Tiffany Banks taught herself how to knit using a clearance sale starter kit that she bought when she was a freshman at Delaware State. It was a creative outlet—knitting would distract her from the homesickness she felt after leaving her beloved Baltimore for a college dorm. But eventually, the hobby became something much more.
Once they saw her hand-knit cardigans, Banks’ family and friends started to request their own. She was designing pieces that weren’t being offered at any stores—knitwear that incorporated elements of bohemian style but was still sophisticated and modern. Eventually, she began selling to customers here and there, finally launching Wood Antler & Bloom in January 2018.
Creating her own knitwear gave Banks a crash course in design. “I never was really good at following patterns,” she says. “I would start out, and it’d end up not looking like the picture.”
She began creating her own patterns, using her metal knitting needles to manipulate basic shapes into intricately woven clothing—items that ranged from tank tops and cardigans to handbags and hair scrunchies—writing down notes as she went.
“My items are something you need to experience: See them, feel how soft they are, and how they look on,” she says. Knitting became a way for Banks to express herself. Wood and antler were the materials the original knitting needles were carved from, but “bloom” added a personal meaning. “When you wear one of my knits, I hope you come into the fullest expression and beauty of yourself.”