Welcome to the second in the behind the brand series of articles, this time on Lyle & Scott. I wrote a lot about the reasons for this series in the last feature on Fred Perry, so I won’t go into it again, but I would like to reiterate just how important I believe it is to understand your clothes and the brands you wear. I feel that we should appreciate them as much for their heritage as for the way they look; just as history is important to many other fields; music, art or food, so to should it be for fashion and style and the way we dress.
That’s enough preaching for now, so we’ll get stuck on in. As with before, below is a quick look book to titillate your taste buds.
Lyle & Scott was founded in 1874 in the town Hawick (on the Scottish borders) by William Lyle and Walter Scott; initially they focused mainly on suitable golfing attire, chunky knitwear, outerwear and knitted hosiery but this changed during the 1920s and 30s to modern styles such as sweaters, twinsets and sportswear – thus drawing the brand slowly away from its sporting roots to the more lucrative fashion specific market. Unfortunately this change coincided with the Second World War and during a period of great post war austerity the British and European markets were greatly reduced, as a result much focus was placed on advertising in America, but despite the change in location this expansion only helped to solidify the brands place in clothing manufacture.
In 1954 they embarked on an ambitious collaboration with Christian Dior to create an exclusive range of cashmere sweaters with designs featuring scoop, square or collared necklines and subtle detailing. However, as with many British brands, they reverted to their sporting roots and became much more heavily involved in sportswear (golf in particular) and in 1968 they launched their first truly golf specific line. This collection was worn extensively by many golf pros such as Gary Norman and Tony Jacklin, as well as enthusiasts like Ronnie Corbett, who often sported sweaters bearing the now iconic golden eagle logo (introduced at the same time as the golf wear) in many Two Ronnies sketches. Lyle & Scott were now firmly entrenched in the public eye and their place was further secured when they received the Royal Warrant in 1975 from HRH the Duke of Edinburgh.
In the 1980s they had collaboration with Michael Kors (the American sportswear designer) but at this point the brand had stagnated. They had begun to solely focused on their golfing credentials, becoming a key feature in many major tournaments. The rebirth came in 2001 when they launched their heritage collection which updated and modernised their traditional patterns and clothing. This new range was much more fashion orientated, taking inspiration from the brands 125 years of history and making greater use of the now famous eagle to create a strong identity within the menswear market.
Major rejuvenation came in 2003 when they launched the vintage collection; still featuring the golden eagle as a bold moniker but focusing on bold and youthful designs; tapping into the strong youth culture of the time and maintaining a slimmer fit throughout. This new collection was taken up whole heartedly by many high profile musicians at the time, including the Arctic Monkeys, Kasabian and Pete Doherty – strengthening the brands status within popular culture.
2007 saw the introduction of the heritage line which favoured a much more traditional cut and style. This range featuring a much smaller and more tonal eagle logo, which helped achieve a more timeless and versatile range of quality clothing. Many of the items available in the range featured heavily in Channel 4s series Skins, ensuring beyond all doubt its place in youth fashion.
More recently the Club golfing range has been updated and refined, offering excellent sporting potential as well as effortless style with an eye catching green eagle logo. The archive line makes use of the rich history of Lyle & Scott, picking out strong designs from all their previous years of collections for limited production runs. These pieces include high quality finishing, and are definitely one for those that appreciate the heritage and story of Lyle & Scott.
Featuring the iconic golden eagle, the vintage line taps into strong youth and music culture to provide bold designs with a slim fit; perfect for making an outfit statement. With a much greater focus of traditional shapes and cuts with more subtle designs, the heritage collection is for those that wish to add some careful class to their outfits and not compromise on the quality:
Identifying with collections from the brands entire history, the Archive line offers up some very strong and stand out designs that really show an affinity with heritage.
For those who wish to remain sporty and stylish and still care about their brands, the sportswear line provides the perfect compromise between practicality and looks.
So there we have a Lyle & Scott behind the brand. I hope that it has raised your awareness or encouraged your interest in a very British and hugely iconic brand; I for one feel much more comfortable in my clothes if I know they have real heritage and presence. We should have pride in the clothes we wear and where they have come from; it will boost your confidence and show that there is more to your style than just a blind aesthetic image.
Let me know what you think in the comments below. Relay your feelings of Lyle & Scott and suggest brands for the next article in the series.
As this article is over a year old, the comments are now closed.
If you have a specific question about one of the points raised in the article, why not join our free fashion & style forum and start a thread? The FashionBeans community will always do their best to help you out, and our writers also frequent the forums regularly.
Alternatively, you can get in touch with us on our contact us page.