Behind the Brand: Oliver Crane
Where Edgy Ecosse meets Haute Couture…
At the Scottish bespoke clothing company, Tùsail, where “Edgy Ecosse meets Haute Couture,” founder and maker, Oliver Crane partners closely with his clients to produce eye-catching Harris Tweed® garments. Handmade in Scotland with an emphasis on quality and detail, each item strives to convey the heritage of the fabric, as well as the personality of the wearer.
We asked Oliver about his journey with handmade clothes, which he describes as being “in [his] DNA.” He harks back to his childhood and the time his mum made him a Paisley pattern shirt for a visit to London in the ’60s. He attaches the memory of this colourful shirt with the idealism of the era, describing it as a “push to break free from the dreariness of the previous decade.”
His next significant memory of handmade clothing was a gift of a bright-orange dressing gown, “given as a gesture in recognition for something to which words couldn’t be found.” These poignant descriptions are markers throughout his life, beautifully represented by the handmade clothes of the time. As Oliver says, “For me, handmade clothes are intimate. Cherished clothes connect us and others to our emotions.”
He goes on to describe his first experience of making clothing for himself: “I was sixteen when I embarked upon my first creation: a climbing jacket in thick fleece with a luxuriant collar to keep out the weather of Coire ant-Sneachda. That garment excelled in ‘form meets function,’ or simply put, it was well-made, looked great and kept me alive on an unplanned overnight in the Larig Ghru. Cherished clothes also have a story to tell.”
Fast forward to today and his creation of Tùsail, Oliver describes his garments as “quintessentially Scottish.” In order to form a better understanding of what this concept means to his clients, he asked the question: “What does Scotland mean to you?”. From the 300 replies he received, he gleaned the heartfelt connection that his clients have with Scotland and he translates this response into each piece he makes through the use of Harris Tweed® fabric, “a fabric that speaks of the land and its heritage.”
We asked about the designs of his garments and where the inspiration comes from for each piece. Oliver told us, “Our design inspiration comes from what we see and where we travel: Dad’s WW2 battledress top, alpinists of yesteryear, a row of shops on Edinburgh’s Morningside Road, the lights as you enter Stornoway harbour and crofters working the land” – an eclectic array of inspirations that we can certainly see reflected in his creations. Oliver sticks true to his ethos of Tùsail with each item he creates, which are handmade to order in Perthshire – in the heart of Scotland – and “individualised to capture the client’s personality, lifestyle and, of course, provide the perfect fit.”
Looking to the future, Oliver intends to keep Tùsail small-scale and intimate, keeping his line varied and surprising, whilst maintaining high quality products and service. He has designs for a “gilet for a summer evening around the campfire” and, more intriguingly, “for winter we are planning something gothic, inspired by a computer game and Edinburgh’s Old Town!”
On the subject of plans for the future, he poetically states: “Chan eil a-màireach air a ghealltainn. (Tomorrow hasn’t been promised yet.)”
We can’t wait to see what new and exciting Harris Tweed® items Oliver comes up with! You can keep an eye on all his designs using the links above.
Photographs by John Grieg