Scottish Textile News
Scottish fashion and textile businesses can apply to the latest round of Scottish EDGE, a competition aimed at identifying and supporting Scotland’s up-and-coming, innovative, high-growth entrepreneurial talent.
A live pitching final and awards ceremony will follow later in the year with up to 41 businesses expected to receive awards ranging from £10,000 to £100,000.
Scottish EDGE consists of three competition categories:
There are also special awards within the Scottish EDGE category for a creative business, (Creative EDGE), a social enterprise, (Social Enterprise EDGE), a circular focused business, (Circular Economy EDGE) and a commercial product-based business, (STV Growth EDGE).
The deadline for applications is 10th August.
Find out more and apply
An emerging fashion designer from Glasgow who honed her craft as part of The Modern Artisan, the internationally renowned collaboration between The Prince’s Foundation and YOOX NET-A-PORTER GROUP, has launched her first luxury womenswear collection.
Designed and manufactured by 25-year-old Nicole Christie in her home studio in East Kilbride, Ellipsis aims to slow the trend of fast fashion and champion the skills that are required to make high-quality, timeless and sustainable garments. Her elegant new ready-to-wear collection is made from 100 per silk sourced from within the UK and comprises dresses, tops, trousers and a jumpsuit. It also features hairbands made from leftover material, in line with the brand’s commitment to sustainability.
Nicole, who graduated with a first-class BA (Hons) Fashion Design and Production before gaining a place on The Modern Artisan, said: “Launching the first Ellipsis luxury womenswear collection is a dream come true for me and something I have been working towards for many years. I believe in creating beautiful products that will last and be cherished by the wearer for years to come. I set up the brand to create timeless and elegant garments and accessories which are all designed and manufactured in-house by hand to help strengthen the artisanal skills that have become lost in a mass production industry. I take pride in the fact that all my garments are made to the highest standards, with the finishing on the insides as important as those on the outside.”
Nicole was one of four British trainees to gain a place on The Modern Artisan, a unique training programme which aimed to strengthen textile skills training and equip trainee artisans in the UK and Italy with the skills and confidence needed to produce luxury apparel collections to the highest standards. The programme culminated with the launch of YOOX NET-A-PORTER for The Prince’s Foundation, a luxury capsule collection of sustainable garments which were designed by trainee artisans in Italy and manufactured by Nicole and her three fellow UK artisans at Dumfries House in Ayrshire. The collection debuted to 4.3 million customers across all four YOOX NET-A-PORTER e-commerce sites (NET-A-PORTER, YOOX, THE OUTNET AND MR PORTER) in November 2020, with profits from the sale of the collection donated to The Prince’s Foundation to support its charitable work. The collection was featured in the pages of Vogue and garments were purchased by customers from all over the globe.
Nicole said: “Being involved in The Modern Artisan was a life-changing experience for me. The programme helped me develop a deep understanding of the importance of sustainable fashion and the need for traditional textile skills such as hand-sewing, pattern drafting and the expertise to handle wool, cashmere and silk fabrics to be preserved. Training on the programme has given me the skills and confidence I needed to set up Ellipsis, which is inspired by what I learnt on the programme.
“I strongly believe that everything in life has a meaning and purpose. The name of my brand derives from the fact that three is my lucky number and an ellipsis is the set of three dots at the end of a sentence, meaning more is yet to come. Through Ellipsis, I hope to make a mark on the industry by proving that sustainability can be fashionable and that there is a big market for great quality garments, handmade in Scotland.”
To find out more about Ellipsis, and to view the new collection visit www.ellipsis.online
The UK partner for the @givebackcredit_ project co-funded by Creative Europe is looking for designers to take part in a residency programme this summer.
The residency is in Inverness (the Scottish Highlands), and Bihor (Romania) working with local artisans of heritage products (Scottish tartan, IA Romanian Blouse). Designers can apply for one of these residencies or both should they wish.
The concept is to work collaboratively with these heritage communities and textiles to create a collection that amplifies the culture, the makers, the production, and the location in an age where cultural appropriation is rife in design. The project is aiming to show best-practice in how to work with heritage communities. The project pays the accommodation, travel for the designer residency and the costs for making of the resulting collection.
As the fashion industry begins to shift towards a more sustainable future, it is important to recognise cultural sustainability as a key focus in this transition. “Give (Back) Credit to the Heritage Communities” aims to raise awareness of this issue and actively disrupt the practice of cultural appropriation in fashion, while promoting and preserving the specificity and skills of the craftsmen.
The project will assess the barriers that prevent the artisan communities being included and/or remunerated by the fashion industry when creating collections inspired by the traditional artefacts.
A special emphasis will be placed on the international legal framework applicable to intangible cultural heritage, and on the contemporary business models evident in the fashion industry that make accountability so problematic.
The closing date for applications is 8 July 2021.
Read more about the residency proposal here
The Northword project is calling for creatives to develop new products or works inspired by the heritage of Scotland’s Highlands and Islands.
The project has collected a bank of stories that celebrate the history, archaeology, traditions, folklore, landscape and environment of Scotland’s Highlands and Islands. They now invite creative practitioners to apply for one of eight £1700 grants to develop a prototype product or work with one of these stories at its heart. The possibilities are wide ranging and potential products include textiles, ceramics, crafts, jewellery, art, music, film, photography, dance and theatre. Contributions in English, Gaelic or Scots are all welcome.
Both the stories and the resulting products will then be promoted on a bespoke Northword website and app to an international market. Applications close on the 18th May 2021.
For more information and to apply visit https://cutt.ly/PcDYvhg.
Support for businesses to create new green jobs that contribute to improving the environment and achieving net zero emissions.
What is the green jobs call?
This is the first of a series of grant funding calls to help support economic recovery and stimulate the creation of new green jobs to advance Scotland’s net zero emission ambitions.
The £4 million green jobs call is part of a three-year £27 million package of green funding targeted for our new call programme. It will open to applications on Tuesday 18 May 2021 with grants from £50,000 up to a maximum of £500,000 being awarded on a competitive basis.
Supported through the Scottish Government’s Green Jobs Fund, the funding call is part of Scottish Enterprise’s wider commitment to supporting Scotland’s net zero transition that delivers benefits for the environment, people and economic prosperity.
What is the aim of the call?
The call aims to support business to create jobs that produce goods or provide services that benefit the environment or conserve natural resources and jobs that help drive more environmentally friendly processes in Scottish businesses.
Where can you find out more about the green jobs call?
Visit the Scottish Enterprise website to find out more about this call and the eligibility criteria.
Scottish Enterprise will be running webinars before 18 May 2021 which will give more information about the call and offer an opportunity for you to ask questions.
Click here to sign up to receive email updates about the call and supporting webinars.
UKFT Scotland and Scottish Development International are introducing 13 contemporary Scottish lifestyle brands to the Japanese market.
This showcase offers an inspiring blend of traditional craftsmanship, naturally derived organic products and contemporary Scottish design.
FIND OUT MORE
The Hardship Fund for Creative Freelancers in Scotland is reopening at 2pm on Tuesday 2 March 2021 and close at 2pm on Tuesday 22 March 2021.
There will be a total of £9 million of Scottish Government funding available.
The fund will be open to both new and previous applicants to apply for up to £2,000 through the online application portal. Full fund guidance, including edibility criteria, will be available from 2pm on Tuesday 2 March 2021.
Funding is available to support creative freelancers working in Scotland who are experiencing immediate financial hardship due to loss of income as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Immediate financial hardship means an inability to meet essential costs at the present time.
These funds are to support freelance creative professionals working in the arts and creative sector in Scotland. It is specifically for those who are experiencing immediate financial difficulty due to the loss of income as a result of Covid-19.
These roles include those whose work has direct creative outcomes as well as those who directly support the making and presentation of creative work.
How long does this take?
The funds are offered on a non-competitive basis and ask for minimal information, so awards can be made as quickly as possible.
If you have applied to the fund you can expect to get your decision within 6 weeks of the date of submission.
If you have been waiting longer than 6 weeks for your decision, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Visit the Creative Scotland site for further information and to download the fund guidance, FAQs and step-by-step application guide.
Find out more
UKFT is pleased to share the final draft of the new SVQ in Leather, Sewn Products or Textiles Manufacturing at SCQF Level 5 for Scotland. This follows the successful reviews of the National Occupational Suites in these sub sectors in 2019/20.
The original project was to review the existing two SVQs at SCQF Level 5 (Manufacturing Textile Products and Leather Production) and create a brand new SVQ in Manufacturing Sewn Products. However, the three separate SVQs were under threat following calls to streamline and rationalise training for the industry.
On behalf of and supported by the industry, UKFT has successfully managed to merge the three separate SVQs into one qualification with sub-sector pathways.
The final draft title, unit coverage and structure have been requested and endorsed by each Scottish sub-sector steering group, as well as being reviewed by SQA Accreditation.
Please see the attachments for the final drafts of both the new SVQ structure and title coverage alongside the Assessment Strategy for the fashion & textiles SVQs in Scotland with the Sewn Products sector added.
FINAL DRAFT structure for the SVQ in Leather Sewn Product or Textiles Manufacturing at SCQF5 08 12 2020.docx
FINAL DRAFT UKFT F and T Scotland Assessment Strategy 8th Dec 2020.docx
We invite the wider industry in Scotland to review the documents attached over the next month and share any comments directly to UKFT before Friday 8th January 2021 by emailing email@example.com
The SVQ will be submitted for approval to SQA Accreditation at the end of January 2021. Once accredited and the Awarding body secured, this qualification will be the main qualification within the existing Modern Apprenticeship in Fashion and Textiles ‘Heritage’ framework at SQCF Level 5.
We are looking for industry specialists to become External Verifiers for the Leather, Textiles and Sewn Products industries and work with the Awarding Body in this area. This is a paid role.
External Verifiers (EVs) are appointed by awarding bodies to ensure quality assurance. EVs check the accuracy of assessment and verification decisions ensuring they comply with national standards and awarding body procedures and provide a supporting role for centres. The full description is listed on pages 9/10 of the Assessment Strategy attachment above.
External Verifiers should:
If you or other colleagues fit the criteria as set on pages 9/10 and are interested in a potential External Verifier role with the Awarding Body, please contact the UKFT Director of Skills & Training on firstname.lastname@example.org
Simon Cotton is chair of the Scottish Textiles Industry Leadership Group, a board member of UKFT and CEO of Johnstons of Elgin
It’s only when the seas are rough and the winds are whipping in every direction, that you realise how strong the boat you have built really is. In this, most destructive year, we have found out that the Scottish textile industry is incredibly robust and resilient.
Even before COVID shook the world, the industry started 2020 with some serious headwinds. As a result of a dispute between Boeing and Airbus, completed unrelated to textiles, we faced 25% additional tariffs on Scottish wool and cashmere knitwear being sold into the world’s largest luxury market, the United States. To maintain hard-won market positions, most Scottish companies including Johnstons of Elgin had little choice but to absorb these stinging taxes.
As Covid-19 hit markets in Asia in the first quarter we saw, like many industries, sales fall in Asian markets and in important worldwide markets like London, Paris, Milan and Hong Kong, which have become increasingly driven by international shoppers from China and Japan. By March and April retail markets across Europe were shutting down and our own factories where forced to close. Despite government support, closed factories leak money in every direction and a buoyant industry, now found its bank accounts draining and its financial capital reducing.
Despite all these challenges the industry turned its attention to what it can do for the community. From making masks to providing scrubs free of charge for hospitals, health centres and care homes, every company looked to what it can do and put its shoulder to the wheel.
As lockdown continued and companies prepared to reopen safely the industry came together in the spirit of mutual cooperation which so often characterises how our industry deals with crisis. Ideas were exchanged and experiences shared on how to keep our craftspeople safe and provide reassurance while delivering the quality and service for which we are renowned the world over.
The pain of closed retail stores and reduced sales meant restructuring for many companies, including ours, was inevitable. In an industry where mills are so often intrinsic to the local communities these decisions were emotionally difficult, indeed painful. Where families and neighbours often work side by side, losing staff is particularly hard.
We now face a challenging winter. The spectre of a “no deal” Brexit brings with it the risks of duties under WTO rules, which would be the highest faced by any sector. The international businesses which we have built, exporting our goods to the top of every market in the world, mean our businesses will be challenged once more if a deal cannot be found.
At the same time other political decisions are adding new risks. The abolition of VAT-free status for sales to international shoppers will deeply damage the stores which we sell to and sell through. This decision, which will clearly reduce the revenues for HMRC, is hard to understand. At the same time, with our international trade shows closed, we have been denied access to the pre-approved funding support for the new, digital shows which have sprung up in their place. As frustrating and hard to understand as these decisions are, the industry will surely overcome these obstacles as well.
Why is the industry so resilient? The textile industry which remains in Scotland has been battle-hardened by almost a century of challenges. If we can carve out such successful global businesses against international competition where throw-away garments are frequently made in atrocious conditions, with scant regard for environmental conditions, then to be honest, we can survive everything. Normally privately owned, we have built our businesses for resilience, funded from profits rather than borrowing and committed to excellence rather than fast returns.
The future will bring its challenges. While our resilience has been proved again, balance sheets have been hit and deb incurred to survive this unprecedented challenge. With Industry 4.0 bringing unique challenges and opportunities, investment now is essential. We will look for the care and help of government administrations in London and Edinburgh to help us move into this “brave new world” even stronger and to take the opportunities which are within our grasp.
We now face a world which in so many ways has come to appreciate what we offer. We see consumers who care about sustainability and the way things are made. We see a renewed interest in ensuring that workers are paid fairly and treated with dignity. This new world is one set with challenges but also full of opportunities which we can and will embrace. Having seen how this industry has survived this bizarre year, I am more convinced than ever that it will move from strength to strength in the years that follow.
The Creative Scotland Hardship Funds for craft freelancers, distributed by the Crafts Council, re-opens tomorrow (Tuesday 10th November).
The first round was fully subscribed within a few hours after opening so if you think you might be eligible, find out more on the link below.
Hardship Fund https://www.craftscotland.org/community/opportunity/hardship-fund-for-creative-freelancers
This week is also the launch Craft Week Scotland, which will feature a series of talks throughout the week. Find out more here
Craft Week Scotland https://www.craftscotland.org/whats-on/event/craft-week-scotland-2020
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