Log in

Scottish Textile News

  • 06-Apr-2018 12:55 PM | Kimberley White

    Britain’s world-leading creative industries are set to consolidate the country’s position as a global creative powerhouse, following a groundbreaking new Industrial Strategy deal agreed between government and the Creative Industries Council (CIC) on behalf of the sector.

    As part of a Creative Industries Sector Deal, more than £150 million is being jointly invested by government and industry to help cultural and creative businesses across Britain thrive.

    Improving the nations skills is at the heart of the government’s modern Industrial Strategy and to ensure the industry has the skilled workers it needs to deliver this, up to £2 million will be made available to kickstart an industry-led skills package, including a creative careers programme which will reach at least 2,000 schools and 600,000 pupils in 2 years.

    Textiles Scotland welcomes the Creative Industries Sector Deal and looks forward to highlighting the role that textile design and manufacturing plays for the country.

    For full press release see here.

  • 05-Apr-2018 12:24 PM | Kimberley White

    New Lanark, an 18th century cotton-spinning Mill Village and one of Scotland’s 6 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, is delighted to announce the return of the Great Tapestry of Scotland with a brand new exhibition open this spring & summer, 'MAKING OF THE GREAT TAPESTRY OF SCOTLAND' from 18th May – 1st July 2018.

    After first exhibiting the tapestry in 2014, to a record 13,000 visitors, New Lanark are delighted to be welcoming the tapestry back as never seen before. The new ‘making of’ exhibition, curated internally by New Lanark’s Exhibitions Officer Evelyn Whitelaw, will allow visitors to discover the story of the tapestry’s creation through original sketches, photography, memorabilia and memories from those closest to the project.

    For the first time ever, panels from ‘The Great Tapestry of Scotland’ will be exhibited alongside fascinating insights from Dorie Wilkie, Lead Stitcher and her team of 1000+ stitchers who worked on the project across Scotland. The exhibition will also include original sketches and personal works by Andrew Crummy, the man behind the tapestry’s beautiful illustrative designs depicting key moments in Scotland’s history.

    New Lanark will also be providing the opportunity for Exhibition Steward Volunteers to assist with the delivery of this fascinating new exhibition. The volunteers will play a key role in the day to day running of the Exhibition Gallery and in ensuring that New Lanark’s Exhibition Gallery is a welcoming and friendly environment.

    The Great Tapestry of Scotland was the brainchild of one of the world’s best-loved writers, Alexander McCall Smith. The 44 Scotland Street author, together with historian Alistair Moffat, and with the artistic talents of Andrew Crummy, (not to mention more than 1000 stitchers from all areas of Scotland) formed a team set to produce the world’s longest tapestries through one of the biggest community arts projects ever to take place in Scotland.

    Taking 65,000 hours of stitching and using over 300 miles of wool (enough to lay the entire length of Scotland), illustrating 420 million years of Scottish history in 160 panels, this beautiful tapestry depicts the entire history of Scotland.

    Textile production and innovation has been the continuous thread throughout New Lanark’s history, from the village’s early years as the one-time largest cotton manufacturer in Scotland, to now producing over 60 shades of high-quality woollen yarn using historic textile machinery and launching the world’s first Organic Tartan in 2015. Through this exciting partnership with the Tapestry makers, New Lanark offers the perfect backdrop for this wonderful exhibition which will be on show until the beginning of July 2018.

    To find out more and purchase tickets visit newlanark.org.

  • 01-Apr-2018 3:19 PM | Kimberley White

    The Prime Minister met staff at Alex Begg textile factory in Ayr at the end of March as part of a day-long tour to hear the views of businesses and families across the breadth of the UK as we mark one year to our European Union exit.

    The PM has been using her visits to listen to the priorities of different sectors and communities, as well as set out her resolve to strengthening the bonds that unite our four nations as we leave the EU and in the years ahead.

    Her tour of Alex Begg factory came as the UK government announced it would formally begin talks with local partners for a new Growth Deal for Ayrshire. The deal is expected to significantly bolster the region’s economy, create jobs and boost productivity.

    Prime Minister Theresa May said:

    "It is my mission to deliver a Brexit deal that works for Scotland and the whole of the UK, and today I’ve been speaking to workers here in Ayr about what our departure from the EU means to them.

    I am determined that the Brexit we pursue is one that strengthens the bonds that unite us - because I believe ours is the world’s most successful union. Scotland - with its diverse sectors ranging from wool, salmon and whisky production, to world-leading universities, tech hubs and cultural institutions - is such a significant contributor to our United Kingdom. I want to see it prosper as we forge a new role for ourselves in the world.

    That’s why we’re continuing to back Scotland and I am pleased today to announce we are opening talks over a new Ayrshire Growth Deal that should significantly boost the local economy and opportunities for people here."

    Growth Deals are part of the UK Government’s long-standing commitment to directly invest in Scotland’s future.

    They give communities the financial backing to promote economic growth, while proposals come from local partners themselves, allowing them to develop projects that place Scotland at the forefront of innovation, technology and connectivity.

    To date, the UK Government has committed over £1 billion in City Region Deals in Scotland, with negotiations underway on deals with Stirling and Clackmannanshire and Tay Cities, as well as the innovative cross border Borderlands Growth Deal.

    On the Ayrshire deal, discussions with the three local authorities involved - North, East and South Ayrshire – to develop proposals, as well as with the Scottish Government and other partners, will soon begin.

    The textile manufacturer Alex Begg has been established in Scotland since 1866 and creates quality woven scarves and throws for sale across the world, including key markets in Japan and the USA.

    Ian Laird Managing Director for Alex Begg, said:

    "We are delighted that the Prime Minister has taken the time to visit our business which has 150 years of heritage of designing and manufacturing luxury scarves and throws in the West coast of Scotland. Much of our recent sales growth and corresponding increase in employment has been achieved in export markets and we welcomed discussing the importance of trading terms both within the EU and beyond."

    Original article here.

  • 30-Mar-2018 12:15 PM | Kimberley White

    Araminta Campbell is looking for a full-time weaver to join their Edinburgh studio. This is a rare opportunity to join a unique Scottish company dedicated to continuing the tradition of handweaving. As well as a passion for craftsmanship and quality textiles, you must have experience working in the weave industry, and have graduated at degree level in the past 4 years.

    Full-Time Contract for 12 Months

    £20,000 per annum

    Start: May 2018

    Closing Date for applications: 12th of April

    The successful candidate will be a key member of a small team, working on both the hand-weaving of our Signature range and contributing to vital market research. There will be further opportunities that develop as the business grows, so they are looking for someone who is keen to be part of a rising Scottish luxury brand and contribute to success on a long term basis.

    Please see here for further details.


  • 23-Mar-2018 12:50 PM | Kimberley White

    New Lanark, an 18th century cotton-spinning Mill Village and one of Scotland’s 6 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, is delighted to announce the winner of its Textile Print competition in celebration of the ARTIST TEXTILES Picasso to Warhol exhibition which runs at New Lanark until the 29th April 2018.

    To celebrate this exhibition, the village’s textile production history and Visit Scotland’s ‘Year of Young People’, New Lanark’s design competition invited entries to commission a special ‘New Lanark’ textile print, to incorporate into a new range of promotional merchandise which will be sold exclusively within the New Lanark Mill Shop.

    Following a number of high calibre entries received from across the country, Zita Katona from Fife was announced as the Overall Winner. Zita’s ‘A Yarn Well Spun’ design fully fitted the brief that the textile print should be an all over repeat pattern emboding the theme of ‘Living and Working at New Lanark’ and incorporating a number of topics such as the village’s social history & industrial heritage, textile production, New Lanark’s unique architecture, natural surroundings and the Falls of Clyde.

    Zita commented “This pattern was inspired by the landscape and layout of New Lanark as shaped by the River Clyde. The print’s title, ‘A Yarn Well Spun’ refers to the powerful flow of the river, as well as the stories and unique tales of the community of mill workers who have lived and worked at New Lanark. The photographic, collage-style composition of the pattern strengthens this idea of community as the waves cut through the tenement rows and Mill buildings on the river bank.”

    Zita continued, “"I'm both a graphic and textile designer and I have always been keen to find ways to combine the two areas together on print and surface design. After finishing my Masters at Heriot-Watt University last year, I have been focusing on gaining different kinds of experiences to continue this work, through freelancing, personal projects and competitions too. New Lanark in particular is a significant place in the history of the textile industry so I thought it to be important to take part with my interpretation. I feel honoured to have my designs selected on merchandise that will remind visitors of this unique location - I'm very excited to work with New Lanark World Heritage Site."

    New Lanark will work with Zita to incorporate her winning design into a range of promotional textile items to be sold exclusively within the New Lanark Mill Shop. Zita will also receive a Place on a specialist workshop (‘Couture Inside Out’ OR ‘Fashion Drawing’) at the Fashion and Textile Museum in London as well as textile supply vouchers, a framed copy of their print and Complimentary passes to ARTIST TEXTILES Picasso to Warhol exhibition and the New Lanark Visitor Attraction.

    Textile production and innovation has been the continuous thread throughout New Lanark’s history, from the village’s early years as the one-time largest cotton manufacturer in Scotland, to now producing over 60 shades of high-quality woollen yarn using historic textile machinery and launching the world’s first Organic Tartan in 2015. Through this exciting new partnership with the Fashion and Textile Museum in London, New Lanark will be hosting this prominent touring exhibition until the end of April 2018. ARTIST TEXTILES Picasso to Warhol traces the history of 20th century art in textiles with highlights including prints of work by Salvador Dali, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso and Andy Warhol.

  • 05-Mar-2018 11:29 AM | Kimberley White

    Scottish blogger Alison Bigg of The Great Scottish Indoors interviewed Textiles Scotland member Leigh Bagley; exploring his love of colour, his inspiration from his environment, and his design hero Hella Jongerius.

    "I tend to start with a quick sketch or drawing, taking inspiration from research or photographs I’ve collected on my travels. The current collection of wallpaper designs are all taken from elements of the architectural print series I produced in 2012. The digital drawing process offers endless possibilities so simplifying forms down to basic shapes has its challenges. I draw in adobe Illustrator creating images that are vector based. This software uses mathematical equations and geometric primitives (points, lines, and shapes) to create art that is clean, and can be scaled infinitely, without any loss of quality. This is incredibly important as what might be a small detail in a drawing might become a defining form in a large scale wallpaper design."

    - Leigh Bagley

    Click here for the full interview.

  • 28-Feb-2018 12:55 PM | Kimberley White

    Galston-based Balmoral Knitwear, a leading specialist in uniforms for work and school, has announced that the manufacturing side of Balmoral Knitwear is no longer in business after trading for 122 years. It has been forced to close down, with the loss of 42 jobs.

    The company said it has been unable to continue due to increased competition from low cost garments sourced offshore, the increasing cost of raw materials and the recent devaluation of the pound. “Despite exploring possible options to rescue the business, the management team has taken the very difficult decision to close the business. The management team have expressed their deep condolences to all staff who have been affected by the closure,” said Paul Dounis, Joint Provisional Liquidator, RSM Restructuring Advisory LLP.

    Job losses

    “It is with profound regret that employees of this historic business have been made redundant with immediate effect; and we are working with local and national organisations including East Ayrshire Council, PACE (Partnership Action for Continuing Employment), the Job Centre and Redundancy Payment Service to support those employees who have been made redundant and process claims as quickly as possible,” said Mr Dounis.

    “The need for organisations to reduce costs and seek the lowest possible price for goods, often from overseas, has led to another blow for the Scottish knitwear industry. The Balmoral name is well known in the sector and we would ask any parties with an interest in acquiring the business to get in touch with us as soon as possible.”

    The company’s sister business, Balmoral Mill, will continue to operate its shop and cafe, continuing to supply customers through this side of the business.

    Historic mill

    Founded in 1895, Balmoral Knitwear (Scotland) Limited, based in Galston in Ayrshire, Scotland, is a knitwear manufacturer, who supplies both plain and embroidered corporate uniform, school wear and work wear. The company was producing garments at its factory in Galston, for over 100 years. The business is owned by the Mackie family and several members of the family are still involved with the business.

    The company became known as Balmoral Knitwear in 1991. In 1993, Balmoral Knitwear was awarded BS EN ISO 9002, which is a Quality Assurance Award. In 2001, Balmoral Knitwear employed 65 people and was the largest employer in the town.

    The company, which saw turnover in recent years reach £2 million, sourced most of its materials from the EU. The company's clients included John Lewis Partners, Harrods, and Scottish schoolwear retailers, such as Aitken & Niven. It was also a supplier of cricket sweaters to the Marylebone Cricket Club.

    Adapting to new markets

    With 120 years of history, Balmoral Knitwear has seen a few changes over the years. Whereas much of Britain and Scotland’s knitwear industry has closed down over the last few decades as cheap competition increased from the Far East, Balmoral Knitwear has shown to adapt to new markets and continued to invest in new knitting machinery and equipment, including advanced computer-controlled knitting machines and design packages.

    The company developed into one of the foremost UK knitwear manufacturers in a range of markets, including corporate uniform, schoolwear, sports and teamwear, as well as retail and promotional brands.

    The company offered a stock range, as well as the capacity to manufacture to customers own specifications. There was also an embroidery service putting patterns or logos onto garments. A variety of different yarn qualities used included super acrylic, 50% wool and 50% acrylic, 80% wool and 20% nylon as well as 100% luxurious lambswool.


  • 19-Feb-2018 1:25 PM | Kimberley White

    Crùbag is no ordinary textiles company. Borne out of a desire to share the hidden ocean, it fuses a knowledge of science with luxury fashion. The result; a high-end accessory and interiors brand, dedicated to marine ecology and its ambitions set on being stocked in some of the world’s most renowned department stores.

    Founder, Jessica Giannotti, a marine science graduate had little to no knowledge of fabrics and fibres, but started her business because she loved aqua life. Jessica had trained in a marine lab not an artist studio. She was used to microscopes not ink and print manufacturing.

    So, turning the fascination of phytoplankton and the strange organisms, she had seen under her lens into an evocative, sustainable design business, was a very unexpected turn of events. One that was not without its challenges, especially when Jessica was pushing new print and manufacturing techniques.

    Jessica was supported by the Innovation Services of Highlands and Islands Enterprise. For details and the full article please see here

  • 14-Feb-2018 12:26 PM | Kimberley White

    This week to mark Innovation Day (February 16), Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) is launching a new campaign - ‘HIE time to innovate’ to provide companies with the tools to get their own creative visions off the ground.

    Starting with 24 hours dedicated to innovation, local businesses will have access to funding, a free 24-hour hotline and opportunities to book one-to-one consultations with innovation experts to innovation. The initiative will also roll out a number of campaign activities, ranging from digital content provided by online experts, peer influencers and industry leaders to hyper localised events delivering networking opportunities to local communities.

    The announcement follows news that HIE’s innovation funding has already increased turnover for local organisations by £2.2m and is aiming to generate £1.4M more.

    One of HIE’s aims is to continue to realise Scotland’s commercial ambitions, where innovation is a fundamental driver of long-term competitiveness and lies at the heart of the country’s Economic Strategy. In the past two years, HIE’s innovation team has supported 500+ local organisations and awarded 30 small business grants, totalling over £270,000.

    As a result of, the small injection of funding, HIE has directly increased employment by almost 80. The ‘HIE time to innovate’ #HIEtime campaign aims to build on these successes by extending the support, to the as yet untapped pool of businesses that could benefit from innovation.’

    Gillian Galloway, HIE’s Head of Innovation is focused on ensuring innovation makes a positive impact for more businesses in Scotland’s Highlands and Islands:

    “It’s crucial for companies to embrace innovation if they want to remain competitive in their market. Innovation can take many shapes and forms. From the big eureka moments like Air BnB, to a smart technology like Amazon Alexa or something on the scale of Laggan Dam’s hydro power. However, some of the best innovations can come from small usability changes to existing products, new ways to deliver services to customers or improving internal processes. Whilst these changes may appear relatively small the overall impact they can have can be huge.”

    Crùbag, a textile company inspired by marine research and oceans and based in Oban, has been working with HIE’s Innovation Team since the company’s inception. The owner and founder, Jessica Giannotti comments on the partnership:

    “HIE has always been on my side from the very beginning. I’ve benefited from their courses, mentorship, network introductions and small grant funding. It’s been a generous, very human, informative experience. An essential one too, as often businesses are left to fend for them themselves but partnering with HIE gives you that extra edge. For me innovation is something that should always be present in our business discussions. If we don’t solve problems we become stagnant.”

    Galloway continues: “We have the right team of people to provide solid innovation advice, deconstructing the process into simple to apply tips. We offer year-round opportunities for funding and hope that our initiative will get more businesses interested and eager to make positive changes. We know that time can be a key challenge for companies exploring innovation, with concerns about the effort involved proving worthwhile. Our ‘HIE time to innovate’ #HIEtime campaign aims to address these concerns.

    “International best practice indicates that all businesses can benefit from innovation support, regardless of their size, sector or location. Being innovative can ultimately make your business more profitable so it makes sense for companies to integrate this into their workings.”

    The campaign will be underpinned by HIE’s core innovation offering which provides:

    • Funding | For businesses working in the Highlands and Islands, with no more than 250 employers, up to £15,000 of funding can be offered through HIE’s Small Innovation Grant Scheme.
    • Expert Advice | HIE’s Innovation Enquiry Service provides access to experienced advisors who can help decide on the best course of action for businesses to move their project forward.
    • Support | Through HIE’s Innovation Clinics, its team of innovation specialists offer group and one-to-one sessions to businesses.
    • Direction | For further support HIE provides 1-2 days of Specialist Innovation Support with skilled consultants to provide detailed strategy assistance.

    Businesses looking to sign up to access HIE’s innovation services can visit www.hie.co.uk/hietime

    HIE 24-hour Innovation Hotline

    When: 16 February, midnight to midnight

    What: hotline providing expert info on what funding and innovation resources are available from HIE

    Call: 0300 013 5041

    HIE Innovation Expert Consultations

    When: Monday 19 February to Friday 23 February

    What: one on one support through consultations with the opportunity to apply for funding

    Call: 0300 013 5041 to book your session


  • 12-Feb-2018 12:07 PM | Kimberley White


    Sekers Fabrics Ltd and Wemyss Weavecraft Ltd, two leading furnishing fabric wholesalers have undergone a management buyout by the current Managing Directors.

    Ian Tatnell and Ian Worf, the respective MD’s for Sekers & Wemyss, will be equal shareholders in the new company Worell Ltd with funding assistance provided by The Royal Bank of Scotland together with the previous owners. Malcolm Moir, who is the majority shareholder of the previous owners Gourdie Ltd, will be retained as Group Non-Executive Chairman to oversee the smooth transition of the deal.

    Sekers are currently in their 80th year of trading and specialise in the design and supply of furnishing fabrics and wallcoverings to the international hospitality market. Servicing architects and designers involved with this industry, they are key suppliers to many famous hotel chains along with cruise ships, restaurants, bars and healthcare markets. Sekers have partners in all the key design regions globally; America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia making it a truly international brand with export sales representing 30% of turnover and growing rapidly.

    Wemyss, having celebrated 70 years of trading in 2017, also specialise in the design and supply of furnishing fabrics and wallpapers concentrating on the UK residential market supplying interior designers, soft furnishing retailers and upholsterers as well as high end furniture manufacturers.

    Both brands operate from the Wester Gourdie Industrial Estate in Dundee under the same management team that has effected the buyout. The workforce is made up of 48 people based at the Dundee headquarters and at their jointly shared Chelsea Harbour Showroom in London plus individual trade sales force for each brand situated around the UK.

    Both Managing Directors confirmed that it will be "business as usual. We are both delighted to have been given the opportunity to become owners of two great businesses that we have been involved with collectively for over 50 years. We are fortunate to have a brilliant team of people behind us who also share our passion and enthusiasm and this will help us to continue to grow both businesses in the years to come."

Copyright UK Fashion & Textile Scotland Limited © 2019. Registered office: c/o Wright, Johnston & Mackenzie LLP, 12-13 St Andrew Square, Edinburgh, EH2 2AF. Registration Number: SC616858