Scottish Textile News
An innovation and business networking event for companies interested in fabric technologies is to be held at the Mountain Bike Centre of Scotland in Peebles in April. The event is being organised by the Textiles Future Forum to “help convert ideas into real, commercially viable opportunities.”
The event will be in a speed-pitching format and will help start-up and existing businesses obtain funding, work through design issues, solve manufacturing problems and gain market intelligence.
Subjects to be covered will include:
The event will be held on Thursday, 21st April.
It has starred in Downton Abbey, featured in Hollywood films and been worn by pop royalty like Jess Glynne.
Now three fashionistas are on a mission to take Scottish lace to the heights of cool couture by showcasing the traditional textile on catwalks from Madrid to Hong Kong.
Scottish designers Judy R Clark, Mairi McDonald and Elizabeth Martin have already made waves in the fashion industry in recent years with their independent labels.
But despite having their own distinctive styles, all were drawn to the 19th century heritage of Ayrshire’s MYB Textiles mill, the only producer in the world still making patterned lace on original 100yearold Nottingham lace looms.
Judy R Clark
Judy has been working with Scottish lace for the last four years.
“It all started with mixing tartans, tweed and lace and having loads of fun with it,” she says, sitting in her Edinburgh studio surrounded by swathes of fabric.
“It was making Harris Tweed and Scottish cloths feminine which hadn’t really been done for a long time because people were associating it with square boxy itchy fabrics.
I went to visit the mill and I just fell in love with it. Just to see people weaving it and making it it’s pretty incredible.”
With a string of awards to her name and clients like Emeli Sande wearing her work, Judy launched an alllace collection inspired by Victorian silhouettes at Milan Fashion Week in 2015.
“I like all the historic pieces,” she says. “Anything that is over the top and dramatic, I’ll probably fall in love with it straight away. You can turn your hand to any fabric as long as it’s good enough. Clients come to me and they want that lace because it is made here. They love the connection. I think people are appreciating it more.”
After training and working in London, fashion designer Mairi knew Glasgow was the right place to launch her label in 2013.
Her brand has a rock ‘n’ roll vibe inspired by iconic female musicians like Janis Joplin, Chrissie Hynde and Patti Smith.
And even Grammy awardwining singer Jess Glynne popped into her Trongate studio to find out about more about her work while in town for the MTV EMAs.
Countless hours of research goes into each collection, but when Mairi discovered Scottish lace for the first time she immediately fell in love with its effortless feel and felt like it was meant to be.
“I had never heard of Scottish lace,” Mairi says, while picking out her favourite pieces.
“I liked the cotton lace from Scotland because it was quite day to night, quite dress up or dress down.”
Having shown consecutively at both London and Paris Fashion Weeks, it’s not just Mairi who is a fan of Scottish Lace, with the two bestselling pieces from her first collection featuring the fabric.
“Fabrication is such a key thing,” she says. “Everything has to be perfect, everything has to work well. Essentially, I am always mixing lace with silks and chiffons and ribbon details.
It is how you put it out there and what you put it together with that I think makes it really stand out.
I think if you are doing it in a new contemporary exciting way, and really changing the viewpoint of how people perceive particular Scottish fabrics.”
Elizabeth’s love of fashion stems from her grandmother, a keen seamstress who was always making clothes.
Beautiful fabrics have always caught her eye, having spent over a decade working in soft furnishing. Four years ago she decided to jump into the world of fashion and has never looked back.
“I decided I wanted to use specifically Scottish fabrics and they had to be made in Scotland. I am still strong on that,” she says.
“Their [MYB] lace is exquisite and has a heritage and provenance which Harris Tweed has as well.
“People like a story. We all like a story.
“I thought that would be a brilliant idea to make up some designs using lace but trimming with Harris Tweed.
“I thought it was a lovely combination .The cream or black lace with a pop of colour.
“It is a hidden gem.”
Earlier this week, Elizabeth joined MYB Textiles at Scotland Re:Designed as they flew to Hong Kong to promote Scottish fashion and textiles to a global audience.
MYB’s lace designer Margo Graham says it is the perfect platform for the fabric and makes for an exciting chapter in the mill’s centuryold story.
Having started work in the lace industry when she was 17, Margo followed in the footsteps of her mother, a lace designer, and her grandmother who was a darner.
The mill, which has brought its 100-year-old looms into the digital age by connecting them up to special design software, has seen its lace feature on the sets of hit drama Downton Abbey and Wes Anderson’s recent film The Grand Budapest Hotel.
“It is sometimes hard to sell something as ‘Scottish’ without it becoming twee,” Margo says.
“We have got the traditional element, which will always be there, but it’s not just traditional lace we can make.
“We make abstract designs and quite modern lace with different colours.
“I think since the recession, people are thinking you should buy British and keep industry in Britain.”
See the full article by Pamela Tulloch here
The Business Improvement Academy is a new innovative approach designed to support ambitious and growing businesses that recognise the need to engage with the concept of sustainable continuous improvement by combining improvement tools and techniques with cultural and behavioural change.
This Academy is aimed at textile companies who will participate in workshop based learning combined with on-site (one-to-one) project work.
Benefit to companies
Participants of the Academy will become cultural enablers for their business, capable of delivering sustainable improvement through developing employee engagement and embedding supporting behaviours.
The guiding principles of the Academy are:
Why should you participate?
You have the ambition to drive significant improvements forward (process and behavioural) within your business. However, the rate of change is slower than anticipated; the appetite for change isn’t quite what it should be and any process changes achieved may have been short lived. There is also an expectation that any changes won’t be fully supported, with a consequential migration back to previous practices.
Who should participate?
Please Note that the sponsoring business leaders will be required to attend Day 1 (19th April) in order to fully understand their role in supporting their delegates back in the workplace as they implement change; the afternoon of Day 6 (11th May) and the afternoon of Day 10 (TBC).
The Academy requires companies to commit to the full 11 day programme and dates are shown overleaf. The Academy is open to applications from textile businesses with aspirations of growth. An initial review will ensure the Academy is the best option to meet current business needs. The cost is £450 (excluding VAT) per delegate paid in advance. It will be held at Scottish Leather Group’s premises in Bridge of Weir (PA11 3RN).
See here for more detail and how to apply.
Inspirational designer incubator program Fashion Foundry, applications are now open for its Emerging Business strand inviting fashion designers who can base themselves in Glasgow to apply for one of the four highly sought after places available in Scotland.
Focussing on quality cutting edge fashion, Cultural Enterprise Office and Fashion Foundry will accelerate four of the country’s most promising and inspiring designers, giving them the confidence and skills to maximise their creative and business potential. They will also engage with more established designers supporting them to get to the next level of business and overall support the Scottish Fashion Industry to grow and extend its influence.
Applications will be judged by industry experts including panel member Kevin Harding, Director of Merchandising at luxury accessories brand Strathberry.
Kevin’s knowledge of the luxury fashion industry spanning over a decade with key roles for Cartier, Pringle of Scotland, Burberry and Alexander McQueen. Kevin said, “I am excited to be involved with Fashion Foundry, a hugely important initiative for nurturing the next generation of fashion industry talent in Scotland.”
The new hub builds on the Fashion Foundry pilot program set up by Cultural Enterprise Office (CEO) in 2012 with WASPS Studios and supported by the National Lottery through Creative Scotland – a direct response to an increasing volume of enquiries for advice from fashion designers looking to set up and grow their businesses.
Fashion Foundry’s continuing aim is to help fashion designers develop a deeper understanding of industry practices and strengthen their skills to build viable business models, establishing routes to new markets.
2012’s pilot program success enabled designers such as Jennifer Kent of Edition Scotland and Mairi McDonald, to establish premises, gain stockists, and win opportunities to showcase at major trade shows.
Gwilym Gibbons, Chair of Cultural Enterprise office said: “We’re thrilled to be working with Creative Scotland to launch the first Scottish hub for the sector, continuing and building on our work to offer designers access to desk space, machinery, one to one industry advice, an enquiry service and a unique and dynamic events programme aimed at the business of fashion.”
We shall also be looking to develop new projects and opportunities for the fashion sector as a whole in Scotland with partners, encompassing all aspects of its industry from design to associated businesses such as communications and retail.”
In 2014 and 2015 CEO commissioned further sector research and evaluations, which identified fashion design as a major new business community with vast potential for growth within the creative economy, in addition to the textiles & manufacturing industry, leading to a set of results identifying a need for a national centre for fashion business.
To discover more about Fashion Foundry or to apply visit www.culturalenterpriseoffice.co.uk/fashionfoundry
We recently had the opportunity to meet with a member of the team at the innovative manufacturing company Scott & Fyfe and hear first hand about and them and their work.
First up, can you tell us your name and a wee bit about yourself and your business?
My name is Michaela Millar and I am a business development officer at Scott & Fyfe. A 150 year old, employee owned company. The company manufactures and supplies technical textiles to a global market using processes including stitch bonding, warp knitting, coating and weaving for markets including abrasives, flooring, composites and cured in place pipe. Based in Tayport, we are not your typical manufacturer, for our offices imagine a cross between Google HQ and Teletubby land! This is because the company has completely transformed itself over the past five years with a design and innovation led strategy.
What made you want to get into the industry?
I graduated from Duncan of Jordanstone having specialised in woven textile design, and in all honesty I had almost zero knowledge of technical textiles! However, whilst showcasing our work at the annual degree show I met Michelle Quadrelli, Business Director at Scott & Fyfe, and as a result I was offered a 3 month internship. I thought this was a great opportunity to learn new skills and was curious to see what type of textiles the company produced. Whilst at University I was obsessed with pushing the boundaries of textile structures and seeing what they could do. Many of the textiles produced by Scott & Fyfe are extremely innovative and are in markets that I had not even considered utilised textiles, so I was intrigued to find out more.
As an innovative and forward thinking company, who do Scott & Fyfe look to for inspiration?
When looking for inspiration Scott & Fyfe tend to look in unexpected places. For example, Glasgow School of Art inspired the company to approach business in a completely different way through applying design skills and an innovation approach. Also, Scott & Fyfe hire many interns from different areas and locations around the world as each has a fresh pair of eyes and different way of looking at things. This provides a constant inspiration to employees.
From an Employee Ownership side, S&F look to other EO companies for inspiration. Employee Ownership is a great model and we fully embrace it however, it has many challenges so we are constantly looking to share experiences and best practices with other companies. Through the EOA network I was fortunate enough to attend an event hosted by John Lewis recently and on a personal level I was utterly blown away by the level of detail that they go to in order to ensure that employees are engaged throughout all areas of the business. After the event I came back to the office with tons of ideas for our employee forum, as did my colleagues.
What exciting projects do Scott & Fyfe have in the pipeline for the near future?
Amongst many others, we literally have exciting pipeline related projects coming up as we are soon to be launching the Alphashield range of trenchless repair materials for the cured in place pipe industry. This is actually one of the things I love about Scott & Fyfe and technical textiles in general. This product range is for the sewage market. Not a market you would normally associate with innovation but here, our new product range is used to repair pipes without any requirement to dig up the existing pipelines (a process that is often called trenchless technology or cured in place pipe). The product is in simple terms, pushed through the existing pipe, inverted and injected with resin. Once set this flexible, glass knitted liner creates a pipe within the pipe with ultimately better characteristics than the original.
What is your favourite thing about your job?
Definitely the innovation culture and all that this encompasses. Every morning I come into work and see a brightly coloured open plan space with grass on the ground and great areas to work in. It is a very inspiring working environment.
Then there is the way that we actually work and the responsibilities it brings. Instead of sitting in a board room for meetings and being overshadowed by colleagues with a higher status, we use round tables and tools such as mind mapping and dotocracy allowing all employees to have a voice and say in matters. This has applied from the minute I began work here as an intern to the stage I am at today. Coming from a design background I have to say it is fantastic to be able to use the design thinking skills in a business environment.
What advice would you give to other manufacturers in your field?
To consider an innovation and design led approach. We have embraced it over the past five years and will continue to do so as we are seeing real benefits. I am under no illusion that Scott & Fyfe is the most innovative manufacturing company out there, but we are constantly learning and adapting what we are doing and slowly but surely are seeing the company grow and become more innovative.
A key piece of advice I would give to other manufacturers is to embrace failure. There have been plenty of failures since we took on this approach but so long as you learn from them and are ready to adapt then it is not an issue.
What are you looking for from the textile industry currently?
Overall, we would really like to see more collaboration in the industry. It would be fantastic for us to work on more projects with other textile companies. I think there is a huge wealth of experience and expertise out there that companies could be sharing to mutual benefit. In the same strain, I think there could be a lot more textile company / university partnerships developed and this is something that we would welcome.
Visit the website
Collaborate or contact Scott & Fyfe here
Developing your craft business is about more than just creating beautiful products. You need to find customers for your products and the tourism industry can play a key role in helping you widen your markets. Business Gateway, in partnership with Craft Scotland, is hosting a Craft Tourism workshop for makers in Argyll and Bute on Thursday 25 February 2016 in Inveraray.
The tourism industry continues to grow, contributing billions of pounds each year to Scotland’s economy, with more and more opportunities appearing for makers in pop-up shops, festivals, hotels and as part of the local visitor attractions.
Craft, both contemporary and traditional, is an important part of Argyll and Bute’s tourism ‘product’. Many visitors want to shop for unique gifts and souvenirs and if possible meet the people who make these products. Tourism companies are always looking for new ideas and are keen to make contact with quality makers who can offer an engaging experience to individuals or groups of visitors, or supply locally produced crafts.
This workshop will be an opportunity for makers to learn the best ways to work with the tourism and travel industry to maximise their impact and sales.
The day will have a varied content and will include presentations on behalf of Craft Scotland, tourism operators, Business Gateway, VisitScotland, Argyll and the Isles Tourism Co-operative and makers already working with tour operators. The format will include interactive sessions, tips and tricks for retail merchandising and how to add value to your products, as well as giving the opportunity to network and swap ideas.
This workshop will run from 10am to 4pm on Thursday 25 February 2016.
This event is free to attend. If you are a maker based in Argyll, please contact the Business Gateway team to book your place by calling 01546 604 555 or email email@example.com.
Learn about sustainable textile design from an industry expert in the second in a series of full day Masterclasses for the textile industry run by Zero Waste Scotland.
Taking place on 15 February at 09:30 – 17:00 at Edinburgh College of Art at The University of Edinburgh, the Masterclass will be delivered by textile business guru Mark Shayler.
Mark will look at what circular economy really means; whether it has any application in the fashion industry; and what industry leaders are doing.
What business opportunities are presented by a circular economy?
Mark will introduce the main circular economy design strategies and will look at how they do (or don’t) fit the textile industry. He will also look at manufacturing strategies and explore whether these help or hinder the design of products for a circular economy. He will give a fresh perspective on the future of retail and broad consumer trends, and delegates will be encouraged to participate throughout.
Facilitator Mark Shayler has been disrupting businesses for 25 years. He has worked with clothing and fashion companies including Hiut, Howies, Trakke and po-zu. He has increased sales by as much as 6000% and saved over £120 million!
Spaces at the Masterclass are limited and individuals with an interest in attending are required to fill in a short form to demonstrate the value they would gain through attendance. The form is available on the right of the page.
The Masterclass will be held at: Design Informatics T Room Studio (room 1.09), University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh College of Art, 78 Westport (Evolution House), Edinburgh EH1 2LE
Mark will also be delivering a public lecture about sustainable textile design in the evening of 15 February at 18:30. You can register for this free evening seminar here.
This course is approved by The Textile Institute.
Harris Tweed’s orb trademark has been officially recognised as a coat of arms.
For years, the mark has identified tweed made from cloth woven by hand in the Western Isles with wool yarn from island sheep.
The Lord Lyon, King of Arms, has granted that the orb be the industry’s coat of arms.
The Harris Tweed Authority said the recognition would provide a further layer of protection from imitations.
The orb will be incorporated into a shield to become the coat of arms.
Norman Macdonald, chairman of the Harris Tweed Authority, said: “Being awarded a Grant of Arms is a historic milestone for Harris Tweed which has fought for decades to protect the sanctuary of the Harris Tweed cloth.
“It’s the ultimate protection for our products which are known for throughout the world for consistently high standards of quality and authenticity.
“It’s an honour to receive the Grant of Arms from Lord Lyon himself and we are grateful to be able to ensure the security of our cloth and its heritage for generations to come.”
Following on from the success of our first ‘challenge call’ the Textiles Future Forum (TFF) is running its second Innovation Challenge Competition to increase opportunities for business and academia to participate and bid for funding from the TFF Challenge Fund.
Successful projects will be awarded up to £50,000 grant to stimulate innovation, for example:
The closing date for applications is Thursday 14 April 2016
For more information and for application process see here.
Skyeskyns, Isle of Skye manufacturers and suppliers of finest quality sheepskins, throws and accessories, have teamed up with fellow islander brand, Skye Weavers, to create a show-stopping new interior accessory range. The two companies share core values of high-quality textile production and a passion for preserving traditional craftsmanship as so much industry moves overseas.
On their pedal-powered loom in a stone byre, Skye Weavers have produced a stunning bespoke tweed cloth which Skyeskyns have matched with Hebridean brown and Blackface white sheepskin fleeces, creating luxurious, dual-material cushions.
Andrea Holden of Skye Weavers said:
“The Isle of Skye is a place which has been a source of inspiration for artists and crafts people for many centuries. We especially enjoyed collaborating with Skyeskyns on this project as we share a love of a great natural product – wool. The tweed we designed is made up of natural shades of sheep’s wool with over-checks of heather purple and green. These have been plant-dyed by the Shilasdair Yarn Co, another Skye business renowned for its wool.”
Jess Hartwell, second-generation director of Skyeskyns said:
“Working creatively with another like-minded company has been a pleasure and we are delighted to be bringing together tweed and sheepskin to show how the most traditional of materials can result in a contemporary accessory to complement any interior.”
Now available online here.
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