Still, something must have rubbed off, because Scott ended up attending both the Philadelphia College of Textiles & Science (now known as Philadephia University) and the Scottish College of Textiles, part of Edinburgh’s Heriot-Watt University. In school, he discovered the object of his career affections: the knitting machine. “I became fascinated with it,” he says. “A lot of the students, they wanted to do beautiful cables. I was more interested in doing things that didn’t look nice. I was always trying to challenge the machine.”
After graduating, the now New York–based Scott spent a year selling his own fabric swatches to companies like Donna Karan and Calvin Klein before getting picked up by an accessories licensee for Ralph Lauren in 1997. He would eventually spend seven years there, working on everything from Polo and Blue Label to the designer’s main collection. A few years in, however, he began to feel the creative itch. “I learned a lot, but after the fourth, fifth year,” he says, “it was like, okay, here we go with the tartans again.” So, in 2001, while still working for Lauren, Scott began creating one-off accessories and selling them to city shops here and there. “I would get calls from stores [ordering more],” he says. “I’d have to figure out how to make them again. I didn’t even really remember.”
It wasn’t long before business grew and influential stores like Ikram, in Chicago, and Barneys New York began picking up the line. He left his other gig and in 2004 turned his attention to ready-to-wear. “We would have waiting lists,” says retailer Ikram Goldman. “I have customers who follow him religiously. It’s really unlike anything out there.” And, indeed, Scott doesn’t think twice about turning a pattern upside down or cutting up a vintage sweater into a new silhouette.
“I like to question what a shape can be,” he explains. “People can get so traditional when it comes to knitwear. I like free-form.” So much so that he blurs the boundaries between accessories and clothes. He pulls out one item that, at first glance, looks like a scarf. But it’s actually two long sleeves—arm warmers? a shrug?—connected by a strip of fabric in the back. “This is a sweater that’s lost its body,” he remarks wryly. You can tell he has fun with, and is amused by, his designs. He brings out another example: a shell top with metallic multicolor trim. “That was the ugliest yarn I’ve ever seen, this weird party Lurex, and that’s why we bought it,” Scott notes proudly. Of a wide flat scarf backed by nylon: “It reminds me of old pantyhose.”