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Scottish Textile News

  • 07-Feb-2018 2:49 PM | Kimberley White

    Textiles Scotland is a Federated Member of the UK Fashion & Textile Association. This brings many benefits to our members including a 50% subscription discount on direct membership of that organisation.

    UKFT have taken a leading role in making representations to the UK government with regard to industry concerns over the progress of Brexit negotiations with the EU.

    In late November last year, at the request of the then Minister for Trade, Mark Garnier MP, UKFT Chairman Nigel Lugg bought together a group of leading industrialists to meet the Minister at the House of Commons to discuss the industry's concerns. The group included companies making for the automotive sector, a company making leading edge carbon fibre products for a wide range of applications including the aerospace industry, the largest textile manufacturer in the UK, footwear companies, a leading designer, a multinational global brand, a manufacturer and supplier of textiles into the hotel and healthcare sector, a supplier of uniforms to the emergency services, one of the largest fashion suppliers to the UK and a small high-end accessories manufacturer.

    In January, UKFT met on several occasions with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and with members of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. It was noticeable that at all the meetings the Civil Servants were keen to understand the industry’s concerns over the impact of Brexit at a much more granular detail than previously.

    UKFT’s CEO, Adam Mansell, has also met with the EU’s Head of Representation to the UK to discuss the industry’s concerns over the exit from the EU and the contents of a new trade deal. UKFT were able to demonstrate that the UK industry and the EU industry were aligned on all issues of importance and the Head of Representation agreed to feed UKFT’s views to the EU’s negotiating team.

    The Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select (DCMS) Committee has published its report, with input from UKFT. 

    Read it here: The potential impact of Brexit on the creative industries, tourism and the digital single market

  • 05-Feb-2018 4:29 PM | Kimberley White

    On 30th January, pupils from schools in Clyde Valley, Ayrshire and Dumfries & Galloway celebrated the Material World Go4SET competition launch at Dumfries House with a day of textiles-based science challenges and activities. Material World is a new programme made possible with funding from Glasgow Clyde Education Foundation and developed in partnership with the Scottish Textiles Skills Partnership and Glasgow Clyde College, designed to encourage young people to explore the science behind textile design and manufacture.

    The Go4SET competition encourages S2 pupils to “go for it!” and pursue further education, apprenticeships or careers in science, engineering and technology, getting them out of the classroom and giving them first-hand experience of the workplace. For 10 weeks, 12–14 year olds work in teams of six with an industry mentor on STEM-themed projects based around real-world problems that need solving, from environmental issues to finance and technology. Material World Go4SET teams are the first to be paired with mentors from the textiles industry, and the programme aims to showcase the diverse applications of STEM skills in textiles businesses.

    Pupils from Langholm Academy, Dumbarton Academy, St. Peter the Apostle High School, St. Paul’s High School, Trinity High School, Our Lady’s High School, Holy Cross High School, Ayr Academy, Stewarton Academy and St. John Ogilvie High School will design and make a prototype of a jacket, competing for prizes including Overall Best Project, Best Teamwork and the Pupils’ Choice Award.

    “Go4SET encourages young pupils of today to be the engineers and scientists of tomorrow,” said Helen Anderson, Director of competition-organisers the Engineering Development Trust. “It also helps them develop skills in team working, communication, report writing and problems solving – all essential skills in today’s world of work”.

    The projects will be presented at a Celebration and Assessment Day on 15th May at The Trades House of Glasgow, where the teams will display their innovative solutions to guests from industry, government and their families. The young people will also find their interpersonal skills challenged as they are interviewed by a panel of expert judges.

    The companies supporting this years’ competition are FTS Dyers, Elliott’s Shed, Alex Begg, Vascutek, Jack Ellis, W.L. Gore and Scott & Fyfe.

    Go4SET is a national programme which is part of the Engineering Development Trust’s continuum of programmes aimed at stimulating young people’s interest in STEM at a key stage in their education.

  • 01-Feb-2018 11:37 AM | Kimberley White

    A new partnership will devise a fresh approach to economic development in the south of Scotland, with a £10million injection for enterprise in the area.

    The Scottish Government has revealed the public and private sector partners who will make up the South of Scotland Economic Partnership, which will pave the way for a dedicated enterprise agency for the region, supported by funding announced in last month’s Budget.

    The partnership features members with a wealth of business experience across sectors, sizes and locations relevant to the South of Scotland, as well as representatives from education, the third sector and the public sector.

    As well as bringing together key partners to boost the economic performance of the south of the country, the Scottish Government has provided a significant investment package worth £10 million.

    Economy Secretary Keith Brown said:

    “This new partnership for the South of Scotland will be responsible for delivering a new approach to economic growth across the region as we prepare for the establishment of a new economic development agency for the South of Scotland.

    “A range of key people with business, education, public sector and third sector experience have agreed to be members of the South of Scotland Economic Partnership, and we will back their commitment with additional resources of £10m to boost economic development activities in the South of Scotland.

    “The Partnership will ensure that the South of Scotland benefits from a dedicated focus in advance of the establishment of a new statutory agency.”

    Mr Brown confirmed Professor Russell Griggs OBE as private sector chair of the body, and Borders Council’s Rob Dickson as the public sector lead back in November.

    Professor Griggs OBE said: “I am pleased to be working with people with such a wide range of skills, expertise and commitment to the South of Scotland. The Partnership is now ready to bring a fresh approach to economic development to the South. We’re ambitious for the area and determined to make early progress.”

    See full article with details here.

  • 09-Jan-2018 10:19 AM | Kimberley White

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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 kitty@scottishtextilescentre.com.


    Bute Fabrics

    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

    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

    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

  • 06-Jan-2018 1:13 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 launch of a Textile Print competition to celebrate the opening of London’s Fashion and Textile Museum’s Artist Textiles Picasso to Warhol exhibition at New Lanark on the 26th January 2018.

    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 an exciting new partnership, New Lanark will be hosting a prominent touring exhibition from the Fashion and Textile Museum in London in 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.

    To celebrate the arrival of this exhibition and the village’s textile production history, New Lanark are launching a design competition 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.

    The textile print should be an all over repeat pattern that embodies the theme of ‘Living and Working at New Lanark’. This theme can incorporate 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. This is a non-exhaustive list and entrants are encouraged to be inspired by conducting their own research into New Lanark by visiting the village or viewing content at:




    The competition is open to the general public, design students and existing designers. In conjunction with the Year of Young People 2018, New Lanark would be particularly interested to see entries from aspiring designers and young creatives and as such have designated an ‘Under 16’ prize category.

    Entries are encouraged to be as creative as possible, whilst keeping in mind the commercial viability of the design and its appeal to New Lanark visitors including international tourists, visitors from elsewhere in Scotland and the local community.

    New Lanark will work with the overall winner to incorporate the winning pattern into a range of promotional textile items to be sold exclusively within the New Lanark Mill Shop. The winner will also receive a Place on a specialist workshop (‘Couture Inside Out’ OR ‘Fashion Drawing’) at the Fashion and Textile Museum in London (Travel and accommodation NOT included), as well as Remnant Kings fabric vouchers, a framed copy of print and Complimentary passes to ARTIST TEXTILES Picasso to Warhol exhibition and the New Lanark Visitor Attraction. There will also be an Under 16 Winner and runner up prizes.

    To enter click here.

    Entrants should submit their work, following the T&Cs available at the website above, by emailing marketing@newlanark.org

    Entries must be received by 11.59pm on Sunday 11th February 2018.

    ARTIST TEXTILES - Picasso to Warhol

    26 January – 29 April 2018

  • 20-Dec-2017 11:48 AM | Kimberley White

    In line with Thrace Group’s strategy, Don & Low, a manufacturer of woven and nonwoven polyolefin technical textiles, has agreed a multi-million deal with Reifenhäuser, to supply a new 3.2 metre Reicofil 4 bicomponent spunbond line specifically configured for industrial spunbond markets.

    “The new investment will see the UK’s only spunbond manufacturer initially increase its plant`s capacity by 5,000 tonnes and follows its 2016 investment in an Oerlikon Neumag meltblown line,” the manufacturer reports.

    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.

    The new RF4 line has been specifically configured for industrial applications incorporating a unique capability – to produce significantly higher tensile and isotropic spunbonds. In addition, the line will produce both mono and bicomponent spunbond utilising combinations of polypropylene and/or polyethylene and offers improved filament distribution. The line will further benefit from Reifenhäuser’s latest digital platform. This investment will be on stream in April 2019.

    In addition, the investment will see the nonwovens site expand to create a new unit to facilitate a secondary processing centre of excellence, enhanced by a further investment into a high output, three colour printing line. Completion of the site expansion is due April 2018.

    Full original article here.


  • 29-Nov-2017 10:06 AM | Kimberley White

    New Lanark World Heritage Site is delighted to announce it will be hosting London’s Fashion and Textile Museum’s international travelling exhibition "Artist Textiles: Picasso to Warhol", from 26 January until 29 April 2018 in its new exhibition gallery. This touring display from the Fashion and Textile Museum, London traces the history of 20th century art in textiles. Highlights include work by Georges Braque, Alexander Calder, Marc Chagall, Salvador Dalí, Sonia Delaunay, Raoul Dufy, Barbara Hepworth, Fernand Léger, Henri Matisse, Joan Miró, Henry Moore, Pablo Picasso, Ben Nicholson and Andy Warhol.

    "Artist Textiles: Picasso to Warhol" has toured internationally since 2014, visiting London, the Netherlands, Canada and the USA, and will make its return to the UK in 2018 at New Lanark World Heritage Site.

    "Artist Textiles" shows how ordinary people were once able to engage with modern art in a personal and intimate way through their clothing and home furnishings. The exhibition features examples of key European and American art movements: Fauvism, Cubism, Constructivism, Abstraction, Surrealism and Pop Art; as well as the work of leading fashion designers and manufacturers. With over 200 rare pieces, many of which have not been on public display before, including some of iconic British designer Zandra Rhodes' personal collection.

    Curator Dennis Nothdruft from the Fashion and Textile Museum, who developed the exhibition, said:

    “This exhibition highlights the importance of the textile industry in the dissemination and promotion of contemporary art. Manufacturers and mills had the foresight to work with painters and sculptors to develop beautiful fabrics that democratized modern art for the masses.”

    Behind the scenes, the stunning scenery and breath-taking views at New Lanark World Heritage Site offer a tremendous backdrop for the exhibition. A former 18th century cotton spinning mill village, founded by David Dale and Richard Arkwright in 1785, its history transports visitors back to the height of the cotton spinning industry.

    Evelyn Whitelaw, New Lanark Trust’s Events & Exhibitions Officer, who is working with the team from London to coordinate the exhibition, commented:

    “We hope that this exhibition will allow visitors to learn more about the resurgence of the textile sector. We will be holding Printmaking workshops and will be launching a ‘textile design competition’ to engage and develop design skills within the community in due course.”

    Located on the banks of the Falls of Clyde, just under an hour from Glasgow and Edinburgh, New Lanark gained international fame under the enlightened management of Robert Owen and was a successful spinning centre until its closure in 1968. New Lanark village is now owned and operated by New Lanark Trust, a registered Scottish Charity who, since 1974, have been restoring and revitalising the village as a living and working community. Today, New Lanark is recognised as one of Scotland’s 6 UNESCO World Heritage Sites of outstanding universal value and welcomes over 300,000 visitors annually to the site.

    London’s Fashion and Textile Museum’s international travelling "Artist Textiles: Picasso to Warhol" will exhibit at New Lanark from 26 January – 29 April 2018.

    Visit newlanark.org to find out more.

    Photo Credits: Fashion and Textile Museum London

  • 24-Nov-2017 12:07 PM | Kimberley White

    The latest meeting of the Scottish Textile Industry Leadership Group (ILG) was kindly hosted on 22nd November by one of Scotland's top legal firms, MacRoberts LLP, at their York Street offices in Glasgow. MacRoberts have, over a number of years, been very supportive of the Scottish textile industry and are Associate Members of Textiles Scotland.

    The ILG is a strategically driven body which represents a broad cross-sector of the industry and is responsible for oversight of the Scottish Textile Industry - 10 Year Plan and monitors progress towards achieving the plan's objectives. Click the following links to check out the group's membership and terms of reference.

    The meeting concerned itself with two major issues. These were "Markets & Marketing" and "Productivity & Investment". Scottish Development International support many of our businesses on a 121 basis in terms of their internationalisation plans but, following the interiors showcase event held at Scotland House in London in September, they are keen to explore ways in which the industry across all sectors can benefit from group activity. A number of ideas were considered including group participation at well-established exhibitions. Additionally the ILG wish to examine ways in which a digital marketing strategy might be developed to market the Scottish brand on behalf of the industry as a whole.

    In recent years much has been made of the success of the public sector funded Alliance Project which operated in the north of England and supported skills, innovation and investment plans. The ILG at a previous meeting asked our public sector partners to explore ways in which something similar could be made to work in Scotland. Scottish Enterprise have led on this development work and an outline plan was presented to the meeting. This will be further refined in coming weeks and we will ensure that our members are kept informed.

    If you have any points to make on these areas or wish to know more about the ILG please contact Jaki Love, Director of Textiles Scotland.

  • 13-Nov-2017 2:40 PM | Kimberley White

    Knockando Woolmill is proud to announce the winner of their inaugural New Woven Textile Designer Award which was presented at Scotland:ReDesigned’s annual Runway and Awards Presentation at #SRDGLA17 on Thursday, 9th November.

    The competition sought to uncover the best of new textile design talent, inviting current students and recent graduates to submit innovative and contemporary designs that push boundaries.

    Recent graduate Jessica Cutler, who studied Textiles in Practice at Manchester School of Art and graduated in July 2017, was presented the award for her design ‘Devon Seasons’. Jessica said: “I’m delighted to have won this award. It was a great evening at such a great venue. Glasgow’s an amazing city – it’s got such a vibrant creative scene which seems to be really well supported. Thanks again to everyone involved for this opportunity. I’m looking forward to working with Knockando Woolmill and can’t wait to see the finished product!”

    A shortlist of six entries were presented to the stellar judging panel, which featured renowned names in fashion and textiles.

    - Fleet Bigwood, pathway tutor for the MA Textiles for Fashion at Central Saint Martins who has provided print design consultations for brands such as Stella McCartney, Donna Karan, Lee Alexander McQueen and Louise Wilson.

    - Alistair O’Neill, Reader in Fashion History and Theory at Central Saint Martins who’s recent curatorial projects include co- curating SHOWstudio: Fashion Revolution (2009) and Valentino: Master of Couture (2012).

    - Fabio Piras, Course Director at Central Saint Martins who brings twenty years of international industry experience, enjoying a successful career in both creative direction and consultancy for luxury fashion brands in Europe and China.

    - Design duo Clements Ribeiro known for their feminine designs, bold prints and luxurious knitwear, and Interior Decorator, lifestyle and luxury consultant Rachel Meddowes.

    Panellist Alistair O’Neill said: “Knockando Woolmill’s New Woven Textile Designer award is an exciting initiative uniting Scotland’s oldest continually working weaving mill with the creativity and innovation of the UK’s next generation of textile designers. Central Saint Martins is proud to be a part of the judging panel and sees the initiative as a good indication of how Scottish textiles can succeed in the 21st century.”

    As well as receiving £500, the winning design will be produced commercially by Knockando Woolmill and sold with custom labelling featuring the designer’s name.

  • 17-Oct-2017 10:52 AM | Kimberley White

    A visionary new tartan weaving enterprise is taking shape on the Black Isle, just north of Inverness in Scotland.  This new initiative is set to re-design tartan for the future.

    “Build the Mill” is a Kickstarter crowd funding campaign that will enable Scottish luxury design House Prickly Thistle Ltd to bring tartan weaving back to its home in the Scottish Highlands. Founder Clare Campbell gave up a career in accountancy to launch the Prickly Thistle brand two years ago and since that time has built up an international clientele.

    “Our company gives its clients the opportunity to weave their own piece of history through bespoke tartan designs and products” Campbell, 39 and a native of Ross-shire explained.

    Struggling to find suitable manufacturing partners in Scotland in what is already a busy sector for the country’s economy, Campbell took the step to build her own mill on the Black Isle. She has already purchased a farm steading that was suitable for conversion and has received pre-planning approval for the project.

    “Given Scotland is the traditional home of tartan, many people find it amazing that there are no tartan weaving mills in the Highland area. Furthermore, by bringing the latest textile weaving technology in-house to complement the brand’s design function, we can ensure that we can meet customer demand while at the same time producing cloth of the highest quality.”

    After significant research, the company decided to use the Kickstarter crowdfunding platform to raise £500,000 to help complete the mill project. Subscribers to the campaign on the Kickstarter website will be able to choose different levels of cash pledges for which they will receive products, or ‘rewards’ for their support.

    But it’s more than just making tartan in its traditional home. For decades, tartan or plaid design fabrics have been hailed as one of the greatest fabric designs anywhere the world.  From fashion to interiors, this recognisable cloth has stood the test of time, guaranteeing that you will almost always find it in any on design trend listing. 

    Tartan cloth and designs have graced the catwalks as integral parts of iconic collections from the most out spoken designers.  Vivienne Westwood, Jean Paul Gautier and Alexander McQueen have all applied a rebellious twist to their garment styles with the use of tartan.

    In the world of interiors, the use of the cloth has included special edition models from leading luxury sports car brands such as Porsche and Lotus and of course it is a staple of top interior designers worldwide. Patrice Wyndham-Smith of the official On Madison blog noted “Plaid is a new modern and one of the hottest looks around for fall.  Designers have rebranded plaid and we are seeing it pop up on the runways and in unexpected ways for home décor.  The key to the new plaid is how and where it is used”.

    This use of the cloth is what has inspired Clare Campbell to not only take tartan back to its roots but also use it to build an international brand based in the Scottish Highlands. She explained “At Prickly Thistle, we are creating a premium brand for Scotland that will be on a par with the famous European designers, such as Hermes, LVMH and Chanel. To showcase our design capability and to reinforce the fact that Scotland can be home to premium fashion items, we have created a range of bespoke products for the campaign that include our tartan designs as well as providing complementary fashion items of a timeless nature. This new mill will allow us to bring the whole process in house thus creating the opportunity to re-design tartan in every sense, challenge the stereotypes, deconstruct 200 years of the same and disrupt the future of this iconic design but also ensure quality is integral to the process” said Campbell.

    As a trustee of the Scottish Tartans Authority, Campbell also ensures that each tartan design is included on the official register. Scottish Tartan Authority Chairman John McLeish is impressed with this exciting campaign, "Scotland is blessed with a good number of quality tartan designers, and weavers of our national iconic fabric. Clare brings a new dimension, and a huge amount of energy, to a traditional industry and it is particularly pleasing to support her ambition of bringing tartan back to its spiritual home. From our perspective, the creation of a new tartan weaving facility in the Highlands is very welcome indeed."

    The campaign, which hopes to raise £500,000 to convert and fit out the mill building runs from 14 October for two months. It will offer luxury reward gift items ranging from £15 to £8,000, all of which are unique to the campaign or are numbered limited edition products. 

    Visit the Build The Mill Kickstarter today to pledge your support

    Prickly Thistle website

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