The Brands from Scotland Yarn.


“Scotland: The land of a thousand knitters. Or at least, we used to be.”

It might not be the most appealing tourism slogan, but the truth rarely is. With cheaper prices and shorter lead-times lying further to the East, countless brands have exported their knitwear production to Asia, leaving many Scottish factories without enough orders to stay afloat. The knitwear industry reaches back to the late 1700’s, when the first framing guides arrived in Scotland allowing craftspeople to churn out their fine knits at a faster pace. Scotland once had over two thousand knitwear manufacturers, today that figure is closer to a couple hundred, if that.

What makes this story all the more depressing is that these “companies” were often little more than small-town cottage affairs. Local economies have suffered, artisans have been forgotten, and a once proud craft has been shrunken down to a novelty. Sadly, with a greater global focus on high-quality menswear, the demand for Scottish knits is higher than ever. Those manufacturers that have endured, have done so because they’ve been able to adapt to the demands of the contemporary, worldwide market. The field is certainly smaller now but it’s more innovative than ever, and so here are our five Scottish knitwear brands to know. For now and (hopefully) for the next hundred plus years to come.

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Johnston’s of Elgin – 1797

WilliamLocke WilliamLockie1

William Lockie – 1874

Scott1 Scott

Scott & Charters – 1955

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Harley1 Harley

Harley of Scotlan -1929

Comments on “The Brands from Scotland Yarn.

    Jay on December 17, 2014 12:10 PM:

    No love for Howlin?
    Belgian company and all, but I think the stuff actually comes together in the right place.

    Spider on December 19, 2014 2:49 AM:

    I’ve bought 3 items from Howlin this year (2 Scottish and one Irish made), really great quality for the cost. Very Impressed.

    Also bought a Harley jumper, it was considerably courser than the Howlin lambswool jumpers.

    Missed out on a Johnston’s shawl collared cardigan that they made for in limited numbers Wingtip, lambswool too…

    Anyone have any experience with Berg & Berg (made by Johnstons)?

    Matthew Pike on December 19, 2014 4:21 AM:

    Johnstons for me are the big cheeses. I visited their woollen factory in Elgin a few months back, so many stories within those walls.

    Johnny Boy on December 20, 2014 2:42 AM:

    I should feel guilty, for as a Scotsman I know none of these brands. In truth, I think big woolly jumpers are no longer the garment of choice for most men when the cold weather comes around. As a young man, Pringle and Lyle & Scott were popular. Pringle’s prices these days help influence my decision to spend money elsewhere…

Comments are closed.