Pringle of Scotland
Pringle of Scotland is a luxury knitwear manufacturer and importer. The brand is worn by the likes of Madonna, David Beckham, Nicole Kidman, Sophie Dahl, Claudia Schiffer, the television character Alan Partridge and British bands such as The Kooks, Dirty Pretty Things and The Twang. The company has stores in London's Bond Street, Sloane Street and Bluewater Shopping Centre as well as in Japan and Taiwan and is sold by retailers in New York and Milan.
Robert Pringle established 'Pringle of Scotland' in 1815 in the Scottish Borders. Initially the company simply produced hosiery and underwear, and have been producing cashmere since as early as 1870. Otto Weisz was appointed as the first full-time designer in the knitwear industry in 1934. The twinset and the ancient-Scottish Argyle adapted pattern were designed under Weisz's creative direction, which became very popular with several celebrities and screen stars including Jean Simmons, Brigitte Bardot and Grace Kelly.
In 1967, 'Pringle of Scotland' was acquired by Joseph Dawson (Holdings) Limited, who were later renamed Dawson International Plc. The company pursued an international expansion program in the early 1990s; however, they were forced to cut back on many stores and franchisees due to their overly rapid expansion strategy.
Throughout the 1980s and 90s leisure and sportswear played a key role within the 'Pringle of Scotland' brand with top British golf players including Nick Faldo and Colin Montgomerie being sponsored by the group. It was during the early to mid 80's that Pringle become a household name on the football terraces and still holds a nostalgic place in the heart of the casual movement.
In 2000, the brand which was losing around £4.5M per annum was bought for £6 million by Hong Kong-based S.C. Fang & Sons Company, Ltd. This marked the end of production at the factory in Hawick and manufacture in Scotland, with all manufacturing outsourced to Fang's third-party suppliers in Asia. Some finishing still occurs in Scotland, to allow high-end products to be marked "Produced in Scotland".
Despite its slightly vulnerable position, Pringle gained a fresh lease of life in the new millennium, under the leadership of newly appointed chief executive Kim Winser, formerly of Marks & Spencer. A brand vision and strategy was put in place to re-establish it as an international luxury fashion retailer. Winser and Stuart Stockdale led the company's efforts to return to the high-fashion status it had formerly enjoyed, exhibiting at London Fashion Week with new designs based on the company's trademark twinset and Argyle pattern.
In 2005, both Winser and Stockdale left the company, and having so far invested over £35M Kenneth Fang handed over control to his children, Jean and Douglas Fang. By this stage sales had risen to almost £25m with losses running at around £8m due to the expansion. After Claire Waight Keller was appointed the new Creative Director, 2007 saw the introduction of a luxury accessories range. In 2009 the brand commissioned artist David Shrigley to produce a short film about 'Pringle of Scotland'.
In March 2011 ex-Balenciaga designer Alistair Carr was named as Design Director following the resignation of Claire Waight Keller.
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- "The lion prepares to roar". Drapers Record. 2 April 2001.
- Mills, L. (25 August 2005). "Winser's grand designs for the Pringle empire". The Daily Mail.
- "Pringle designer leaves". Vogue Online. May 11, 2005.
- "Winser to walk away from Pringle". The Scotsman. 23 November 2005.
- "Pringle rocked by loss of design chief". The Scotsman. 12 May 2005. Retrieved URL retrieved 6 November 2006.
- "Is Pringle the new Gucci?". Vogue.com. July 28, 2005.
- "David Shrigley Pringle Video". Knitwear.co.uk. June 2, 2010.