Yokoo Gibraan

Yokoo Gibraan

A tiny pixie of a person, Yokoo Gibraan perfectly arched eyebrows, deep rockpools for eyes and a gentle focus that would make an English Pointer weep with envy.

From her beautifully kept apartment in Atlanta, Yokoo runs a one-person knitting enterprise that has turned her into the patron saint of kickass knitting with a cult global following.

Entirely self-taught, Yokoo can knit anything.  Her huge, seven foot long ‘soopascarves’ are her signature piece, but she also knits hats with long woollen ribbons that tie under the chin, pompom necklaces, and cowls big enough to house a litter of kittens.  Like every true artist, her creativity has bred pragmatism and she’s had to invent new stitches to create some of her more complicated pieces.  

Yokoo models and shoots every piece that she produces, and her natural penchant for what she calls ‘emotional photography’ is no doubt one of the reasons she’s been picked up by the New York Times, Vice Magazine, Refinery29 and Nylon Magazine.  The pictures are also an excellent manifestation of her accidental charm and (often disarming) honesty.

 “I find that honesty tends to be at the centre of good communication,” Yokoo has said. “I have a little saying that goes like this: “If you’re smart, don’t be a fool wasting your time being a genius.”

If there’s anyone who understands the importance of not wasting time, it is she.  Yokoo starts the day with a cup of tea and then spends the next 15 hours knitting and sewing to fill the huge volume of orders she receives through her Etsy stores, with old movies for company. (Think The Godfather, A Streetcar Named Desire and The Ox Bow Incident.) She’s so busy that there’s normally a six-week wait her work.

Her project launched in 2007, was turning over $140,000 by 2009, and has since expanded to include a line of watches, textiles and necklaces.  Most recently, she became a poster-girl for iconic Swedish brand Tretorn. Not bad for someone who used to work 9-5 at a copy centre. 

While Yokoo had been knitting and selling things on Etsy for a year or so before she quit her day job, she says everything changed when she had a seisemic shift in consciousness.

“I slowly began to realise that my time has unlimited value.”

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A specially commissioned range of soopa scarves are available now.