Alan Scott, creative director at Johnstons of Elgin

I HAVE been creative director at Johnstons of Elgin for three-and-a-half years. My role covers all creative output and the design team – anything that is designed comes through my channels. Cashmere is incredible to work with. It is a luxury fibre and the level we are working at is the best of the best.

I graduated with a BA in fashion design from Kingston University in London in 1990. I went straight to New York that summer and submitted my portfolio to Donna Karan. She loved it and wanted to hire me on the spot. It was an amazing lucky break and I started working for her at 22. Within six months, I was the design development director for the menswear collection.

After seven years, I left to set up my own label. I moved to Milan and spent the next six years selling to luxury boutiques around the world such as Bergdorfs, Browns, Isetan and Harrods. During that time, I was consulting with luxury companies including Vestimenta, Trussardi and Loro Piana.

Following September 11, 2001, the fashion market imploded. We had a great clientele, but a lot of the buyers didn't travel that season. We found ourselves looking at an uncertain future. It was hard because we had built up this amazing company based in Milan, but it was costly working at the luxury end of the market. We made a tough decision to close the label, but it was the right one.

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I moved back to the UK in 2002 and went into education. I spent three years as the programme leader for fashion at Northumbria University. I also worked as an external examiner at Central St Martin's in London. I left education to go back into industry and worked with heritage brands in the UK, including Barbour and Joules.

I got a job with Aigle in Paris – a French outdoor brand that is a bit like Barbour – and spent three years commuting back and forth. I was recruited to join Johnstons of Elgin in 2016. I've had such diverse experience in my career and this opportunity rolled everything together. I knew I wouldn't find another company with the potential to be a leader and set the benchmark in luxury.

Johnstons of Elgin only works at the top end. To have a few pieces made from cashmere in a collection is a privilege but when you have your whole collection made from it? That is the unique selling point. We have so many different ways of producing it, from superlight tissue to heavier blankets and thicker, heavier weight knits.

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Starting to enter the market are our lightweight pieces that you can wear everywhere. These are not heavy pieces of cashmere; they are superlight things that you can put in your bag and travel with. Having superfine, lightweight knitwear could give us new markets in America, Asia and all of the hot countries where climate is a big issue and temperatures are going up.