Pringle sale cramps style of cashmere

Hilary Clarke reports on the fears of Scottish producers of the luxury fibre

CASHMERE was a hit again on the catwalks of New York last week, but the brand most associated with the luxury fibre in Britain, Pringle, came under the spotlight for a different reason.

Edinburgh-based Dawson International hopes to cash in on the acquisitive appetites of international luxury goods companies like Gucci and LVMH by putting its ailing Pringle brand up for sale.

Dawson hopes the brand, which industry insiders say could now be worth as little as pounds 5m, will raise the necessary capital for it to invest in its other cashmere businesses. In fact, Dawson has been quietly winding down Pringle's cashmere products and the bulk of its sweaters are now in lamb's wool - although the fortunes of the famous diamond-patterned v-necks have also suffered.

Even so, manufacturers of cashmere knitwear around the Scottish border town of Hawick are concerned that the publicity surrounding Pringle's sale will cast a further cloud over smaller manufacturers of the luxury fibre.

This is despite a dramatic fall in the price of cashmere wool and the adoption of lines in the luxury wool by mid-market US international clothing retailers like The Gap and Banana Republic.

Scottish manufacturers have, along with cashmere goat farmers in the Third World, been hit by the recent trade spat between the European Union and the US. The US threatened to impose punitive trade sanctions on a series of European luxury goods items, including Scottish cashmere, because of a dispute over the EU's regime in the international trade of bananas. The industry has also suffered from the crisis in the Asian economies, which took a heavy toll on the luxury goods sector, and the rise in sterling, which has made British cashmere goods expensive in Europe.

"It is easy to tar Hawick with one brush, but in Hawick there are a number of companies which specialise in producing cashmere sweaters. Despite difficult market conditions and a strong pound, we, for one, are in good health," said David Sanderson, deputy managing director of the Hawick Cashmere Company, which makes sweaters for international designers such as Calvin Klein and Celine.

He said small specialist cashmere companies had gained an edge because they have adopted the latest knitting technology. The Hawick Cashmere Company has recently expanded its factory and has just opened a shop in Geneva.

Dawson wants to use the money raised from the Pringle sale to invest in its core cashmere businesses such as Ballantyne Cashmere and Barrie Knitwear. In the statement announcing the sale, Dawson said that while "market conditions throughout the cashmere chain of businesses remain challenging", cashmere prices should increase in the second half of the year.

This is because despairing cashmere goat farmers in China and Mongolia have been slaughtering their animals for meat, which in turn has led to a squeeze on supply.

peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
New Articles
i100... with this review
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
footballTim Sherwood: This might be th match to wake up Manchester City
Arts and Entertainment
musicHow female vocalists are now writing their own hits
New Articles
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
Blahnik says: 'I think I understand the English more than they do themselves'
Arts and Entertainment
Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary Crawley in Downton Abbey
TVInside Downton Abbey series 5
Life and Style
The term 'normcore' was given the oxygen of publicity by New York magazine during the autumn/winter shows in Paris in February
fashionWhen is a trend a non-trend? When it's Normcore, since you ask
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Senior BA - Motor and Home Insurance

£400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: **URGENT CONTRACT ROLE**...

Market Risk & Control Manager

Up to £100k or £450p/d: Saxton Leigh: My client is a leading commodities tradi...

SQL Developer - Watford/NW London - £320 - £330 p/d - 6 months

£320 - £330 per day: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group have been engaged by a l...

Head of Audit

To £75,000 + Pension + Benefits + Bonus: Saxton Leigh: My client is looking f...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam