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jonathan saunders x lyle & scott pass with flying colours

From the Scottish mountain eyries to the city streets below, Lyle & Scott’s Golden Eagles always stay fly and now they’ve been given four new colours by fellow kinsman and print-prodigy Jonathan Saunders.

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Moving away from the usual blue, white and red, Glasgow-born Jonathan’s given the 140 year old British menswear brand ‘a migraine’ of acid oranges, blues, reds and greens. Splashing made in Scotland knitwear, classic Lyle & Scott polo shirts and golf Harrington's with polka dots and diamonds, it's a jesters dressing up box of fun and fashionable heritage. We catch up with Jonathan post LC:M to talk Pet Shop Boys, Oasis and the wrong way to wear argyle…

How are you, are you feeling less stressed now the men’s shows are over?
No, much more stressed! It’s Pre-Fall today. We’re shooting it tomorrow and just finishing it now, so it’s going to be a bit of a late one but it’ll be alright, we’re used to it.

What were your initial references for the Lyle & Scott collaboration?
Well, I love the idea of the brand anyway. It’s a bit of an institution, especially where I come from. It was basically looking at the framework of the designer collections and the product that they are iconically known for and then decorating it or colouring it up in an interesting way. I think it looks unexpected for the type of clothes that they are. That was it really, it wasn’t over-intellectualised or anything, just colours! I think the argyle pattern is so signature as well. It’s always good to take something that’s traditional and re-colour it, you look at it in a different way.

How did you choose the colour palette?
Because it’s quite a classic line, I thought it would be nice if it had a bit of… a migraine! It wasn’t really connected with my men’s collection as such, in terms of aesthetic. It kind of connected more with my love for electronica and the Pet Shop Boys and Peter Saville and all those things.

How do you do Scotland in a fresh way?
It’s not exactly rocket science what I do, I just look at something and try to make it in an unfamiliar way - those acid oranges and greens and all those clashing colours together, using the argyle and mixing it with stripes and polka-dots - it makes it look like a different type of pattern, takes it away from that familiar context, that golf-iness of it. It’s not difficult to work with, the type of cut and I wanted to keep it like that. They work with great quality yarns, the product is really good quality and the diamond print came from the argyle, a derivative of it, more abstract and more simple. I suppose it’s just working from what you’ve got.

Did you used to wear Lyle & Scott when you were younger?
Yeah, I mean all the hot boys at school had Lyle & Scott, it was quite cultish in a way. I associated it with music because it was Blur and Oasis when I was at school and that was part of the uniform. I was obsessed with The Stone Roses and Ian Brown used to wear Lyle & Scott sweatshirts and stuff, so for me it was just cool.

Were you one of the hot boys at school?
Me? No! I was fat, specky and religious.

But you still wore Lyle & Scott!
I squeezed myself into it, yeah.

Do you think there’s a right way to wear argyle and a wrong way?
Well you know, you don’t want to match do you? You don’t want to actually look like a golfer. You know what though? Never say no! I don’t think there’s any ‘wrongs’ with anything.

Do you think the typical Lyle & Scott man would also wear your collaboration with them?
I think he’ll buy parts of it and it opens it up to another type of person as well. I get sick of looking at all those things- colour and pattern and print - and I often can’t bear to make the decision of what to wear in the morning, so I’m often surprised at how bold people do buy into my own menswear line. I’d like to think that people will buy the stronger pieces within the collection. I think that menswear in general at the moment is looking really interesting because the consumer wants something that stands out and is different. They’re fed up of generic stuff and it seems to be that they’re buying into more interesting pieces so I hope that that carries through to this collaboration.

Did you feel any constraints because it’s such a well-known heritage brand?
Well they’re such a lovely team there, they’re really open to new things. This is the first collaboration we’ve done and it’s quite a small capsule. We tried a few different things out but they were absolutely kind of ‘do what you want,’ so that’s always fun.

@SaundersStudio