souchi started with my little brother. he pronounced my name, suzi, as 'souchi'. it turned out this name would have a resurgence years later while a fashion major at the academy of art college, san francisco. to put myself through school i worked at chanel where i had a very loyal customer from indonesia, elaine. One summer, during the time I interned for isaac mizrahi in nyc, elaine sent me letters addressed to 'miss souchi'. i loved that souchi had come full circle and i had known for a while, since i left contempo casuals as sales girl extraordinaire, that i could not design under 'suzi johnson'…the name under which i lived…thus souchi was born.
at that time, i was still in school, had no idea souchi would be a knitwear line and thought i would be designing clothing and opening a boutique in san francisco.
but life stepped in, and because of the first of many happy accidents, i was told i was one elective short for graduation. i chose a knitting class which brought to life my first hand loomed sweater: a men's style crew neck sweater. what no one knew was that through novice and, more importantly, unrepeatable knitting mistakes, this sweater was more like a piece intentionally influenced by my idols rei kawakubo and yohji yamamoto. i loved that sweater and wore it out the day after i graduated at which point i was stopped on the street and asked where i bought my sweater. i said, with the biggest leery looking grin (i now knew about the unrepeatable mistakes), 'i made it'. this woman, a san francisco based shop owner, bought 10 on the spot. of course, i took the order, i could rem-ist-ake this sweater, i was a designer!
six months after this order on the street, souchi was selling to stores and boutiques nationwide, had an angora hoodie on the cover of the september 1998 issue of seventeen magazine and had created such a buzz that by 2000, this sweater was a regular on friends, 90210 (the original), melrose place, and most of the wb shows. movies, red carpets and magazines have kept souchi in the forefront of luxury knitwear and over the past 15 years, souchi had been sold in specialty boutiques around the world.
i started knitting souchi sweaters in my 250 sq ft apt in san francisco. i loved the look of a hand loomed sweater: the rolled seams and the rumpled lived in look. i liked the idea of touching everything i made. i didn't want to draw and fax my designs to some manufacturer overseas and to this day, most of my designs are on post-its and scraps of paper, on magazines, in books or on business cards. i have piles of my designs in drawers, cabinets & shoe boxes. thanks to paola and that one knitting class, souchi has been an ongoing process of exploration.
i knew that, because i was making souchi knits myself, i was going use the best yarns in the world: fine Italian cashmere & merino wools & organic cottons from tanzania…souchi sweaters have always been designed to survive years of wear and, if i could be so lucky, find their way in beautiful vintage stores, decades later.
souchi is a labor of love, trust, inspiration & luxury. we respect the process, craft & beauty of something meant to last. AND the desire to build, create & promote craftsmanship here in the states and the towns in which we live. i loved the pride my grandmother had in her one and only cashmere beaded sweater from the 1950's. she was a missionary & house cleaner who had been given this sweater which she treasured. i still have it, now almost 70 years old, and in perfect condition. i create your souchi to live with you that long.
souchi is still designed solely by suzi johnson and currently has two retail stores (portland & aspen) in the US and another on the way........