The Pringle Archive Project 1815-2011

Luxury knitwear doesn’t get more iconic than Pringle of Scotland. The heritage company, founded in 1815, has recently collaborated with London’s top fashion school Central St Martins.

In recent years, the tradition-focused brand has been updated with vibrant colour and modern cuts, first by Creative Director Claire Waight Keller and then by former Balenciaga designer and recently appointed Creative Director Alistair Carr. Still faithful to the brand’s traditional roots, the updated offerings have proven a hit and this most recent collaboration encapsulates Pringle’s unique take on modern heritage.

Pringle of Scotland has an established collaborative relationship with CSM: earlier this year, BA Fashion History & Theory students were involved in the archive project researching and cataloguing the company archive at Pringle HQ in Hawick. Supervised by course director Alistair O’Neill, students examined archive pieces, images, printed memorabilia and British Pathe footage and held a delightful ‘Day of Record’ where 300 local residents brought anything Pringle-related along.

The creation of the brand’s iconic Argyle pattern and popularisation of the twinset are key moments not just for Pringle but for fashion generally. The knitwear’s growing reputation is charted via the long-time association with women’s sportswear, especially golf, and the endorsement of the Royal Family. The findings of this research are currently on display at the Pringle of Scotland 1815 – 2011 Exhibition with a fascinating selection of photographs. It really showed how fashionable and youthful the brand was in the 60s and 70s at odds with the prim and proper connotations the label has tried to shift in recent years.

CSM MA Fashion students were asked to design a capsule collection of knitwear based on the archive findings for the second part of the project. Five students’ designs make up the collection of womens and menswear. Although the students worked independently, there is a sense of continuity to the collection: students enjoyed experimenting with the twinset and argyle print. The collection is certainly true to Pringle of Scotland’s roots, reinterpreting the archive in a vibrant and contemporary style.

The collection by MA students is on tour as a pop-up shop around the country and is currently housed on the second floor at Harvey Nichols Edinburgh until Wednesday 24 August – if you haven’t seen it yet then I’d strongly encourage you to go along. A fascinating exhibit of the brand’s unique history, it is encouraging to see such a show of support to emerging talent.

Beautiful archive pieces

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