To understand what makes Barrie different from other luxury cashmere brands, you have to understand its history. The manufacture is located in the small town of Hawick in the Scottish borders. One hour and a half drive south from Edinburgh into pure magnificent nature, meadows, sheep. The magnificent Scottish landscape postcard we all have in mind.
Barrie was founded in 1903 on the banks of the Teviot river and developed a unique savoir faire throughout the years. It is really after the second world war that cashmere really started to be used: instead of being a wool based product, it became more oriented towards the luxury market. Barrie started to work with Chanel in 1984, one year after Karl Lagerfeld entered the company. Since then, the brand has gone from strength to strength and has become a reference in the field. In 2012, Chanel acquired Barrie and became part of its “Métiers d’Art”. In 2014, Barrie was launched as a fashion luxury cashmere company highlighting the exceptional craftsmanship. The creative studio is based in Paris led by Augustin Dol-Maillot.
Clive Brown, Sales Manager at Barrie, based in Scotland, who has been working with Barrie for more than 30 years explained: “we would like to push the boundaries of what is possible with knitting”. “ We have significantly developed techniques like 3D for example. A lot of things we have done here or the machines we have here, nobody else in the UK has them or has the ability to make the program.” “Our technicians revisit our program and software”, he added. How far can Barrie go to make the brand unique? Clive Brown answered that even in Europe, there are a few machines but nobody uses them the way Barrie does. So then, it seems clear that buying a Barrie cardigan or sweater is a true investment, meaning that a Barrie piece is a link between Mongolia, Scotland and Paris, between history, creativity and eco-responsibility.
Since 2015, Barrie under Chanel has set up a large scale project to ensure the quality and traceability of the raw material coming from Upper Mongolia. Now, it is totally transparent to retrace the exact origin of each fiber of each lot and where it comes from. A cooperative of three hundred and sixty herdsmen breeders has been created, trained and educated to protect and respect the animals and humans living from these herds. Who else apart from Chanel could make this happen?
Inside the manufacture in Hawick, traditional and high technology machines are handled by machine operators who definitely remain essential in the creation process. Collars, buttons, each detail of assembly and finishing is done by hand.
When you buy a Barrie piece, you also support a community in Mongolia and Scotland who respects nature, humans and animals, soil and water through their traceable process. Barrie is a rich and timeless garment to wear all year round, to pass onto your loved ones in the future.