December 2019

Timeless luxury. Effortless style. Our exquisite products may be uncomplicated to style and wear but a great deal of time and craftsmanship goes into the production of each piece. In this predominantly digital age, it's easy to lose sight of the skill and personal touches that go into making the highest quality clothing and accessories. Exactly how many hands does it take to make a Johnstons of Elgin product?

Our experienced designers draw inspiration from all over the world to create elegant, practical and durable designs. We balance contemporary creations with snippets from the past, often reimagining patterns from our archives with a modern twist. We use the world's finest fibres to bring these designs to life, and as many as 33 people can touch them before they become a finished product for you to take home and enjoy.

© Jamie Ferguson (@jkf_man)

From fibre buying to dyeing and carding, through to weaving, finishing and packaging, around 33 people are involved in the manufacture of a single scarf, rug or stole and between 32 and 37 people contribute to the production of a single jumper or cardigan. The devil, as they say, is in the detail.

Our soft Merino Wool fibres are sourced from Australia while our Cashmere comes from China, Mongolia and Afghanistan. Our fibres are quality checked before they reach our wool store, meaning four people have come into contact with them on-site before they are dyed. We have more than 7000 colours in our repertoire, and our dye house team continues to create new recipes every season. From the dye house, fibres make their way to be dried before going to the teasing department to be blended and oiled. Fibres are then carded, spun, twisted and wound. From here, they enter the yarn store. So before the yarn is woven or knitted, at least 13 people have already been involved in the manufacturing process.

The next stage of the fibre's journey depends on the end product. For woven items such as scarves, stoles and rugs, the following steps are warping, tying and drawing before a product is woven and inspected. Inspections take place on a perch where the length of an item is checked, and backlighting allows the inspector to highlight any flaws. Fringed pieces go through the purling process before the three-stage wet finishing process, before blowing, stenting and pressing take place. Further inspection happens before items are cut and folded. Embroidery, when it's called for, takes place last and is meticulously performed and checked.

© Jamie Ferguson (@jkf_man)

Jumpers are knitted and examined before seaming, bartacking, and further examination takes place. Collars are cut, linked and sewn by hand. Further examination takes place before they are pressed, measured, folded and packed. Cardigans undergo additional processes such as the marking, creating and sewing of buttonholes.

© Jamie Ferguson (@jkf_man)

While we continue to invest in innovative technologies, such as Whole Garment Technology, which allows us to create entirely seamless clothing, many of the techniques we use are still carried out by hand, with skills that have been passed down through generations. In a world where fast fashion surrounds us, we are proud to take our time, providing our customers with distinctive designs of excellent quality that are made to last. How many hands does it take to make a Johnstons of Elgin product? Perhaps a few more than you imagined.

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