Tuesday, October 23, 2018

The 221-Year-Old Brand Showing at London Fashion Week

With the exception of Burberry, legacy brands aren’t commonplace in London. London Fashion Week glorifies the aforementioned emerging talents who dominate headlines with their creative outbursts and undiluted expression. But, in between the Matty Bovan and Xiao Li shows in September, two veritable newcomers, the Johnstons of Elgin presentation was thronged with guests sipping champagne and indulging in a serene summer scene at the luxe Waldorf Hilton, Aldwych. 

Johnstons of Elgin turned 221-years-old in 2018. The Scottish cashmere clothing brand outpaces the collective years of hordes of emerging talent dotted around London during fashion week.

“It is an honour to return to London Fashion Week for a second season,” said creative director Alan Scott. “This unique collection, lovingly made in Scotland, retains our signatures of textile expertise, craft, and tailoring.”
Photo Credit: The Upcoming

In terms of ideas or creative responses to the state of global affairs, the fashion pack won’t flock to Johnstons. But that’s not the point—they’ve outlasted a myriad of designers: the show serves to communicate the brand’s message to the social media. 

Scott designed twenty looks for the presentation inspired by Ischia, the Italian island. It convincingly belonged to the leisure class and their yachting proclivities. It contributed to the escapism trend which swept the spring collections but it didn’t break new ground. He kept things light and airy in a seasonless effort which strived for mass-appealability. There were fishnet knits, draped gowns, and elegant swimwear. For the men, there were citrus-coloured polo shirts in cashmere silk and bomber jackets.

The brand manufactures its cashmere at their mill in Elgin, Scotland, on the banks of the River Lossie. The knitwear is created in Hawick, Scotland. Of course, like many other brands, there was the sustainability proviso. They collaborated with the Sustainable Fibre Alliance, a non-profit organisation working with the cashmere supply chain.

Perhaps they could lend their expertise to the upcoming labels at London Fashion Week. Engaging with emerging designers and assisting them with production could bolster their credibility amongst the younger generation but also boost brand profile in the digital age. 

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