Peter Harley, inspired by the beauty of the coastline and his experiences as a fisherman, established Harley of Scotland, originally as 'Glenugie Knitwear' in 1929. Whilst at sea, Peter would visit Orkney, Shetland and the Fair Isle where he observed the traditional hand knit cottage industries and the striking regional patterning of Fair Isle sweaters. For centuries, Scottish fisher-folk from Shetland to Fife have produced knitwear for two main objectives – comfort and warmth.
Each sweater had a unique regional pattern that also served as an informal means of identification for fishermen, as they ventured around the turbulent waters of the North Sea. This inspired Peter to create the premise for his venture – Fair Isle knitwear using super soft light yarns in stunning arrangements of colour, pattern and texture. These garments had the additional quality of being crafted for the harsh climate of the North East of Scotland and it's beautiful coastline yet savage climate. Sourcing old local spinners (still used today) with multi-hued dying processes, he found a way to give a subtle yet beautiful tonality to his garments.
1938 to 1945
The enormous repercussions of the second world war obviously had huge implications for everyone in Great Britain as Peter and many others in the textile trade were called up for service to the country. Knitting was subsequently put on hold and business reopened in late 1945.
In 1968 Peter's son began to introduce his sweaters to overseas outlets who were delighted with the quality and authenticity Harley of Scotland provided, as well as the completely unique quality and handle, created by carefully milling our knits in some of the softest water in Scotland, the North East.
In 1973 Glenugie became Harley of Scotland and we started making knitwear for the USA, Canada, Japan and many European outlets
In the 1980's we began to design for a range of high end labels and retailers worldwide. Our investment into new yarns and technologies demonstrated our unrelenting commitment to producing heritage garments of the highest quality.
In 2001 we became one of the few private Scottish knitwear companies to offer seam-free knitting techniques to complement our traditional practices, providing an unparalleled comfort and fit. The perfect unification of our classic disciplines alongside forward-thinking seamless technology also enabled us to utilize every precious wool fiber without the waste of cutting involved in fully fashioning.
We now have a long established record of producing the finest quality knitwear spanning a period of 89 years. Favoring ethical production, professionalism and commitment to timely delivery, we are as valued for our conscientiousness as our design, quality and heritage, Pairing our traditional Scottish knitting with highly sophisticated technology ensures the perfect balance between old and new.
Once you’ve experienced a Harley of Scotland sweater, you will agree that we offer the finest quality Scottish knitwear available.