Swipe to spin

Autumn/Winter 2014/15


Cable knit wool, nylon

Pringle of Scotland, Hawick, UK

Follow the thread


Since his arrival at Pringle of Scotland in 2013, head designer Massimo Nicosia has pushed research and development in fabric innovation, collaborating with architect and material scientist Richard Beckett to create a series of 3D printed fabrics. 

The Autumn/Winter 2014/15 collection marked a defining moment as Nicosia adopted a material, haptic-based approach to design. He focused on the perception of fabrics using the sense of touch.

Nicosia explained his approach: ‘I was trying to create knitwear with structure. It was interesting to work with weaving knitwear, utilising old looms and weaving with traditional techniques. In a sense, it was playing a game between the past and the new, using techniques relevant in the first industrial revolution and embracing technologies that are preparing for the next revolution.’

Together with Beckett, who applied engineering principles to Pringle classics such as twinsets and argyle-patterned sweaters, Nicosia produced next-level knitwear incorporating 3D printed laser-sintered nylon fabric.

Micro-cut powdered nylon was integrated seamlessly into cable-knit cashmere, while diamond-shaped argyle patterns took on a three-dimensional structure with nylon elements stitched onto the wool.

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Social Culture

Pringle’s Autumn/Winter 2014/15 collections put technical innovation at the fore, with a series of 3D printed knitwear and fabrics never before seen in ready-to-wear. Previously only used for rapid prototyping, new technologies are now increasingly reflected in designs themselves as designers use non-traditional materials to evoke traditional techniques

Instead of hand-made and machine-made existing as oppositional forces, designers are exploiting the capacity of technology to refine, perfect and advance their craft. 3D printing opens the market for customising garments, reduces production time and eliminates waste, as the material is built directly from powder.

Although fashion is slower to advance in this field than the disciplines of medicine or architecture, early exploration into 4D printing – where objects are programmed to transform over time in response to a stimulus, becoming more flexible and useful – is pointing towards a future for fashion where clothes function differently.

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The 3D elements of this jumper highlight the textural nature of knitwear, reflected in Pringle’s collaboration with artist and photographer Roe Etheridge for the collection campaign. Etheridge’s unique visual language used lighting techniques to create contrasting shadows that showcased the textures of the garments.

Craft Skills

To produce fabrics that could move like traditional cloth, Beckett chose specific machinery with the capacity to build at high definition, creating the complex moveable nylon parts needed to keep the material flexible. The printed sections were handwoven into the knitwear through small hooks on the underside, or stitched on top of the wool.