#MyArgyle - Fran Stringer

I grew up in the North East of England in the 1980s

I grew up in the North East of England in the 1980s and had two brothers who are quite a bit older than me. I was fascinated by their fashion because 80s style was so loud and bold. I loved observing what they and their friends wore. In my memories, they all looked so similar. When their mates came around to get ready for a night out, they’d all wear the same thing – loafers, stonewashed jeans, and a V-neck knitwear with a roll neck or polo neck underneath. And the V-neck was always Pringle of Scotland! They all had the same one, just with slight colour variations. They also wore lemon yellows and baby pinks, which were quite unusual colours for boys to wear at the time.

Pringle of Scotland was on my horizon then because my brothers and their friends were so loyal to it. But the big thing was the argyle. My brother’s pride and joy was a pink argyle V-neck sweater, which he wore with a white roll neck, tucked into stonewashed jeans. I grew up in a time when argyle was very much the pattern of street dressing and popular culture.

In those days, clothes were tribalistic. You wore them to be part of something: everyone stuck together!

It made a statement – to show what group you were part of, which football club you supported or what music you were into. Today is the opposite: everyone wants to look different in order to stand out. Perhaps it’s the idea of social media and how everyone can have a fashion ‘moment’ if they look unique. Then maybe you’ll get spotted! But there are still trends, there are still things that we all want to be part of. I think we still like to be part of something, really.

Those early fashion memories stayed with me my whole life because I looked up to my big brothers. So, when I arrived at Pringle of Scotland, it was quite a moment for me. I learnt about the thinking behind how people dressed. Did they want to fit in or stand out? Those real, conscious thoughts of fashion I had as a kid came full circle. And that idea of coming full circle is at the heart of this collection. That idea of street dressing, of referencing a subculture, has come back around again. It means a lot to me to be a part of that because I was a part of those original days.