Oh Hello Jo — Knorts

Jo Rosenthal

Knorts is the brand taking typical jeans and re-inventing them for maximum comfort. Knorts is the spawn of Eleanore Guthrie’s numerous years as a pro-snowboarder and pro-accountant. Completely different from both, the brand is essentially the love child of all of her dreams and jobs combined. With an emphasis on sustainability and a newly started ‘rental’ program, Knorts is the pseudo denim brand you didn’t know you needed.

JR: Talk to us a little bit about how you got your start as an artist and creator and how you made the switch from doing something non-creative to something completely creative.
EG: I became an artist and creator when I got into snowboarding and I used to alter my outerwear so it would have cool silhouettes that I couldn’t find in stores. I became more creative as I started studying different areas of business, but the day I started Knorts was the day I officially became an artist/creator because it was the first time I seriously pursued design. I never realized I was creative in the traditional sense until I started Knorts. I never fully switched from doing something non-creative to something completely creative. I still do accounting and that’s what has allowed me to continue building the brand. When I do general business management type-work, I apply my creativity in a different way. It’s always fun for me think of ways to make businesses more efficient and to think up new creative ways to grow or market a company. I feel like I need both in my life to feel at equilibrium and on top of my game.
JR: What role does sustainability play in your designing?
EG: A sustainable business is one that does not spend beyond its means or overproduce, and it’s one that is intentionally built to last a lifetime. Sustainability and good business practice go hand in hand, so I consider both factors when making business/design decisions. A natural part of the clothing business is the creation of bad samples. For many, this might be considered a big expense and something that ends up in the landfill. However, for me, it’s an opportunity to make something different. I use old samples to not only create unique tags for my garments, but I also deconstruct them to make new goods like lamps, clothes, pillows, masks, hats, you name it. Fully fashioned knitwear is inherently less wasteful because each piece of the design is knit to its exact measurements. In other words, no excess fabric is cut away and disposed of. This obviously creates less landfill, but it also saves me a lot of money.
JR: Can you tell us a little bit about your rental program?
EG: The launch of the rental program was multipurpose. It’s intention is not only to reduce my brand’s impact of creating landfill driven by overconsumption, but is also a way to make the brand more accessible to people who can’t or don’t want to invest in outright ownership of the pieces. The program also plays an important role in allowing people to test the designs before making a purchase.
JR: What’s your advice for a young person who wants to do what you do?
EG: Anything is possible as long as you are persistent and work extremely hard. Nothing great comes easy in life. How does where you live affect your work and your process? LA is great in the sense that there is a high concentration of talented artists out here, so collaborating on cool projects is more accessible. With LA being a denim capital of the world, it makes it much easier to source vendors who already know how to treat and work with denim.
JR: Who are some artists or designers you look up to?
EG: Jeremy Scott. I feel like his background is most relatable to mine as far as connections to the fashion industry goes. Like Jeremy Scott, I don’t have any family connections to the fashion industry, I’ve self-funded the brand’s entire existence, and have otherwise built a presence within the industry through perseverance, hard work, and grit on my own. The fashion industry is really hard to break into for multiple reasons including its inherent elitism and oversaturation. To see someone successfully build the true American Dream within the industry is extremely inspiring and impressive. I wish the fashion industry had more stories like his. I’d like to show people that anything is possible if you set your mind to it and work on it everyday.
JR: What’s a typical day like for you?
EG: I have a separate accounting business where I do accounting for a handful of creatives and most of my days are split between accounting and Knorts. I’ll wake up around 7am, read a bunch of business articles from online publications, do some accounting or work on Knorts throughout the day until I make dinner and continue working until 11-12am get ready for bed, and read articles from Business of Fashion or Entrepreneur until I’m too tired to focus.

“I’d like to show people that anything is possible if you set your mind to it and work on it everyday.”

JR: If you weren’t pursuing fashion, what would you do?
EG: Lately, I’ve been thinking about dermatology. My skin is so sensitive, so I’m always experiencing weird skin issues on my face. I’m interested in learning about what’s going on inside of me that’s potentially causing problems to surface.
JR: What are you working on now?
EG: I’m always working on a lot of new things, but I’m about to launch a home goods capsule as well as developing new colorways for my knitwear.
JR: What do you do when you’re not feeling very creative?
EG: I read a bunch of business articles and go out to socialize. It’s amazing what learning new things can do for you whether it’s done through a written article online or conversation with new friends you just met at a party.
Birthday: March 28!
Favorite color: I don’t have one, but everyone thinks it’s blue.
Do you wear pajamas? I usually wear oversized T shirts because they’re free and I’m single. However, lately, I’ve been into the sleeping naked thing.
Ask a friend or lover 3 words that describe you and why...
My friend Devin Weil said “Determined because you let no one or any negative criticism stop you from doing your passion, independent because you don’t follow trends or the pack in fashion or socially you are your own leader, and innovative because you took denim and knitwear to another level in the fashion scene that no one is doing.”