Meet Sustainable Luxury Knitwear Brand SSKEIN

Posted on October 15, 2020, 8:14 am
3 mins


As the landscape of business change again and again during the pandemic, we have mourned the loss of many Seattle style institutions over the past months, Totokaelo and Baby & Co. to name two, and countless individuals have lost their retail and style positions over the past few months.

However, there is a positive trend to this ever-shifting “new normal” which is that creativity is alive and well. New businesses are cropping up as people use the changes in their world to create new opportunities. Some are even becoming entrepreneurs and looking at how to do business with a fresh perspective of consumer’s needs and what’s better for the environment.

SSKEIN Founder and Creative Director Elisa Yip. Photo by Sailor Delich.

One such person is designer Elisa Yip. Beginning with her studies at New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology as well as Polìmoda in Florence Italy, Elisa Yip spent her career designing for fashion brands and high-end retailers in New York, Asia, and Seattle. With over twenty years of knitwear design experience, Yip decided this was the right time to go out on her own. Her luxury knitwear company, SSKEIN, which draws its name from the work “skān”, meaning “a length of thread or yarn, loosely coiled and knotted’, is a labor of love.

SSKEIN Wrap Neck Jumpsuit. Photo by Sailor Delich.

During her career, Yip says she has seen the impact “fast fashion” is having on the environment and wanted to change how she approaches her designs and the marketing of them. By designing a sustainable knitwear brand with a different kind of business model, the company can avoid over production and waste. SSKEIN produces only the specific volume of garments that are sold by using a pre-sale model. This approach allows customers to purchase ahead of production, giving the company a calculated projection of exact sales which reduces and eliminates waste. This makes the knitwear production inherently sustainable, as each piece is fully fashioned and knitted to shape, creating little to no excess scrap materials ending up in landfill.

SSKEIN Ribbed Scarf. Photo by Sailor Delich.

All of the pieces in Yip’s first collection focus on using high quality baby alpaca sourced from sustainable vendors using certified ethical shearing processes and other natural materials as the primary fibers in all of our products. She also uses Sendle, a carbon neutral shipping service for standard delivery within the United States.

The first SSKEIN collection is available to the public for pre-sale purchases beginning on October 15, 2020. Special sale prices are on the entire first collection return to regular retail prices on October 25. You can sign up for the newsletter to get early access to the pre-sale too. Check out the entire collection of SSKEIN here.

Images courtesy of SSKEIN.

Photography by Sailor Delich.

Lisa Cole is the fashion and style writer for Vanguard Seattle, and her work includes covering fashion news and events, runway shows and boutiques. She has her own fashion and lifestyle blog,, and is a member of Independent Fashion Bloggers and Fashion Group International.