A tour of Barrie Knitwear in Scotland

Chanel two-tone cardigans
Chanel recently added Barrie knitwear to its Paraffection family in October. The Hawick-based cashmere business has been an integral part of Chanel's knitwear output, producing the yarns for the likes of its iconic two-tone cardigans
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Middle of production for Chanel cardigans

Wallpaper's visit to the knitwear manufacturers was well-timed, as they were in the middle of production for one of the classic Chanel cardigans for the brand's Spring collection

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The highly-skilled factory workers

The highly-skilled factory workers in action

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Walter Barrie and Robert Kersel opened a factory in Hawick

An archive photograph of Barrie Knitwear. The business was established at the turn of the 20th century, when two local entrepreneurs Walter Barrie and Robert Kersel opened a factory in Hawick with the aim of manufacturing fine knitted hose and underwear

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Middle of production Chanel cardigans for the brand's Spring collection

The business was established at the turn of the 20th century, when two local entrepreneurs Walter Barrie and Robert Kersel opened a factory in Hawick with the aim of manufacturing fine knitted hose and underwear

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Image of colourful threads

A kaleidoscope of colourful threads

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High quality cashmere

As well as its production for Chanel, Barrie Knitwear also manufactures high quality cashmere for other couture houses. Chanel's acquisition of the company will not affect Barrie's partnerships with these other luxury brands

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The hand-work process of knitwear

The hand-work process that goes into the making of a piece of knitwear is incredibly intricate

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Chanel's knitwear output

Situated in the Scottish Borders, the Hawick-based cashmere business has long been an integral part of Chanel's knitwear output

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The Bently Cotton, described as 'a priceless piece of machinery

The Bently Cotton, described as 'a priceless piece of machinery' by Chanel fashion president Bruno Pavlovsky

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Machine work in progress

Machine work in progress on the Bentley

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Washing stage which purportly softens the cashmere and rids it of chemicals

The all important washing stage, which purportly softens the cashmere and rids it of chemicals. There are standard timings, but the garment is constantly checked by experienced hands, which can tell if a specific product needs more or less time in the washing machine

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A technician checks the cardigan

A technician checks the cardigan over after the washing stage...

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A technician checks the size or quality after a wash

... testing stringently for any imperfections in either size or quality after a wash

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Cardigan a final press

A technician gives the Chanel cardigan a final press

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Employee checks the measurements and details

Another employee checks the measurements and details of the finished creation. Production quantities vary across the different products, but there would be approximately 1600 cardigans made in this particular style

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Bundles of threads

Traditional expertise and craftsmanship are very much at the fore of Barrie Knitwear

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The hand-cutting of v-neck cardigans

The hand-cutting of v-neck cardigans requires great skill, requiring years of training before a first cut is attempted

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Shelves full of threads

Shelves full of threads

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Measuring of button spacing

A tool designed for the measuring of button spacing

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Employee of the Barrie Knitwear in Scotland

Chanel's acquisition of the Scottish artisan house secures the jobs of its 176 employees

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Snowy landscape outside the Barrie Knitwear

The snowy landscape outside the Barrie Knitwear factory

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Photo of the finished cardigan

A Chanel label completes the finished cardigan

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Fashion Features Editor

Jack Moss is the Fashion Features Editor at Wallpaper*. Having previously held roles at 10, 10 Men and AnOther magazines, he joined the team in 2022. His work has a particular focus on the moments where fashion and style intersect with other creative disciplines – among them art and design – as well as championing a new generation of international talent and profiling the industry’s leading figures and brands.