This one goes out to all those who have ever tried and failed to customise their own clothes – those who ill-advisedly lopped off the hem of their jeans or attempted home dye jobs. To those who thought they could play designer, a saviour has arrived in the form of a 200 year-old knitwear company. Pringle of Scotland has released their Deconstructed project, which lets the general public loose, allowing them to customise knits. Using an interactive website, streaks of unwieldy creative genius are (thankfully) constrained by the choice of two different jumpers – the classic argyle pattern and the twinset. Picking the primary and neon colours is where the game begins. Nine steps and six weeks later the jumper arrives. It’s all the joy of tie-dying your own t-shirt but the benefit of paid professionals delivering the finished product.


Susanna Lau in her jumper

Blogger Bryan Boy modelling his work

When the argyle style was first created in the 1920s, the Duke of Windsor immediately began wearing the jumper whilst the twinset was lifted from the golf course and teamed with a string of pearls. But for modern day inspiration, industry influencers are on hand to demonstrate the possibilities; the bloggers, Susanna Lau (aka Susie Bubble) and Bryan Boy. The editors, Italian Vogue’s Carla Sozzani, Because editor and Tank fashion director Caroline Issa, GQ’s Dylan Jones, Stefano Tonchi of W magazine, Shaway Yeh of Modern Weekly and fashion director of Modern Media Tim Lim. There are the creatives, Manolo and Kristina Blahnik, Russian model and socialite Elena Perminova, model and photographer Johannes Huebl along with photographer Albert Watson, actor Luke Treadaway, and Nick Wooster, who has worked for major retailers and is renowned for his personal style. Then there are the illustrators and artists David Shrigley, Sandro Kopp and Yi Zhou. Not forgetting Pringle’s regular campaign face, Tilda Swinton.

Behind the scenes sits the Pringle of Scotland designer Massimo Nicosia, watching the experiment unfold (he also joined the famous names in designing his own jumper). “Everyone wants to play the designer game,” explains Massimo. “I think it is interesting that Pringle had the idea to celebrate 200 years with Deconstructed.” How does he feel about the jumpers created so far? “Some of the styles come with bonkers colours!”

Over the past three years “Bespoke” has emerged as fashion’s buzzword, fulfilling customers desire to find ever-more exclusive products. Stamping initials and naming every accessory is commonplace now, but handing customers the tool to control more is an even greater jump into the bespoke world, and a move for a company whose name to the general public still evokes ideas of tradition and heritage. The way bespoke jumpers are made has remained largely unchanged since the company was first founded in 1815 by Robert Pringle but with this project, says Massimo, “Pringle is embracing something very new, we are trying to approach the digital consumer rather than the traditional customer.”

In the Hawick factory in the Scottish Borders, the idea of designing something in nine steps on a computer is, for those who have worked there for decades, considered to be an eccentric exercise says Massimo. For him, novelty and innovation are at the heart of what he wants to develop at the company. His recent collections have embraced 3-D printing techniques, mixing the technology with traditional ways of making knitwear. Massimo's approach along with the arrival of Deconstructed is little by little, a sign of life again in an industry whose demise has been much lamented. And, inadvertently, it's saving us from costly wardrobe DIY disasters.

Watch how the jumpers are made below and scroll through the slideshow to see the influencer's designs.