Fully Fashioned: The Pringle of Scotland Story

Today I visited the exhibition Fully Fashioned: The Pringle of Scotland Story, celebrating 200 years of Pringle. Pringles of Scotland is an established fashion brand that has specialized in knitwear since 1815. The exhibition included original designs and garments from the 1800s up to present day. The clothing ranged from casual jumpers, to sporting outfits to underwear.

Original woollen underwear and drying board.
Original woollen underwear and drying board.

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Pringle originally produced knitted under garments for men and women, which were breathable, comfortable and warm. The thing that struck me when looking at the undergarments was that they were not at all what one would expect of woollen underwear: itchy, bulky and unflattering. On the contrary, Pringles woollen undergarments were delicate, soft and attractive. The revelation at the time was that Pringles undergarments  featured boning at the waist, knitted lace decorations, as well as having the option of built in ‘filets’ to give the impression of a bigger bust. A drying board was on display which explained after the milling process the garments were laid on it to control the exact size and shape they dried to.

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The exhibition then led you round to later garments, including the classic two pieces. These matching tops and cardigans have become iconic for the 1950s. Other designs from the 1950s included ladies woollen jumpers with diamonte decoration. These designs reminded me of designs from last year seen in highstreet shops. I find it very interesting how fashion comes back around.

Golfing jumper
Golfing jumper
Skiing outfit.
Skiing outfit.

As well as producing fashionable clothing for everyday use Pringle are also well known for their Golfing jumpers which feature the classic golfing diamond pattern. Another sporting outfit that was displayed was a Skiing outfit. The salopettes were made by another designer but the jumper was made by Pringle to be worn specifically with them.

One of my favourite features of the exhibition was the fashion illustrations and advertisments displayed beside the garments. The drawings were elegant and recognisable to the fashion of the time. The illustrations gave an idea of the design process. I really enjoyed seeing the vision of the designers in the illustrations being translated into the finished garments.

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Stuart Beaty, a designer for Pringle, said ‘Classical knitwear is and will be our statement of perfection’ (1971). This has clearly been the standards for Pringle since it was established. Pringles renowned style and quality has allowed the brand to last 200 years and change with the times. The quality is one aspect that has never been jeopardised since Pringles within the woollen designs.

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‘Winnie the what?’ by John Donegan

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The First Issue of Punch Magazine 1841

Punch Magazine Cartoons (1841- 2002) were notorious for covering political, social and current topics in interesting and persuasive ways. They published many talented Illustrators and introduced the term ‘cartoon’. The Punch cartoon archive is fascinating and acts as an important document of the years in which they were published. A common feature in all the Punch Cartoons is the humour. The Illustrator relays the message in a funny and subtle way, which relies on the viewer having a basic prior knowledge on the topic. This makes the cartoons very enjoyable to read as the humour takes a while to develop as the subtle joke becomes apparent. An exciting way to discover these illustrations is the Punch Cartoons greetings cards. This is how I have come across my personal favourite Punch Cartoon.

The Cartoon, ‘Winnie the what?’ by John Donegan, was published in 1987. The Illustration shows a family of huge grizzly bears lounging against a tree in a forest. The bear cub is talking to a small teddy bear exclaiming ‘Winnie the what?’. It is now you look at the little white bear more closely and make the connection that he is actually Winnie the Pooh. This cartoon is poking fun at the funny name of A.A Milnes bear, and requires the reader to have that knowledge.

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The drawing is done in ink and pencil and has a very quiet mood. This is created by using no colours, and the sleepy positions of the bears. There is very little movement in the illustration which adds to the awkward humour of Winnie being questioned about his name.

The composition and tone also reads well, left to right. You first look at the dark grizzly bears on the left, then to the text. Once reading the question you then look at the small pale bear, and making the connection of Winnie the Pooh, laugh. The use of light and dark to portray the characters is done cleverly. The big grizzly bears being dark and scratchy make them seem wild and rough. On the other hand Winnie the Pooh looks angelic and innocent as he is small and pale in comparison. The curving shape of the frame leads the viewer’s eye around the illustration in the correct order too.

This is a very successful cartoon which makes a very funny and sweet greetings card. The pacing of the humour is crucial to this cartoons charm and the illustration sets this pace perfectly.