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 Isles where he observed the traditional hand knit cottage industries and the striking regional patterning of Fair Isle sweaters. For centuries, fisher-folk from Shetland to Fife have produced knitwear for two main objectives – comfort and warmth.
Each sweater’s unique regional pattern 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, crafted for the harsh climate of the North East of Scotland. Sourcing old local spinners (still used today) with multi-hued dying processes gave 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 our business reopened in late 1945.
In 1968 Peter's son began to introduce his sweaters to overseas outlets who were delighted with the authentic quality Harley of Scotland provided as well as the unique softness created by carefully milling our knits in some of the softest water in Scotland.
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 garments of the highest quality.
In 2001 we became one of the few private Scottish knitwear companies to offer seam free production techniques to complement our traditional practices. The perfect unification of our classic knitting disciplines alongside forward thinking seam-free technology enabled us to utilise every fibre without the waste of cutting involved in fully fashioning.
Our proven record of producing the finest quality knitwear for 87 years, our ideas and inspiration, or our eclectic blends of the highest quality fibres, textures and patterns, and pairing our traditional techniques 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.
It’s our history of care and attention to detail, our traditional workmanship, personal touch and the quality of every single Harley garment that sets our knitwear apart.