a-kind sweaters, skirts, vests and shirts on-hand ($48-$188). “We’ll have accessories (starting at $20) too — hats, gloves, scarves and mittens that we’re making here, out of our historic fabrics,” Tatar says.
The pop-up shop also has finds for those who prefer to hang their art rather than wear it. “We’re doing a project with the Cleveland Public Library to promote their vast collection of historic images of the region,” says Tatar. The 18 x 24 inch full-color posters ($20, featured above) will showcase an array of advertisements celebrating the city’s heyday. There are four different images available, including an ad for the seminal Cleveland Industrial Exposition of 1909.
New threads are in the near future for OKM, too. The company has designed a capsule collection of men’s shirts for spring 2012, which they will be offering exclusively at the Cleveland store before going national with the newly knitted numbers.
“You know, I think it’s time to put the Ohio Knitting Mills name on new goods,” Tatar suggested. “Let’s continue the tradition. Let’s continue to make amazingly patterned, colorful knitwear and really own it — own the brand.”
And you can own it too, when the OKM Holiday Pop-Up Shop opens this Friday at 6 p.m. for a special unveiling party, hosted by partner Twist Creative Inc. Don’t dawdle though, OKM will be closing up shop on Jan. 8.
For more info on OKM, holiday shop hours and online store, visit ohioknittingmills.com