2017 was a busy year for Textiles Scotland. We began the year as the Scottish Textile and Leather Association, then had a look at our brand and decided a freshen up was in order. We partnered with Fiona Chautard to deliver two Trends Masterclasses. Alongside a fabulous team we took some of the best interiors brands in Scotland to London to showcase at Scottish Interiors: LDN. We delivered a seminar on Trade Shows and Selling Internationally with UKFT. We helped to round up Textiles Future Forum, and interviewed the projects. We continued to shape and run the Textiles Industry Leadership Group. We developed the Textile Showcase - the only searchable directory of Scotland's best textiles companies, complete with contact information. We took part in an expert panel discussion at XPo North. We ran innovation and skills sub-groups. And we continued to support our members with promotion, information, and assistance. There you have just a smattering of our activity from 2017.
Textiles Scotland would like to thank our members and supporters for a wonderful year full of creativity, passion, and bright ideas. We wish you all a prosperous and productive 2018!
Here are some 2017 highlights from our members…
Laura Spring received Creative Scotland Open Project Funding in February to fund the research and development of new work inspired by the Finnish form of weaving known as Täkänä. She then went on a collaborate with a Finnish weaver to produce a magnificent täkänä wallhanging using the ancient technique. In September Laura exhibited for the first time at Helsinki Design Week, sharing her work and research from the täkänä project. Laura also exhibited at Clerkenwell Design Week, designjunction, and Scottish Interiors: LDN. Alongside showing to global customers, Laura continued to teach people to print from her studio, including young people via The Glasgow School of Art's Widening Participation programme and Young Scot x CraftScotland.
MYB Textiles collaborated with John Lewis to produce bespoke madras fabric for their Spring/Summer 17 ‘Modern Rarity’ Collection. This Collection was inspired by the ethos of fewer, better pieces and offers a fresh take on wardrobe staples. The team were then excited to collaborate with renowned artist Clare Twomey. Together they created a bespoke lace panel to accompany Claire’s work exhibited at Tate Exchange, London in October – ‘FACTORY: the seen and unseen’. MYB fabrics also featured in Sofia Coppola’s film ‘The Beguiled’. MYB often supply the TV and film industry and their fabrics have appeared in productions such as Harry Potter, Downtown Abbey and Lincoln to name a few.
MacGregor MacDuff, the king of kilts, launched their Heritage Collection in September. The Heritage outfits are a celebration of Scottish history and allow for customers to choose their clan tartan whilst all clan crest accessories are sourced for them. As part of the launch, MacGregor MacDuff produced a podcast series covering topics from Scottish history, which were a roaring success.
Araminta Campbell launched her new wholesale MINTA collection of British Alpaca cushions and throws in 2017. The brand was also delighted to secure their first two Stockists in the USA. Read the feature their New York customer Studio Four NYC wrote about Araminta Campbell. 2017 was also Araminta's biggest year to date for her Bespoke tweed design service; with commissions underway from a diverse range of clients including a Whisky distillery, Saville Row Tailor, historic Scottish estate and luxury Highland Hotel.
Johnstons of Elgin
Luxury cashmere brand Johnstons of Elgin was named Family Business of the Year at the 2017 UK Private Business Awards. Commended for commitment to both craftsmanship and its employees, Johnstons was noted for product innovation, preservation of traditional techniques, and the conservation of increasingly rare skills. Generations of families have and still work at Johnstons of Elgin to create the finest cashmere and in its 220th year, the company still proudly use one of the last few vertical mills in the UK, carrying out all the processes from raw cashmere and fine woollen fibres right through to the finished products.
Iona Crawford has enjoyed success internationally since launching her eponymous brand, showing her fashion and interiors collections in Paris, Tokyo, London, Beijing and New York. In 2017 she successfully secured representation by Donghia Inc., which will see the Iona Crawford brand launch within their US showrooms in New York, Atlanta, Dallas, San Francisco, Las Vegas, and Chicago in 2018.
Don & Low
Don & Low, Scottish manufacturer of woven and nonwoven polyolefin technical textiles, agreed a multi-million pound deal with Reifenhäuser in 2017. The new investment will see the UK’s only spunbond manufacturer initially increase its plant`s capacity by 5,000 tonnes. The new technologies incorporated into this investment will broaden the company’s manufacturing capabilities, increasing its product offering, providing technical solutions to meet both future customer and market demands. “This investment will further cement Don & Low’s position as a technical leader in industrial markets,” the company says.
A’Nead Hand Knitwear
A’Nead Hand Knitwear, a spinning and knitting business based on the Isle of Eigg, spins cobweb yarn which is then crafted into unique fine shawls, stoles, wraps, scarves and fingerless gloves. In 2017 they began to run competitions to enable people without a large disposable income to own cobweb lace.
Woven in the Bone
Woven in the Bone, aka solo artisan weaver, Sam Goates, began successfully supplying cloth to some of the finest bespoke tailors on Saville Row and internationally in 2017. Sam creates handcrafted woollen cloth woven on a Victorian-designed foot treadle loom.
Olive Pearson Designs
Olive Pearson Designs launched her Scottish design STILL in 2017 - inspired by the copper pot still and distillation involved in the whisky making process that is a major part of Scotland's history and heritage in the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology. The unisex design can be made in all three standard sizes and is available in bespoke colours.
Malcolm the Weaver
Malcolm the Weaver engaged with Bahir Dar University in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and has formed a partnership to deliver Malcolm the Weaver children’s education books on colour, craft, textiles, and the environment. Now 4-8 year olds in Ethiopia are learning about Scotland, and Harris Tweed. Additionally, work is in progress for the book to launch in New Delhi and New York in 2018.
Kitty Mackenzie's limited edition tweed and cashmere scarves launched in the Cranachan and Crowdie gift shop on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile, and the Harris Tweed Hebrides shop in Stornoway, in 2017.
Meanwhile, Kitty has been working throughout 2017 on a new business proposal to establish a Scottish Textiles Visitor Centre in Edinburgh that will celebrate the story of Scottish textiles, showcase and retail high-quality, Made in Scotland products and be an educational resource for local, national and international audiences. Kitty’s team will continue to develop this exciting proposal in 2018 and beyond if you would like further information please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Textiles Scotland weren’t the only ones to have a rebrand last year! In 2017 Bute Fabrics unveiled their bold, stunning new website. Bute is famed for its woven, woollen upholstery fabrics for the corporate market. Although that remains a key part of the business, it now serves a range of sectors, including theatres, luxury home interiors, restaurants and hotels at home and abroad. Managing director John Glen said: “We needed our visual identity to reflect who we are – creative, bold, playful and contemporary fabric designers who work on a range of projects internationally. Our former website didn’t actually capture the true colours or textures of our extensive collection and so it was difficult for customers to understand what they were getting.” We love the new look.
Scottish Leather Group
SLG Technology, part of the Scottish Leather Group, was named Most Outstanding Business at the Glasgow Business Awards. The company, which was formed in 2008 to supply various support functions to the businesses within the innovative Scottish Leather Group, was also awarded in the Sustainable Development category. Additionally, SLG were commissioned in February 2017 by The Worshipful Company of Leathersellers’ to create a leather case as a gift to The Lord Mayor of London, Andrew Parmley. It was produced using Low Carbon Leather manufactured by sistercompany Bridge of Weir Leather and shows CNC perforated design using the latest precision cutting equipment. The Leathersellers’ and Parmley crests were digitally printed using a process by Andrew Muirhead. The result is a unique fusion of traditional leather making skills with award-winning sustainable leather featuring the latest design technology.
Nu Blvck, an emerging ethical fashion brand aiming to change the way people shop, launched their latest accessories collection - a collaboration with fellow Scottish cashmere label Johnstons of Elgin and Edinburgh-based embroidery designer Rosie Noon. This project successfully showcased Rosie's world class design and hand-embroidery skills by re-imagining some of Johnstons more classic pieces.
Be Fab Be Creative
BeFab Be Creative, online digital fabric printing studio, worked with Zandra Rhodes in 2017; using digital print to update one of her original designs for a bespoke dress. This process allowed Zandra to add colour combinations she wouldn't otherwise be able to achieve with screen printing.
Mairi Helena won the Bridgman Cushion Design Competition for the Chelsea Flower Show, and made the short list for the Amara Interior Blog Awards 'Best Company Blog' and the i-ON Breakthrough Awards in the Design Category. Mairi also exhibited at 100% Design during London Design Week, gaining contacts which lead to the specification of fabrics across a wide range of commercial and hospitality interior projects, including Premier Country Pub The Merlin.
We look forward to seeing what our members achieve in 2018.
words by Kimberley White