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Scottish Textile News

  • 13-Sep-2019 8:48 AM | Anonymous

    Recycling plastic into trainers, new developments in 3D and circular knitting processes and tackling sustainability challenges while building a brand were some of the issues that were under discussion at the Sustainability in Fashion conference at Dumfries House yesterday.

    Textiles Scotland, which is now part of UKFT, was in attendance to hear from speakers including Patrick Grant, the British fashion designer and director of Norton & Sons, E Tautz and Community Clothing, as well as Walter Waehlt, director of advanced creation in apparel technologies at Adidas and Christiane Arp, editor in chief at Vogue Germany.

    The conference is part of the the Future Textiles project, which is currently ongoing at stately home Dumfries House in Ayrshire and at Trinity Buoy Wharf in London through the Prince’s Foundation. The project was initiated by HRH The Prince of Wales to address the skills gap in the textile industry. Textiles Scotland held a number of important discussions with stakeholders in the industry during the day including HRH The Prince of Wales as part of its work to reinvigorate the skills landscape in Scotland.

    The event was attended by key figures from the Scottish textiles industry including Ian Laird, managing director of Alex Begg and Margaret MacLeod, sales director of Harris Tweed Hebrides, as well as representatives from MYB Lace and Elizabeth Martin Tweed.

  • 30-Jul-2019 9:18 AM | Anonymous

    The UK Fashion & Textile Association (UKFT) is to review and update a suite of fashion and textile qualifications in Scotland, as part of the association’s mission to raise the skills and productivity of the people who work in the UK fashion and textile industry to the highest level.

    UKFT has been awarded the contract to review the National Occupational Standards* for fashion and textiles and to extend the Fashion & Textile Heritage Modern Apprenticeship by Skills Development Scotland.

    The project will see UKFT review and update the following qualifications:

    National Occupational Standards

    Footwear, Leathergoods & Leather Production

    Manufacturing Textiles Products/Manufacturing Sewn Products

    Scotland specific Modern Apprenticeships

    Fashion & Textiles Heritage SCQF Level 6/7

    Addition of a new Pathway - Bespoke Cutting & Tailoring

    UKFT’s scope of work will include the development and review of the National Occupational Standards (NOS); the Welsh translation for NOS where required; Scottish Vocational Qualifications(SVQs) or alternative competency-based qualifications (CBQs) for use in apprenticeship frameworks; and the Apprenticeship Frameworks in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

    Using the membership of Textile Scotland, now part of UKFT, from September 2019, the UKFT Skills & Training Team will be contacting key stakeholders to create working groups to review NOS Suites and to reconvene the recent and successful Steering Group in Scotland to lead on the Modern Apprenticeship development.

    UKFT skills and training manager John West said: “This is a great development that will ensure that Scottish qualifications are up-to-date and relevant for the industry. We look forward to working with employers in the coming months.”

    It comes as UKFT has expanded its skills and training team to tackle the pressing issue of the shortage of skilled workers in the UK fashion and textile industry.

    UKFT has made rapid progress in addressing the UK fashion and textile industry’s critical skills gap since it was appointed as the Fashion and Textiles Industries Sector Skills Body (SSB) by governments in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland in November 2017.

    In this time, the association has worked with the industry to develop 13 new apprenticeship frameworks in England including sewing machinist, pattern cutter, bespoke tailor, leather craftsperson, technical textile specialist and textile care operative, alongside a new Scottish Vocational Qualification (SVQ) for bespoke cutting and tailoring.

    UKFT has launched a new Apprenticeship Skills Analysis for employers, designed to provide advice, simplify documentation, cut down on red tape and facilitate links with sector training providers.

    The association is now the external quality assurance provider (EQAP) for 10+ apprenticeship standards to ensure consistency and quality for fashion and textile apprentices and their employers

    It has also launched the UKFT industry recognition programme, to review and ensure sector qualifications are applicable and necessary.

    UKFT has also been working to overcome barriers to take up including a shortage of End Point Assessment Organisations (EPAOs), increasing the size of the training provider network and addressing issues associated with non-levy procurement, funding allocation and appeals.

    UKFT’s John West has also joined the panel that will develop the outline content for the new T Level for craft and design, which encompasses fashion and textiles.

    * National Occupational Standards(NOS) are developed by Standard Setting Organisations (SSO) who consult with employers and other stakeholders across each of the UK nations, (Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and England). This consultation process allows any specific requirements to be considered by each nation and the result is a set of NOS that are suitable for use across the UK.

    The NOS, which are set out in a common format, are approved on a four-nation basis and content is scrutinised by SQA Accreditation. Each NOS has a published date stating when it was approved, and the most current NOS are listed in this database. There is also an anticipated review date and this will be used as a guide to when they require reviewing and feedback from stakeholders is taken to influence when this is commissioned.


  • 29-Jul-2019 2:08 PM | Anonymous

    Scottish Enterprise is hosting a webinar on 12 September to outline the major opportunities for Scottish exporters in key sectors in the Polish market.

    It will be presented by Cedric Fromont, managing director at Valians International, which supports Scottish Development International in partnership with OCO Global in Poland.

    Cedric has 15 years’ experience in supporting businesses in their expansion in Poland and Eastern Europe, conducting more than 120 projects per year with teams based in Krakow, Warsaw and Gdansk.

    Key facts about Poland:

    • Uninterrupted GDP growth for the last 20 years with a 4% / year on average (5,1% in 2018),
    • Since 1989, Poland has increased its GDP per capita by almost 150%
    • Poland has become the fastest-growing large economy in the world according to the World Bank
    • The average purchasing power of a Polish citizen has increased by over 55% since 2009
    • Major industrial and infrastructure projects have been undertaken in the last decade supported by over 180 bn GBP of European funds between 2007 – 2020

    Benefits for UK businesses exporting to Poland include:

    • a huge domestic market with over 38 million consumers
    • widespread English language use, particularly amongst younger people
    • a strong, dynamic economy
    • access to the emerging markets of eastern Europe
    • regular flights between the two countries

    To register for the webinar, please sign up here.



  • 23-Jul-2019 1:57 PM | Anonymous

    If you or employees in your company need financial support with essential items for their children, here’s a charity that could help.

    Founded in 1853, FTCT has been supporting the children of UK fashion and textile employees for over 160 years.

    About FTCT grants

    FTCT grants provide support for families when they are struggling financially and can't afford to buy essential items for their children.

    This could be because of an unexpected change in circumstances or a sudden gap in income.  Or ongoing circumstances which put pressure on household finances, such as ill health or disability.

    FTCT grants help to provide essential items for children aged 0-18 years. Items that can make a big difference to a child's wellbeing.

    This could be a proper bed to sleep in, a working cooker for hot meals, a working washing machine for clean clothes or a school uniform that fits.

    Grants can also fund mobility equipment, sensory toys or educational support for children with a disability or additional needs. 

    Martha and Deborah’s grant story

    Martha (11) has Williams Syndrome, which means she has learning difficulties, concentration problems and other associated medical issues. Her Mum Deborah is the Managing Director of the underwear brand British Boxer's. Martha received a grant towards reading lessons over four years.  

    Watch Martha and Mum Deborah talk about the difference their FTCT grant has made here.

    Can you apply?

    To apply for an FTCT grant, the parent  or carer must work or have previously worked in the UK fashion and textile industry for at least one year, within the last nine years. 

    Your children must be aged between 0-18 years. Sole traders, self employed or sub contracted staff might also be able to apply.

    *Employees from across the sector fall in FTCT’s trade criteria, including any UK business which designs, sells, manufactures, services or distributes  clothing, footwear, soft furnishings or fabrics.

    Find out more

    To find out more about FTCT grants, please visit their website www.ftct.org.uk or give their friendly grants team a call on 0300 123 9002.

    Want to promote FTCT at your company?

    FTCT are already working with a number of affiliated members, to promote their grants, including UK Fashion & Textile Association (UKFT), Textile Services Association (TSA), Textile Centre of Excellence (TCE) and the Lancashire Textile Manufacturers Association.

    They are always on the look out for new companies and associations to work with. It is really simple to promote FTCT at your company and the team at FTCT can help you every step of the way., To find out more, please contact FTCT Director Anna by email, anna@ftct.org.uk or call 0203 667 7882.


  • 19-Jul-2019 4:25 PM | Anonymous

    Analysis for Innovators (A4I) is a programme that gives UK businesses, of any size, access to cutting-edge R&D expertise and facilities to help solve problems that they have been unable to tackle using standard technologies and techniques.

    The aim is to help businesses grow by utilising innovation to improve their current products; to improve reliability and reduce rejection rates; to improve the manufacturing speed or reduce manufacturing costs; to expand markets by proving performance in new specifications.

    In previous rounds, the programme has

    In four previous rounds, it has supported over 400 companies – see www.A4I.info for further Case Studies and an overview of the programme.

    Full competition details are available on the Innovate UK Competitions website at apply-for-innovation-funding.service.gov.uk/competition/399/overview  There is a blog by Lien Ngo at innovateuk.blog.gov.uk/2019/07/16/analysis-for-innovators

    A4I Round 5 will open on 29 July with Phase 1 – Expression of Interest. The KTN is running a Competition Briefing in London on 31 July (book here).  There is also a webcast of the event for those unable to make it in person.

    In order to help companies fully understand the opportunity of being part of the A4I programme, there are a series of roadshows

    A4I Roadshow Events:

    19 July, NPL, Teddington (book here)

    22 July, Glasgow (book here)

    23 July, Rutherford Appleton Labs, Oxford,  (book here)

    24 July, STFC Daresbury, (book here)

    30 July, Swansea, (book here)

    8 August, Manchester (book here)


  • 11-Jul-2019 11:41 AM | Anonymous

    Textile Scotland, now part of UKFT, was at XpoNorth last week for the two-day conference and showcase focused Scotland’s creative industries. The event brings together designers and creatives throughout the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, covering craft, fashion and textiles; writing and publishing; screen and broadcast; digital and technology and music.

    Paul Alger MBE, International Business Director at UKFT, and CEO Adam Mansell were there to talk to the fantastic companies from the Highlands and Islands, particularly around export opportunities. They also gave an overview of the ambitions for Textile Scotland as part of the wider UKFT network, while retaining its national Scottish focus.


  • 11-Jul-2019 9:57 AM | Anonymous

    HRH The Princess Royal visited the Begg & Co mill on Scotland’s west coast this week, in her role as President of the UK Fashion & Textile Association (UKFT).

    The company produces luxurious scarves, wraps and blankets from the finest cashmere, silk and wool blend yarns for the Begg & Co brand, as well as for some of the world’s most prestigious fashion houses, and has been proudly making in Scotland since 1866.

    During her visit to Ayr, the UKFT President was shown the various stages of production at the mill, met with the skilled team members and was given an overview of the company’s impressive export business.

    “We are delighted that HRH The Princess Royal took the time to meet so many of our employees and showed a strong interest in the craftsmanship that goes into making our world-leading products,” said Ian Laird, CEO of Begg & Co. “As an advocate of British textiles, she particularly appreciated the success and growth we’ve had in developing Begg & Co with prestigious retailers around the world.”

    Paul Alger MBE, International Business Director at UKFT, said: “We are very pleased that HRH The Princess Royal and President of UKFT visited Begg & Co, which is a world-class mill with more than 150 skilled designers and craftspeople. The President is very interested to learn about manufacturing and to be part of promoting Scottish production and textiles. We look forward to more visits in the future.”

    In recognition of the skills and talent within UK fashion and textile manufacturing, this year Her Royal Highness has embarked on a series of visits, from central London to Sheffield, the Cumbrian coast and Hertfordshire.

    UKFT is working closely with the industry, as well as lobbying Government, to ensure that we create the right conditions for businesses like Begg & Co to thrive.

    As the Sector Skills Body for fashion and textiles, UKFT is also working to secure more training and investment in the industry.

    The visits form part of UKFT’s Let’s Make It Here initiative, in celebration of Britain’s rich manufacturing heritage.

    UKFT’s Let’s Make It Here website allows designers and brands to search by product type, support services or location, to make it easier to source in the UK. The database covers all stages of the supply chain, including yarn, fabric, garments and accessories, as well as ancillary support services, such as pattern cutters. The website attracts significant interest, not only from the UK but globally, with many of the enquiries coming from overseas, providing those listed with export opportunities to promote the heritage, efficiency and craftsmanship of UK manufacturing.


  • 10-Jul-2019 2:08 PM | Anonymous

    The Department for International Trade, in collaboration with UKFT, is organising a trade mission to Prague in October to enable fashion and textile* brands to explore the enormous potential of the Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) region.

    UK brands will be introduced to key buyers from the region as well as press. Attendees can find out more about potential partners in the CEE region, as well as retail and franchise opportunities.

    The event, held on 16-17 October, will be based in Prague and DIT will use its international network to reach out to buyers from other CEE markets including Poland, Slovakia, Hungary and Slovenia.

    For more information, please see the attachment below.

    UK Fashion and Textile Mission to CEE Save the date.pdf

    Please express interest by 31 July 2019 to aneta.spickova@fco.gov.uk  

    *Textiles in this instance refers to finished goods such as interior textiles, scarves, throws and accessories rather than textile collections for apparel, for example.


  • 09-Jul-2019 11:10 AM | Anonymous

    Help Craft Scotland understand the craft sector in Scotland and you could win £100 in book vouchers.

    Craft Scotland is looking for help in gaining a clearer picture of the craft sector and the experiences of makers. They are also interested in how you think the sector should develop.

    There are several sections to be completed but Craft Scotland know your time is precious so the survey should take no longer than 20 minutes to complete. It would be useful for you to have your financial information for the year 2018/19 to hand before you start the survey. For terms and conditions about the prize draw please visit the Craft Scotland website.

    You can access the survey by clicking hereThe survey will close at midnight, Sunday 28 July 2019.

    Craft Scotland will publish the findings of the survey on their website in autumn/winter and will use the findings to support their advocacy and promotion of the sector.


  • 09-Jul-2019 10:20 AM | Anonymous

    A multi-disciplinary research team from Robert Gordon University’s fashion and computing schools are working with Shanghai academics to educate consumers about the craftsmanship, heritage and value of traditional fashion and textile products towards sustainability, both in the UK and in China.

    The project, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) UK-China Creative Industries Partnership Development Grant called ‘From Augmented to Authentic: Weaving the Past into the Future’ explores how immersive experience and techniques could be used to represent and preserve the history and heritage of traditional fashion and textile products.

    It brings together a multi-disciplinary RGU research team: Yang Jiang, lecturer and researcher in Digital Media and Computer Animations & Gaming at the School of Computing; Karen Cross, course Leader for fashion management at the School of Creative and Cultural Business and Josie Steed, course leader for fashion and textile design at Gray’s School of Art; together with Professor Rong Zheng from the Donghua University and Shanghai International Fashion Innovation Centre, as well as UK and Chinese creative businesses and organisations within fashion and textiles. 

    Project lead Jiang said: “Our aim is to use modern, immersive technologies such as Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR) and Mixed Reality (MR) to preserve the history and heritage of traditional fashion and textile products. We’re delighted to be attracting so much interest in our project from a range of organisations and businesses both here in the UK and in Shanghai.

     “The project is one of only 14 national projects funded by the AHRC and the sole funded project from Scotland and the only project focusing on Fashion & Textiles in this funding scheme, a priority area for economic and cultural development for the Chinese Government.”

    Steed said: “Fashion faces many challenges – the current generation of wearers is the first to be so far removed from how their clothing is produced and the prevalence of fast fashion has seen clothing reduced to transient items, worn for a short period of time, then discarded.”

    “Fast fashion has pushed price downwards, moving textile and clothing production to low cost labour countries and decimating the traditional Scottish textile economy,” she added. “The surviving Scottish textile companies find it difficult to attract young people to work with them, leading to a skills shortage within the industry.

    “Fast fashion also drives consumer need for newness, uses resources that are finite and damaging to the environment and creates much landfill waste.

    “In 2018, the pressure to move towards a more sustainable fashion and textile industry has grown and this project seeks to explore ways to educate the consumer to the sustainability, craftsmanship, heritage and value of traditional fashion and textile products, using the growing medium of fashion film and immersive technologies.”

    The project brings together a collaboration between RGU and Donghua University with the aim of building long-term and sustainable research and industry partnerships.

    Steed said: “China and the UK both have long histories and cultural traditions related to textiles and clothing. Scotland’s tradition of tweed and tartan, cashmere and woollens continues to survive today through SMEs producing luxury products.

     “A parallel can be drawn with China’s rich history of cultivating and producing beautiful silk products such as the Qi Pao, Han Fu and Song Jin, and to their position as one of the world’s largest textile and clothing producers. Fashion has embraced computer technology, with online sales continuing to grow and fashion film increasingly being used to market creative designs.”

    Together they will research immersive techniques which could be used to represent and preserve the history and heritage of traditional fashion and textile products, and transfer them into modern design to meet the current and future fashion trends.

    So far an academic and industry team has visited Shanghai during Shanghai Fashion Festival in April and an academic visit to further the collaboration with their Chinese partners is planned shortly.

    The team have just launched a website documenting their on-going research at a recent 2-day workshop hosted at RGU and co-funded by the AHRC and The Scottish Informatics & Computer Science Alliance (SICSA). It brought together academics across architecture, computing and the creative industries across Scotland together with textile businesses and organisations including Harris Tweed Hebrides, Montrose Rope & Sail and the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland to explore the opportunities and research and industrial challenges that exist in the areas of fashion/textiles and technology with the overall aim of creating a multidisciplinary team for building a consortium for a larger project later this year.


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