SUSS is a local knitwear brand made up of Suss Cousins and her daughter Hanna Cousins. The pair takes inspiration from Suss' 30+ years of knitwear knowledge and experience including her flagship store on Beverly Blvd in LA that thrived for 20 years. Hanna and Suss now use these passed down, heritage techniques in their innovative designs today.
Suss Cousins' love for design and talent for knitting began in her hometown in Southern Sweden. It was a craft passed down from her grandmother, to her mother, and down the line the obsession for knitwear and sweaters was gifted to her own daughter, Hanna.
Suss moved from her small town home in Sweden to Manhattan in 1982 where her knitting career began to blossom. She was hand knitting sweaters and selling them as she tended bar, which eventually led to designing sweaters for Bill Cosby on The Cosby Show.
After Hanna was born in 1989, they moved across the country to Los Angeles. She continued knitting in LA, making a name for herself in designing baby and children's sweaters. In 1995 Suss opened her flagship, retail store Suss Design on Beverly Boulevard in the heart of mid-city LA. Her store created a new pulse in the movement of Hollywood knitwear. The store focused on her designs for children as well as a new interest in women's and men's fashion. It also became the testing ground for yarn design and knitting. The Beverly location quickly became a mecca for knitwear production with a strong team of artisans.
Suss' love for personalized design and curation eventually caught the ye of Hollywood costume designers and producers. She created custom-made knitted designs and costumes for a number of feature films and TV productions, including "The Grinch," "Scooby Doo," "The Matrix" and more.
Suss Knits Today
In 2020, Suss partnered with her daughter Hanna to recreate SUSS KNITS. It was Hanna's dream to bring back and reinvent the original knits and sweater creations she grew up with. Knitting for Hanna has become an ode to Suss’ history, and it has fulfilled her dream of working side by side with her mother.
Today, SUSS KNITS pieces are a fusion of ‘80s grunge and distressed styles—pulling inspiration from the start of Suss’ knitwear career on the Lower East side of NYC—along with modern silhouettes and colors influenced by Scandinavia.
Suss and Hanna pride themselves on their slow fashion and sustainable approach. All of their pieces are hand-loomed, hand knit and hand crocheted locally by a small group of artisan technicians - this is how Suss has always worked. Hand-looming consists of working on each garment individually on a manual knitting machine. Each piece of the garment is knit in its shape, no cutting involved. The hand-loom allows for a waste-free production process developing fully-fashioned knits. This process doesn't only prove sustainable but also adds an incredibly beautiful, unique look to the knitwear as opposed to mass produced sweaters.
Yarns used by SUSS KNITS range in all different textures and weights. They often use a recycled cotton blend that can be plied up or down to make both chunky and relaxed-fitting knits. The recycled cotton blend is a 50/50 blend of cotton scraps salvaged from cut-and-sew factories (then re-spun into cone yarn) and poly fiber from plastic bottles. SUSS KNITS designs also feature a locally manufactured 100% wool from North Carolina that is hand spun and hand dyed, as well as a sustainably sourced cashmere from Inner Mongolia. This cashmere source follows The Good Cashmere Standard (GCS), developed by the Aid by Trade Foundation. The Good Cashmere Standard aims to improve the welfare of cashmere goats, the working conditions of farmers and to protect the environment.
From design to release of their knits, Suss and Hanna are hands-on and work closely with their technicians in every step of the knitwear development. They have developed a family through the manufacturing of their knits— not just as mother and daughter—but with the artisanal knitting community they have built from past to present.