Modern twist: Johnstons of Elgin

Johnstons of Elgin’s autumn/winter 21 menswear collection references its inspiring historical archive while utilising innovative manufacturing technology to create bold, contemporary designs

Style 24 Sep 2021

Honeycomb Ombre Roll Neck from Johnstons of Elgin
Chesterfield Coat, £995
The Reverse Jacquard Pattern Cashmere Jumper, £395

Founded in 1797, Scottish cashmere producer Johnstons of Elgin is proud of its rich Scottish heritage, with all stages of its manufacturing processes continuing to take place within its own mills in rural Scotland. Indeed, the thistle in the brand’s ‘wood cut’ logo shows its commitment to Scottish manufacturing, which remains at the heart of the company’s identity.

However, while traditional craftsmanship is still firmly engrained in Johnstons of Elgin’s DNA, the company has continued to push boundaries in its design and textile manufacturing processes, developing innovative technologies to improve the quality, comfort, durability, sustainability and aesthetics of its garments.

The overarching theme for the brand’s autumn/winter 21 menswear collection focuses on reinventing tartans and textures, reaffirming Johnstons of Elgin as a leader in the textile industry. Creative director Alan Scott looked back in the company’s archives to tartan check designs dating from the 1830s, and played with colours and proportions to make them more contemporary.

Johnstons of Elgin’s first mill began producing natural fibre flax, as well as estate tweeds for notable families in Scotland. When Johnstons of Elgin presented its collection at the Great Exhibition in 1851, it showed many of its traditional check designs created for estate families in Scotland, the colours of which are a reference point in the autumn/winter 21 collection, but they have been modernised to produce eclectic tartans in bright, saturated colours.

The Reverse Jacquard Sweater, for example, features an exploded large-scale tartan design with dark base colours such as charcoal and navy infused with shots of vibrant colour. The tartan pattern has been reversed and put into a jacquard, creating a vintage colour-block textile effect.

Another highlight of the collection is the tailored double-breasted Chesterfield Coat made in beautiful lambswool yarn. Sartorial yet easy to wear, it is warm yet incredibly lightweight, versatile enough to wear over almost anything to elevate even the most relaxed outfit. Available in Dark Tartan check and a Red Glen check, it features natural and sustainable water buffalo horn buttons, which add to its refined aesthetic.

While the seamless Ombre sweater is a heavy five gauge knit, Johnston of Elgin’s innovative manufacturing technology brings lightness to its structure, pioneering a textile construction that doesn’t normally exist in knitwear. With colour spectrums spanning Bordeaux and navy into emerald, and anthracite grey into silver, the sweater’s seam-free design is created using Wholegarment technology, which enables it to wrap around your body for a perfect fit and exceptional comfort.

Seamless pieces are also a more sustainable choice, as Wholegarment technology reduces manufacturing waste by eliminating seam allowances and by-product selvedge.

For its animal welfare initiatives, grassland preservation, fair work and reduction of manufacturing waste, Johnstons of Elgin’s unwavering commitment to sustainability was recognised with the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in the sustainable development category in April 2021, commending its 360-degree strategy around sustainability and its revolutionary approach to ethical manufacturing.

Even its super soft cashmere is natural, biodegradable and renewable. It doesn’t require washing as frequently as synthetic fibres, so it is guaranteed to last for many years.

From £99;