If you’re a bit into the fashion world and frequently use social media, especially Instagram, surely you know the knitwear brand that has been seen the most during the last few months or the most talked about so far this year, Knitwrth.

The American clothing company founded in 2020 and creatively directed by Kristopher Cantu, could be considered the latest obsession of Gen Z, or lovers of pop culture and exclusivity, since many of the members of the aforementioned social groups are practically crazy about the characteristic designs they offer and, of course, they already have one in their possession. Among them are several of the most popular celebrities on the planet such as Rosalía, Gigi Hadid, Romeo Beckham, Leo Mandella, and Emily Ratajkowski. And, just like the rest of the mortals, they have fallen for the charms offered by the garments and have proudly worn them in the streets of their respective cities.

Celebrity factor, in this case, has been a very important aspect to take into account when it comes to gaining notoriety and brand growth, but the business has not only been sustained by this, but also by offering high quality and handmade items, creating special designs that make a difference, and good management and communication.

About all this and more we talked to Kristopher. Find out what he told us below:

Over the past few months, social media has been flooded with images of the latest Knitwrth drop. Many already know the brand, but little is known about who is behind it, which in this case is you. So the first question is, who is Kristopher Cantu?

If I had to define myself, I’d say I’m a person who is driven by creativity, and I find enormous joy in fashion and art. Since I can remember, I’ve always been drawn to different fabrics and textiles. Whether it was helping my mother pick out swatches to reupholster furniture in our family home or having a strong opinion on how the tablescape runner and napkins were paired during the holidays, I’ve always had a love for textiles. Thinking back, I feel like this played a part in the creation of Knitwrth.

Even though I went to school for advertising, I’ve always felt a calling towards fashion. I took somewhat of a risk with my career path, but at the end of the day, it’s important to believe in your project and craft. My inner voice always told me that whatever I did in the creative field, would turn out well. I am very happy that I created this brand and that it has allowed me to take off in the way that I have.

As a Chicago resident, what inspires you about it?

Many things inspire me about Chicago, one being the many cultures you can find within each neighborhood. Besides streetwear, you can see a lot of expression through someone’s background. On top of that, I also find inspiration outside just my environment. In the world of print, sculpture, and art, there’s a lot out there that inspires me daily.

What makes the city special that you haven’t moved to bigger ones like New York or Los Angeles?

I travel quite a lot for work and pleasure, and with Knitwrth mainly functioning as e-commerce, I haven’t had the biggest push to move to either city quite yet. There’s something a little nice about being in spaces that aren’t heavily saturated. Personally, New York will be the next move if it comes to that, but as of now, Chicago will always be a safe place and what I call home.

In terms of fashion capital, which is your favourite?

London. I recently visited and loved everything it had to offer. The diverse personal styling there was inspiring and refreshing to see.

Do you often see your designs around Chicago? And, do you remember the first time you saw someone wearing them?

Yes, quite a bit now. I still get an exciting pit in my stomach when I get to witness customers walking around. Not the first, but one of the most memorable times I saw people wearing Knitwrth was at a restaurant in Chicago called Dove’s. I remember how little by little, people started showing up wearing their pieces and how that ended up creating a buzz in the restaurant. Quite a sight to see.

Having celebrities wear your creations has partly helped the brand to become more popular. Do you remember who was the first celeb to wear Knitwrth? How do you think this impacts?

One of the first celebrities to wear Knitwrth was Emily Ratajkowski (@emrata). The fact that a celeb is wearing something from your brand helps a lot, as there is a large percentage of people who like fashion and are interested in seeing what these people are wearing and how they are doing it. If you see a famous person wearing the brand, it’s because they truly want to wear it. In a world of paid sponsorships and deals, we’ve kept everything very organic at this point. In Emily’s case, it was a collaboration that came out of her interest in the brand and we made her a couple of custom pieces. When she wore them, naturally this brought a lot of interest, and in turn, sales spiked significantly. We love Emrata!

Nowadays, it’s almost impossible to buy anything from Knitwrth, as it’s all sold out. Gen Z and lovers of exclusivity have gone crazy for it. Why do you think that is?

I think the way we have presented our collections has had a lot to do with it. It has generated a certain hype around the brand, making our collection only available for a certain amount of time every couple of months. I guess another reason we use this method of sales is we’re not trying to mass produce, we prefer to focus on the exclusivity of the product and make it available to those who love Knitwrth.

Did you expect this to happen the first time you launched a drop?

Not at all, no one on the team expected it. When you create a brand, the first stages are quite difficult and in our case, we did not expect something like this to happen. In our case, it all happened organically. There was little to no strategy behind it, we just thought about how to launch it. We did it and waited to see how the market responded. Of course, we were excited about the product and the uniqueness of the company, but if someone had told us we were going to have the success we are having, we wouldn’t have believed it. We are very grateful to our customers for the interest they have shown during all this time. Thanks to them we are growing, and that fills me with satisfaction because they have understood it as something more timeless than just a trend.

Of all the models out there, which one sold out the fastest?

I think the one that sold out the fastest is the “Sophie” model that Rosalía wore. That one went very viral. And then I would say the “Jordan” model. Many people loved it.

Regarding production, when visiting the website, a message appears saying it is closed for that reason. What does this mean?

At Knitwrth, we try to be transparent with our customers. Nowadays this is not usual, but we say yes to this. The message on the website means that we are closed for production post-drop. We made this decision some time ago. But we will be back soon, so don’t panic!

Do you produce the same number of units for all models or does it depend on the design or personality that appears on them?

Everything is made to order. I can’t give you an exact number of units we produce, but we keep in mind exclusivity when dropping a collection. It depends on the model, some are more popular and people buy more, and others less.

Could you tell us, as a fashion designer and knitwear expert, what technique you use to produce them? The print is so crisp and clear that it looks like 3D instead of embroidery.

My passion for textiles and different unique fabrics brought this to life. I thought about how to combine not only my love of pop culture, music, and art but also how to turn it into something wearable, and that’s how it came about. The technique itself is jacquard which is a style of woven fabric. It’s a beautiful technique that dates back to the 1800s, I believe.

The way clothes fit is very important when it comes to shopping. How is it possible that your jumpers fit equally well on both sexes? It’s curious because men’s and women’s bodies are different.

It’s something that took time and was difficult to achieve. We created a kind of pattern, based on old and vintage jumpers that we liked the way they looked. We finally chose an oversized style, not only because of how it looks and fits but also because of the comfort it brings. When we got it, we presented it and received a lot of positive feedback from customers.

Jumpers are your signature item, but would you like to go beyond that?

Although we are a brand specializing in jumpers, in the future I would like to develop a more diverse line. When I’m in the studio designing, I experiment a lot with different patterns and envision many different ways one could wear Knitwrth. We’ve introduced dresses, jackets, and skirts that have been received well by our consumers, and hope to continue diversifying the brand and product.

Fast fashion is a business model that for some time now has unfortunately had a strong presence in the industry. What do you think about it?

As a designer and owner of a small brand myself, I don’t care for it. It’s something I don’t feel connected to, as it goes contrary to what I believe in and love. My style has always been driven by finding unique or rare pieces to add to my wardrobe.

Let’s talk about your role as an entrepreneur, what is the most difficult part of running a clothing brand?

The most difficult part about running a clothing brand is having to constantly innovate and keep it fresh in saturated sectors such as fashion and social media, and dealing with the pressure that comes with that.

Of your roles as an entrepreneur and creative director, which do you enjoy the most? And, which do you think is the most difficult?

It’s hard to choose between the two because I find happiness in both and they are closely related to me. As for which is more difficult, I would probably say being the founder of an emerging brand, the creative is more natural.

How do you see yourself with your brand in five years?

In five years, I hope we will have grown much more or at least continue as we are now. I would also love to work in other fashion spaces. One of my dreams has always been to have a house/studio that works and functions as a boutique.

Continue this sentence: my motto is…

“Stay true to yourself”. I have done that at all times and I think it is one of the reasons why the brand has succeeded, it reflects everything I believe in and part of my interests, as well as the love I have for people. If at some point it fails (hopefully not), I will be calm because I know I did everything I had to do.

Finally, many Knitwrth lovers are constantly wondering when the next drop will arrive – is there any word on this? Anything you can reveal?

I can’t say an exact date yet, but it’ll be very soon! Within the month for sure.

One thing I can advance is that in addition to the drop we will present some interesting collaborations that will be very well-liked and in the Fall, we will carry out several pop-ups in different cities like the one we did recently in Chicago which the whole team loved the experience. It was a great way to connect with our customers and see firsthand the interest they all had.

Stay tuned!


Discover more about Knitwrth at www.knitwrth.com