The Cashmere of Hawick

A guided tour of our cashmere factory in Scotland

It’s no surprise that at Brooks Brothers we love all things Scottish. From tartan and tweed to single malt whiskey, so many of our favorites hail from the Highlands. Naturally, we welcomed the chance to visit and see just how our Scottish cashmere sweaters are fashioned.

Our guide, Ian McLeod, the manufacturing director at Hawick Knitwear gave us a behind-the-scenes tour of the production process. We discovered handcraftsmanship coexisting alongside modern manufacturing methods. What’s fascinating to note is that these Scottish traditions are being passed on to a new generation of makers. 

A Hawick sweater passes through no less than 20 pairs of hands before it is completed. The first belonging to the facility’s Millman, who is responsible for “wet finishing”. This part of the process is when water from the local river is used to wash the garments, opening the cashmere fibers, which imparts their trademark softness.

The hand-sewing area is where the sweater collars are closed with a needle and thread. This meticulous attention to detail and finishing cannot be replicated by a machine and is done only by professionals who train for over a year.

A Hawick sweater passes through no less than 20 pairs of hands before it is completed.

Garments are sent to a team of menders who repair a multitude of irregularities. In preparation for these scenarios, a mender uses contrasting colored thread to help track their stitch structure and ensure consistency of the overall weave.

Last step, a Brooks Brothers label is attached with our stamp of authenticity: “Makers and Merchants. 100% Scottish Cashmere.”

A symbol that is synonymous with quality, luxury and care.