The Elemental Collection: Traditional Scottish Textiles

As the Elemental Collection celebrates the harsh diversity of the Scottish elements we take inspiration from the traditional textile techniques that have graced the protective layers worn by generations of families in Scotland for three intricate new designs and a gorgeous new Sea Island Cotton warp.

Lace and knitwear are inextricably linked with their Scottish origins, so when examining traditional textile techniques our gaze naturally fell on these heritage crafts. From this inspiration grew Croft, Sono and Lace: three new designs created for the Elemental Collection.

Scottish Sunrise Warp

Our stunning Sea Island Cotton, Scottish sunrise warp is inspired by the ever-changing Scottish skies. This warp runs from lilac borders through pink and blue tones for a comforting fade – reminding the wearer of the bright mornings which come as Winter melts into Spring.

This warp is woven from 100% Sea Island Cotton making this Boutique run of wraps some of the most wonderfully silky we have produced. Grown and handpicked exclusively in the British West Indies, Sea Island Cotton is made up of long fibres which give a gorgeous shimmer and an outstanding strength. This is the most luxurious cotton available, perfect for creating gorgeously delicate, beautifully soft and shimmery wraps. This warp is the ideal counterpoint to the lovely simplicity of our all-cotton Amethyst Haze warp, providing a new dimension to the Elemental Collection.

Drawing on Traditional Textile Techniques

Knitted jumpers are evocative of comfort and warmth; the nostalgia of childhood combined with a contemporary charm.  Growing up in Scotland, a knitted jumper was not only a necessity for keeping warm on long family walks but also an expression of love. Each garment was weeks of painstaking work – mixing multiple coloured strands into distinctive geometric patterns.

Evonne, one of our designers, says:
“My own knitted jumpers came every year on my birthday and at Christmas from my maternal grandmother. My cousin, my brother and I each received matching patterns in different colourways – only as an adult did I realise just how much work went into the jumpers.
Most Scottish people I know have similar tales of beloved, itchy homemade jumpers – even children’s book characters Maisie the Cat and Katie Morag are usually depicted in them. My childhood jumpers were knitted in Aran or Icelandic styles but Fair Isle knitting is arguably the style most associated with Scotland. The Fair Isle style is versatile; used with neutral colour palettes it is evocative of post war Britain or through combining contemporary shapes and colours Fair Isle is kept alive and continues to thrive today. ”

Croft Cocoon

When considering the essence of Scottish textile design in shielding us from the elements, there is one tradition that truly stands out. Fair Isle is a small island to the North of mainland Scotland – part of the Shetland Isles it is home to around 55 people, some of whom continue the tradition of hand and machine knitting with the intricate motifs which have defined a Fair Isle knit for hundreds of years. Our model Hazel-Ann, who lives on Shetland, told us that her going-away outfit as well as her wedding favours & cake topper were made in this iconic style!

 

The fame of Fair Isle has spread far and wide – the distinctive pattern is so iconic that the very name Fair Isle has become synonymous with the idea of a cosy jumper – used around the world for knitted jumpers regardless of their origin. The geometric charm of Fair Isle has ensured its enduring appeal throughout the fashion world: from Channel to high street stores, throughout many generations.

Hazel-Ann spoke of the competitive pride the people of Shetland have in their own knitted creations – but also of the fierce joy they feel when they see Fair Isle motifs being used around the world. We wanted to harness everything Fair Isle means to us here in Scotland, to create a pattern which draws on the tradition of Northern Scottish knitting – paying homage to the tradition emanating from the Shetland Isles in two new designs. The first of these is Croft.

One other Fair Isle inspired pattern will be released in the last phase of our Elemental Collection, however on this warp we continue our celebration of traditional textile techniques, with Lace and Sono, both of which draw on generations of learning and craftsmanship to honour the history of Scottish-made lace and, of course, the ever-popular cable knit.

Sono Luminescence

Sono Luminescence is the result of our exploration of traditional knits – the enduring comfort of a cable-knit jumper is replicated in a gentle texture of this undulating pattern. We have taken the key elements of this familiar knit and added in a sprinkling of Oscha innovation to create a hypnotising and contemporary looking pattern. The raised texture of this fabric has a powerfully comforting effect, the textured surface of this wrap which not only provides excellent grip but reminds the wearer of the comfort of their favourite cosy jumper.

Lace Cocoon

Decorative lace has been made in Scotland for hundreds of years, handmade lace was the product of small, cottage industries. Craftspeople took inspiration from the fashionable trends of our European neighbours to create ever more ambitions creations from the 16th Century onwards. With the introduction of the Nottingham Lace Looms in the early 20th Century, Scottish Lace became a cornerstone of the craft industry in Scotland – with lace in demand for everything from curtains, soft furnishings and clothing the industry boomed. Lace is still made in Scotland, with Morton Young and Borland still weaving today in Aryshire – their innovation in the 1900s securing their position as a leader in lace making.

Lace Cocoon takes the essence of many different styles of lace to create a pattern evocative of vintage tea rooms, delicate home furnishings and turn-of-the-century wedding dresses. We looked at the many examples of vintage Scottish-made lace from the Glasgow Museums Collections in order to create a pattern which captures the intangible comfort of lace with a contemporary twist.

Our Elemental Collection will continue to grow over the next few weeks as we add more familiar designs to this Scottish sunrise warp. The last, exclusive fade from this Collection, along with one more design inspired by the timeless motifs found in Fair Isle knitting patterns, will be previewed soon …

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