Brooklyn-based brand Thursday Finest is turning the traditional manufacturing process upside-down by letting customers take control of the design stage and tailoring Merino wool socks specifically to individual feet, according to The Woolmark Company, which recently partnered with the brand.
Using next-generation Shima Seiki SWG041N flat knitting machines to make custom order on-demand wool products direct from its New York studio, the company aims to reduce the manufacturing time to a matter of minutes.
Thursday Finest’s Merino wool socks, scarves and ties are designed by the customer and then made-up by the company’s Shima ‘3D-knitting machine’, allowing for total transparency and zero waste, according to the partners. “3D-knitting generates fully-fashioned items that don’t need to be cut and sewn – each item comes out of the machine as a full, holistic object,” explained Thursday Finest co-founder Veronika Harbick. “And because these items are generated from digital files, they can be digitally manipulated on a per item basis.”
“Put those two together, and we’re able to generate custom-fitting and personalised goods in minutes with extreme precision and quality. We are excited to pair this new technology with the wool – the original technical fibre – to deliver amazing, one-of-a-kind products for our customers for years to come.”
Using 16.5 to 18.5-micron Australian Merino wool for a range of scarves and men’s ties, Thursday Finest has expanded its range to include seamless Merino wool socks, with two styles available. The no-show ankle socks and the full-length socks are designed by the customer, who picks the design, colours and even a personal message and are shaped to follow the natural slope of your toes.
“Socks used to be something you’d hide under your pants and not think much about. Now, they’re the top accessory for men and women. You actually want your socks to show; you want them to reflect your personality and your sense of style,” said Ms Harbick.
“We’re taking this trend to a whole new level with our custom Merino socks. We enable you to customise the style, colour and text message that’s knitted right into the back of your socks. All the socks are 3D-knitted on demand which enables us to make each pair individually and make it with a fully seamless, contoured toe for an extremely comfortable fit. We love that they are odour resistant so that people will be able to wear the socks for multiple days before washing. We love that with Merino, the socks will be breathable and insulating so that the same sock can be worn in the summer and your feet will remain cool and in the winter to keep to your feet warm.”
Eco-credentials of Merino wool
The Woolmark Company, recently partnered with Thursday Finest, and is assisting with product development. They also joined forces to host an event for the design community in New York that included a panel discussion moderated by Assistant Professor of Fashion Design and Sustainability at Parsons School of Design, Dr Timo Risannen, with The Woolmark Company Country Manager Michelle Lee and Veronika Harbick speaking about the merits and eco-credentials of Merino wool.
“We brought our 3D-knitting machine and made custom socks on the spot. We’ve discovered that there is a real disconnect between the products we purchase and the people and the machines that make them. It’s really rewarding to bring this new retail experience to life for people and create a deeper connection with the product they purchase,” commented Ms Harbick.
“At Thursday Finest, we think holistically about a product’s journey – from development to production to wear – and it’s been fantastic to meet new yarn suppliers through Woolmark and to nerd out with The Woolmark Company team about the future of fashion, sustainability and textiles.”