Vancouver: 5 minutes with Granted’s knitwear guru, Minoru Hirano

By Jennie Jin

Our Vancouver office got much toastier when Minoru Hirano, owner of Granted Clothing (grantedclothing.com), stopped by recently with a bag full of wooly goodies. A local family company that offers an array of knitted sweaters, toques, mittens, vests– even leg warmers, all of which are handmade in Vancouver. The company’s dedication to local business has led them to collaborate with the likes of the Canucks and Canadian brands Skull Skates and Sitka (skateboarding and surf gear, respectively). We asked Hirano about joining the family business and keeping things local.

How did the company get its start? Were your parents knitters?

“My father actually worked for a bicycle company and moved to Manitoba from Japan to manage a store. When he got there he noticed everyone knitting because it was so cold, and picked it up himself. My mother had a textiles background, and he figured combining their two skills would be a good idea. The Granted line technically started with their business in 1978.”

How has the Granted brand changed since you took over in 2007?

My parents were more focused on gift shop items for tourists. Now, we are really focused on the local customer. The production of our garments are the same, we still produce the same intarsia knits but the sweaters now have a slimmer, ‘modern’ fit. The branding has changed as well—we really want to emphasize that we are a genuinely Canadian brand, using traditional methods.”

Where is the knitting actually done?

“It’s all done in Vancouver—we have 30 or 40 knitters that knit our product for us. The wool is from New Zealand because you can find the best wool there.”

What about the zipper pulls?

“They’re made from salvaged yew branches from [Vancouver] Island. Each pull is individually cut, and each one is different in size, texture, and color. They’re very durable and unique.”