London / New York / Scotland
SHI has been a leader in alternative cashmere design for almost 40 years. SHI is singular in its relaxed femininity and understated modernity, with an instantly recognizable style: elegant, versatile and designed to flatter a variety of body shapes.
Founder Shayesteh Nazemi, known to everyone as “Shi,” started the company in 1980. Originally from Yaz, the oldest city in Iran, Shi left her country to study design at Central St. Martins University of Art and Design in London in 1964. During that time she was one of the only women at the school. Shi returned to Iran to create a line of silk jersey evening wear, however the 1979 Iranian Revolution forced her to flee the country with next to nothing. Through this difficult time, Shi was able to adapt and innovate, leading to a deviation from the norm that irrevocably altered the way one of the most luxurious fabrics, cashmere, is viewed and treated around the world.
With determination and vision, Shi was the first to change the shape of Scottish knitwear. Not one of the Scottish mills would produce for her because they didn’t like the new style she was designing. Rather than back down, she bought a mill housed in an old Scottish farmhouse and produced her first collection of her now iconic oversized draping sweaters in 1982. While initially deemed too “extreme” by the Scottish cashmere industry at the time, her sweaters were met with immediate acclaim, resulting in a revolution of cashmere as a fashion material.
The original mill is still in operation today, quietly producing the industry’s most sought-after knitwear. The knitwear is entirely hand-loomed and hand-finished (no algorithms) then processed with local Scottish waters, for a soft and dry touch that’s typical of exceptional Scottish knitwear. All fabric collections are produced in-house, supporting artisans by creating products the time-honored way, enabling new opportunities for the locals and helping restore pride in the Scottish and British textile communities.