Pringle of Scotland

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Pringle of Scotland is a luxury knitwear manufacturer and importer. The brand is worn by the likes of Madonna, DB7 (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.

History

Robert Pringle established 'Pringle of Scotland' in 1815 in the Scottish Borders but none of the company’s knitwear production takes place today at their factory in Hawick they do not manufacture any of their garments as they are out-sourced to other knitwear factories. Initially the company simply produced hosiery and underwear but Pringle 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 signature Argyle 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 1990’s; however, they were forced to cut back on many stores and franchisees due to their overly rapid expansion strategy.

Throughout the 1980’s and 90’s 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 was bought by Hong Kong-based S.C. Fang & Sons Company, Ltd. 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, and a brand vision and strategy was put in place to re-establish 'Pringle of Scotland' as an international luxury fashion retailer.

Fang reportedly paid £6 million for the ailing firm, which was losing around £4.5 million per year. The Fangs have so far invested almost £35 million in Pringle. Kim 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 'Pringle of Scotland' and 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. 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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