‘John Laing and Sons’ was established as a family business in Scotland in 1831 by Major John Laing based in Hawick; the epicentre of cashmere country. John Laing is the oldest knitwear brand still being manufactured in Scotland today, and continues to be renowned for its cashmere knitwear quality and design. The brand initially specialised in fully-fashioned virgin wool ladies and men’s under garments and stockings (hose). John Laing witnessed a steady growth and expanded throughout the 19th century with an increasing reputation for manufacturing superior quality knitwear.
Continual growth for the business and the ‘John Laing and Sons’ trademark was registered. The garments remained fairly basic in this period, despite the major clothing fashion changes through the early Romantic, the Victorian and the Art Nouveau periods. John Laing and Sons primarily focused on hosiery around this era.
Women’s clothing became more relaxed by the start of the twentieth century, and the demand for knitted garments began to accelerate. By the early 1920’s and 1930’s, John Laing was manufacturing fully-fashioned knitwear garments, predominantly for sale within the UK to meet an increasing demand for stylish products of the most superior quality.
John Laing began to increase their export sales in the late 1940’s, with Directors and sales staff spending many months travelling abroad. Consequently, the reputation for superior quality knitwear quickly spread, despite the slow means of communication available at the time.
The brand expanded into two new markets in the 1980s; the USA and the Far East. John Laing put emphasis on their superior cashmere knitwear garments, all expertly designed and manufactured by a highly skilled workforce in Scotland. This decade established a relationship with the John Laing brand and the USA customers.
John Laing continued to work with high-profile designers including Calvin Klein, manufacturing a cutting edge cashmere collection. This collection was launched with significant approval at the New York catwalk shows. Knitted cashmere and silk underwear and ‘bodies’ were developed for Fogal of Switzerland in conjunction with the innovative underwear designer Walter Stangel; reminiscing on how John Laing began life in hosiery.
John Laing was acquired by Barrie Knitwear.
Barrie Knitwear, and therefore John Laing, are major suppliers to couture and designer houses. The business was purchased by Chanel in 2012. Again, the focus remained on the product styling and superior quality. The financial strength and design influences in which Chanel has brought to both Barrie Knitwear and consequently John Laing, offers stability and business growth opportunities. The business set up a training school in 2012 to ensure that the key hand-skill operations used in manufacturing the garments are retained and increased. The training school now has 18 young people, and continues to grow to ensure the future for what is a very..Read More