Abby Keep has been knitting since the age of five. “My mom taught me to always keep my chest warm because that’s where your vital organs are,” says Keep, who has turned her molding skills into a bespoke knitwear business, delivering orders to Melbourne.
“At the beginning of 2020, I formulated the right equation to make a vest for different morphologies,” she says. “It’s a very personal process. I’ll get an email asking for a commission, then I’ll meet the client and have a coffee or walk around and talk about what they’d like. There’s actually a lot of intimate communication in the making of a vest.
Keep offers full customization. Customers can choose from a range of styles: checkerboard, stripes, two colors split down the middle, different colors for the front and back. Or, they are invited to scroll through its website and discuss any ideas they have in mind.
For sizing, Keep says she “usually [does] visually, which involves the customer sending a picture of their torso. It’s almost like diving into that person’s intimate space and then creating something specifically for them,” she says.
“I’ve come to love how multi-dimensional and androgynous the garment is. I will make a vest for a female body type and will often put it on my male roommate to see if it fits, and it looks great on them. It’s amazing how different people’s bodies are, but the vest still fits them.
Keep photos of the vests on their new owners. The images on her website are of customers wearing their new clothes and moving through their daily lives. “I like to photograph vests [in the way] I do it because they are intimate with that person,” she says. “The process feels like I’m putting the vest back in its new home.”
The cost of an Abby Keep knit vest starts at around $300, but prices can vary depending on the style. Once you email her for a commission, she will discuss it with you via email or coffee, depending on where you live.
To start the process of creating your own custom vest, email Abby at [email protected]