As the nights draw in, the notion of curling up with a good book and the crackle of a log fire hold a certain allure. The Danes even have a name for this – ‘Hygge’. And while the term has become all too familiar in the mainstream, in fashion, there’s still something to be said for the feel of a luxurious knit. On that front, Scottish cashmere brand Johnstons of Elgin have this season all wrapped up.
Alan Scott, who took over the creative reins earlier this year, can be credited with putting a more fashion-forward spin on things. With an impressive design pedigree spanning 27 years, he successfully launched Donna Karan menswear in the early Nineties. Other career highlights include consulting for Italy’s Loro Piana and for Barbour here at home.
Next year, the family-owned business celebrates it 220th anniversary so what better time to quiz Scott on what makes him tick and how he intends to drive this historic brand into the future.
BSN: Where does Johnstons of Elgin sit in the international luxury landscape?
A.S: Johnston of Elgin is an incredibly important player in the luxury market, currently producing private label collections for many British, Italian and Paris-based luxury brands. We are also keen to develop the Johnstons of Elgin own brand and keep our social responsibility in our manufacturing sites healthy. It is vital to keep British knitwear alive and on the map by having a broad business model.
BSN: Please describe the current A/W 2016 collection.
A.S: The A/W 2016 collection takes inspiration from nature, landscapes and foliage and colour combinations that are very ‘Scottish’ in style. Figurative accents in jacquards are presented next to traditional tartans using colours such as fern, granite, Bordeaux and navy.
BSN: Are there any upcoming collaborations or exciting new projects that you can share with us?
A.S: We are looking at showcasing our interior collection in Liberty this Christmas and are currently working with Lock Hatters as well as many private label collaborations with designers and department stores that help to grow our brand awareness.
BSN: Where is home for you these days?
A.S: I live in Scotland, on the snow line up on Ben Aigen. My home is 500 metres above the River Spey with the most incredible view down the valley and is about 15 minutes from our Elgin mill.
BSN: You are also an accomplished artist. What do you paint?
A.S: I have always drawn since I was a child and have used this gift throughout my fashion career. I still need to draw everything even today. It’s a great way to give original communication and illustrate ideas and concepts. At home, I love to relax and paint in oil. My subjects are usually equine and my paintings are always hyper-realistic. I love to create paintings that make people look twice.
BSN: How will you steer the brand into the future?
A.S: This is a very special opportunity for me to fuse all of my experience with this fantastic company. I intend to develop and drive new business and customers by moving the brand forward using our heritage and history to inspire new technology and innovation in all products within the collection.