Massimo Nicosia
Massimo Nicosia

As Pringle of Scotland turns 200, look out for the opportunity to design your own piece of knitwear. Who wouldn’t like to customise their own pullover, tartan tanktop or argyle twinset?

To shed more light on the iconic brand, Wanted caught up with Pringle head designer Massimo Nicosia, who is based in London.  

How do you honour the 200-year-old tradition behind the brand? I learn from and am constantly inspired by Pringle’s past and traditions in order to work on the new. My aim is always to continue not to repeat. This year we celebrate an important anniversary for Pringle and I have been working with the Pringle 
team on activities that honour this 200-year birthday. First of all, I worked on a special Pringle of Scotland 200 Years Anniversary collection. It is a project which incorporates three collections; it is almost a trilogy that started with Women’s Pre-Fall 2015 and ended with the Men’s and Women’s shows.

I worked on knitwear as outerwear and texture blocking; I mixed artisanal old techniques with the more innovative and current ones I have been coming across, blurring the lines between knitwear and woven. Secondly, we worked on the A/W 200 Year Anniversary campaign shoot with the legendary Albert Watson featuring portraits of Stella Tennant and Luke Treadaway, laid out alongside images captured by Albert Watson of the Isle of Skye.

Thirdly, we presented Fully Fashioned, an exhibition tracing the Pringle
heritage, curated by Alistair O’Neill, which was previewed at the Serpentine Gallery during London Fashion Week and has now officially opened at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh. Fully Fashioned explores the continuing relevance of knitwear to the modern wardrobe and shows Pringle’s journey from a small hosiery firm making undergarments to an international fashion knitwear brand known for outerwear.

Not to forget – Pringle will launch the first ever online application whereby all our clients are invited to design their own Scottish cashmere style – ranging from the classic twinset to the iconic argyle jumper. We are partnering with Lane Crawford on this programme, called Deconstructed, which will go live in June. Lane Crawford, with a series of luxury department stores in Hong Kong and China as well as a global online store, is China’s first luxury omni channel fashion retailer.

As Pringle turns 200 years old, how do you keep the brand fresh and relevant? It takes more, working with a heritage brand, than just working from the archive. Being retrospective and nostalgic isn’t my approach, I always experiment and I work within media, technologies and silhouettes which are relevant now.

You have access to the extensive Pringle archives. How does this influence your design? The archive is a place for memory in the most dynamic and inspiring sense. I play with argyles, tartans and knitwear, moving the designs, techniques and shapes forwards.

How do you incorporate 21st-century technical innovations in the Pringle garments? I enjoy the combination of incongruous elements mixed together: artificial and natural, past and future. The most traditional noble cashmere yarns and stitches are combined with 3D print weaving. I am experimenting with “moulding-knitwear” with the help of a hat maker, using moulding and memory-form.

What impact does your architectural background have on your fashion design work? Everything you have learnt and experienced influences your aesthetic. Sometimes people comment about my “architect’s thinking”, but I never reference architecture directly. A designer’s vision is the result of “experiencing” in general: travelling, reading and browsing any form of visual art. The Pringle of Scotland 3D printed range is available exclusively from Pringle in Hyde Park Corner, Johannesburg, 011 325 5089. To design your own Scottish cashmere style in June, go to lanecrawford.com

© Wanted 2016 - If you would like to reproduce this article please email us.