As a designer, Margaret Klein, was familiar with ‘classic’ styles and included them in her collections. The inclusion of ‘classic’ styles also suggests that she understood the needs of her customers and the skills of her workforce. Margaret Klein demonstrated that she could create popular garments using simple stitch variations, which made them quicker and easier to produce and, therefore, less expensive to buy. The inclusion of these familiar and ‘saleable’ styles may have been a commercial move that could have proved profitable for the company.
Styles 037 and 040
Margaret Klein’s awareness of the popularity of the Aran pattern encouraged the project to include three of her Aran designs. All were used for different garment styles, and the Japanese Aran (Style 040) denotes a garment especially designed for the Japanese market. Although the knitting patterns for Aran garments were clear, each would have taken longer to knit than many of Margaret’s other fashion garments. We know that she paid her home knitters more when they knitted her Aran designs. See Margaret Klein’s take on the popular Aran style and learn more in the project report.
The Jennifer Top
The Jennifer Top (Style 726) was originally created in collaboration with Jennifer Mellor, the Manager of the Bernat Klein shop in Galashiels from 1976-1981. Mellor requested a thin garment to wear on top of her shirt while working on chilly days, and Margaret Klein created this simple design in mohair. It soon became one of Margaret Klein’s best-selling designs. It was also the one of the least expensive items in the Bernat Klein collection, which might also explain its popularity. The volunteers found the pattern easy to follow and its simplicity probably meant that Margaret’s home knitters found it quick and easy to knit.
The Argyle pattern is an instantly recognisable motif on a garment thanks to its diamond shapes. During the 1980s, Margaret was aware of a resurgence in popularity for the Argyle pattern and included it in one her designs, Arygll (Style 852). Rather than using it as a complex overall pattern, Margaret used it as a simple decorative border. This illustrates Margaret’s ability to recognise wider fashion trends and align them with the Bernat Klein aesthetic. The volunteers found the pattern relatively easy to follow, but the colourwork for the motif meant it took longer to knit, which would have made it a slower design to produce.