Made in Scotland
Back in chilly November 2017 Bronwyn and I flew up to Bonnie, Scotland. We were on our way to visit one of our manufacturers Harley’s of Scotland. Family run since 1929 in Peterhead, Aberdeenshire, Harleys is one of the few knitwear factories left in the UK, specialising in high quality knitwear made with luxury yarns.
Peter Harley began his career as a fisherman in the small town of Peterhead. Inspired by the need of good knitwear for freezing stormy nights on the boats, Harley began pursuing knitwear manufacture. While out at sea he visited the small Scottish islands such as Fair Isle and Orkney to experience and learn about the traditional techniques these small communities used and practised. Now run by Peter’s granddaughter Susannah, many of these techniques are still used in the factory today, including a seam free method which is used in our beloved snow jumpers.
Working with Susannah, we got to work, choosing yarns, shortlisting swatches and aiming to find the perfect hand feel for our jumpers for AW18. We combine traditional Scottish styles and give them a Lowie twist, working with Harley’s to come up with colours and yarn qualities in our own Lowie style.
Our lambswool snow jumper yarns are made by JC Rennie, a yarn producer just down the road from Harleys at Milladen Mill. This centuries-old mill is not just a large quaint farmhouse complete with a romantic water wheel. Inside humming machines relentlessly spin spools of colourful yarn to join the giant crates stacked all around. We were shown around by Christian, who enthusiastically explained the intricate mechanical processes to us by shouting over the noise.
I write this as I sit on a train from Delhi to Jaipur having been to the fabric markets of Old Delhi and now on to visit one of our manufacturers’ Sumiran in the Pink City. At Lowie visiting our manufacturers is so so important to us. Not only do we get to experience the amazing cultures and understand the ways of life for the people who are so integral to Lowie, we also gain an invaluable insight into the many different craft and artisanal possibilities by going straight to the source.