Barrie taking cashmere to new heights
Barrie has to look at cashmere in “a completely new way” since being bought by Chanel.
The Scottish label has been producing fashion's most sought after knitwear since 1903. But when its holding company Dawson International went into administration in 2012, the company was saved by the French fashion house, and given a new lease of life.
“I think we have to look at cashmere in a completely new way, the days of making V neck and crew-neck jumpers are gone,” Barrie’s sales director Clive Brown explained to Matches Fashion. “Barrie has a long history of working with a couturier [and] we now have the advantage of our fabulous owners.”
The brand’s intricate knitwear designs are made all the more impressive by the fact that many are put together by hand. In fact one sweater can take up to 40 stages to put together, many of which are done by human hand rather than machine.
“People think we’re mad taking a pair of scissors to a £1,000 sweater, but wherever possible we want to keep this skill. We want as much hand work in the garment as possible,” Clive continued. “It takes a year’s training to get to our standard of cutting a V or round neck by hand, but they make it look easy.”
Barrie is also benefitting from having Odile Massuger on board as creative director. Her input is assisting in taking the brand into a new phase, while still honouring its heritage.
“[Odile] is helping bring Scottish cashmere to the forefront of fashion. We are aiming for a younger audience, but not forgetting our older customers,” Clive added. “Now as women enter their 40s and 50s, they don’t want to look like their grandmother did when she was 50. Women want to dress younger so we are giving them the opportunity to wear high-quality cashmere, which is an investment, but that is still in fashion.”