In a year when online engagement was everything, 2020 saw Johnstons of Elgin harness the power of storytelling. A rich, authentic 223-year history and continuous investment in technology gave it plenty to talk about. Making cashmere and fine woollen goods since 1797, their unparalleled craftsmanship, thirst for innovation and commitment to sustainability became ever
more relevant, as consumers re-evaluated what was important. ‘Quality over quantity’ was the lesson of the year, as many embraced a simpler approach to life. Less became more – both practically and in sustainability terms – with a few well-made pieces taking precedence over extended, disposable wardrobes. Home became a haven, tempting customers to invest in luxurious loungewear, blankets, fabrics and throws. Johnstons of Elgin’s Send Your Love campaign recognised that customers wanted inspiration, with many eager to treat those loved ones whom they were unable to see. This warm sentiment hit just the right note and still resonates strongly. In troubled times, the understated elegance and sumptuous softness of the designs exude a feel-good factor that’s made for sharing.
Johnstons of Elgin remains proud of its exquisite collections, made in its own Scottish mills, among them Britain’s last remaining vertical woollen mill. It understands that, in a post-Brexit world, ‘Made in Scotland’ will remain synonymous with outstanding quality and products made to last. Johnstons of Elgin embodies ‘slow luxury’, taking time to create designs with longevity, using the world’s finest fibres.
Chairman Jenny Urquhart uses the term ‘modern heritage’ to describe the balance between history and innovation that exists within the business: ‘Whole Garment Technology means many of our products can now be made without seams for increased comfort. We can also create extremely lightweight products from cashmere and Merino wool,’ she says.
Spring/Summer 2021 focuses on Innovation and Craft, while Autumn/Winter’s fashion collection explores Tartans, Textures and Twist, taking customers on a sensory journey back to their textile roots. The senses are woven and knitted into every piece; fluidity, drape and layering are key. The comprehensive collection, including knitwear, clothing and accessories, exemplifies the brand’s expertise. A lifestyle loungewear edition understands the recent shift in our sartorial needs, and incredibly soft fibres evoke confidence and elegance.
Luxurious designs for the home include indulgent cashmere fabrics and throws in beautiful hues and much-loved textural herringbone designs – not forgetting the essential classic checks for which the brand is renowned. Cashmere and fine wool composites ensure fabrics and throws are durable, insulating and sensuously soft. 2021’s new lambswool fabric Tempo, inspired by the colours, peaks, rock patterns and granites of the Scottish mountains, focuses on texture and large-scale patterning.
In the fight against Coronavirus, the company produced scrubs for local hospitals and primary care centres in Elgin and released 350 limited-edition rainbow scarves with proceeds from each sale going to NHS Charities Together. ‘Businesses and individuals faced unprecedented challenges last year,’ says Urquhart, ‘but in 2021 heritage, craftsmanship and innovation are our strength at Johnstons of Elgin.’