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Scottish Textile News

  • 02-Nov-2015 2:47 PM | Kimberley White

    In 2016 and 2017 the Crafts Council will expand its successful International showcase programme to promote luxury British craft in Europe and the United States. Applications are now being invited from makers of all disciplines who have ambitions to export and showcase internationally.

    “The programme is designed to showcase craft skills and materials that typify the diversity of making in Britain in a contemporary way, both through the design and styling of the stand and also through the work itself, marrying innovation with tradition.” states Paul Adlam, Crafts Council’s Head of Enterprise.

    Crafts Council are looking for makers of all disciplines to apply. Primarily this opportunity is suitable for makers producing high-quality interiors-focused work, as the fair is primarily attended by collectors and professional buyers commissioning works for interiors. In particular, work that has a focus on craft processes and materials from the UK or integrates UK-influenced traditions with processes and materials from other cultures is requested. Makers should have existing work they can exhibit in Basel, Switzerland and Miami, USA in 2016, and should be available to travel to Basel from approximately Monday 13 to Sunday 19 June 2016 and in Miami from Tuesday 29 November to Sunday 4 December 2016.

    You must have British citizenship or unlimited leave to remain in the UK, and must meet the UKTI Definition of a ‘New Exporter’ (details on the Crafts Council guidance document for this opportunity) to apply.

    The deadline for applications has now been extended to midnight on Tuesday 10 November 2015.

    For more information and details of how to apply, please visit the Craft Scotland website.

  • 02-Nov-2015 2:38 PM | Kimberley White

    One of the few remaining textile factories in Scotland has stood in the same spot for over a century, and now provides textiles for Hollywood productions.

    Morton Young and Borland (MYB) textiles sits at the end of a long street in Ayrshire, surrounded by desolate factories that were once occupied by a thriving manufacturing industry and filled with a productive workforce.

    In 2015, it’s the last lace and madras producer in the area and the only producer in the world manufacturing patterned lace with original Nottingham Lace Looms. Coming straight from its factory in Newmilns, MYB products have appeared everywhere from Hollywood film sets, tourist attractions and soon-to-be world famous catwalks.

    Having invested heavily in developing and modernising their production techniques and continuing to keep up with the latest emerging trends (while maintaining their traditions and techniques from the past), Morton Young and Borland remains one of the last textile factories standing.

    A small workforce of 59 are responsible for designing and producing all MYB textiles in-house. Despite the use of Nottingham lace looms being time consuming, it enables a high level of quality control. In order to keep up with demand, many of the them have been networked to CAD computers which allow design ideas to be communicated to the looms for maximum efficiency.

    “We’ve managed to survive the industry decline by diversifying our product offerings and venturing into new markets”, design and business development manager, Kashka Lennon explains. “By evolving our business we’ve managed to avoid the fate of our old competitors, combining our time honoured skills and heritage with an ability to adapt to modern consumer demands.”

    The firm are looking to increase their annual turnover of £2.8m through sales of its range of lace fabrics currently popular in womenswear like Pavane’s. Additionally, MYB Textiles are now taking steps to conquer the hotel trade. Managing director Scott Davidson will be taking the brand as far afield as Dubai and Korea in order to expand their market and continue the Scottish company’s legacy overseas.

    See original article here.

  • 30-Oct-2015 3:14 PM | Kimberley White

    This week Kimberley from the STLA had the chance to sit down with the uber-talented Victoria from We Are Rushworth.

    First up, can you tell us your name and a wee bit about yourself and your business?

    My name is Victoria Rushworth, and I studied at The Scottish College of Textiles, Heriot Watt University, Galashiels for a BSc (hons) in Textiles & Clothing. On graduating I worked for various high street retailers and suppliers as a technologist/product developer. This involved working with factories around the world, trouble shooting production problems as well as ensuring quality and ethical production.  After a career break watching my 3 children evolve while living in Paris for 4 years I was inspired to create a clothing label for “Triers and Doers”.  We Are Rushworth was born in 2012, it is an innovative, evolving clothing label, rooted in Scotland.  The brand has a variety of unique ranges from artist designed t-shirts to locally produced knitted hats, scarves, headbands, tank tops and blankets. These are manufactured using luxurious pure lambswool, merino and cashmere fibres.

    WAR Vic

    What made you want to get into the industry?

    My father worked around the globe in the textile industry, mainly for the UN on development projects. He would bring us some textile-related gift home from every country (Afghan waistcoats were pretty exotic in the 1970’s). Therefore from childhood, I was surrounded by textiles and the experiences we gained from living overseas instilled a fascination with clothing and textiles which contributes to what inspires me today.

    Who are the influential figures you look up to for inspiration?

    My father and grandfather both worked with textiles and their attention to detail as well as appreciation for good quality products has stayed with me.  More recently, the designs being created using wool by International Woolmark winners Christian Wijnants and Marcia Patmos are a great inspiration.

    What exciting projects do We Are Rushworth have in the pipeline for the near future?

    We are working with our local manufacturer on merino cycling tops which will have everything we love, great design and look but importantly showcasing the qualities of natural fibres.

    WAR 1

    What is your favourite thing about your job?

    I am passionate about the qualities of natural fibres and manufacturing quality garments here in the UK. The design process is rewarding however nothing beats seeing the finished products arrive.

    What advice would you give to up and coming designers/makers/manufacturers in your field?

    Focus on quality and being retail ready: it is a competitive world with large retailers able to manufacture in bulk at competitive prices. So find an innovative idea, pursue it; but be aware that this is a business. Retailers have strict product specifications to ensure a garment is fit for purpose and safe under the consumer protection act. Buyers want to avoid returns and quality issues so the quality assurance and the factory audit are crucial. Know your manufacturer and understand your responsibilities to your consumer. But above all, enjoy it, be authentic and your enthusiasm will spread.

    What are you looking for from the textile industry currently? 

    The greatest challenge for startups is the sourcing of sample garments, and good quality manufacturers who are able to support small runs. Also, it would be useful to get some impartial advice on website designers and photography.

    For more on We Are Rushworth:

    Visit the website

    Tweet them

    Send an enquiry

  • 26-Oct-2015 3:18 PM | Kimberley White

    Creative Carbon Scotland in association with Gayfield Creative Spaces and Zero Waste Scotland is offering the chance for an Edinburgh-based designer to lead a new design project exploring the theme of the circular economy.

    Call for Lead Designer

    This is an exciting opportunity for a designer interested in exploring the themes of the circular economy and environmental sustainability in their work and it engages with a specific problem confronting Scotland’s sustainability agenda.

    Were you aware that mattresses represent a major challenge to governments worldwide in relation to land fill and waste management? Experiments in responding to this problem are varied but may not be well recognised or coordinated. Read more here.

    ArtCOP Scotland

    To Sleep Lightly is part of a wider initiative facilitated by Creative Carbon Scotland called ArtCOP Scotland, engaging with what some are calling the most important event of this century – COP21 UN climate change negotiations in Paris (30th November – 11th December). During the period of COP21 CCS will be supporting a Scotland wide art and design response to the negotiations and exploring what roles art and creativity can play in addressing climate change and building more sustainable societies.

    Project Timeline

    The project timeline is reasonably flexible with the selected applicant being invited to exhibit preliminary research findings as part of the Gayfield Creative Spaces ArtCOP Hub (Monday 30th November – Friday 4th December).

    In agreement with project partners, the selected applicant will propose a project outline which will allow for the exhibition of some work during ArtCOP Scotland but could also be extended beyond this time, with the possibility of an additional exhibition following the completion of the design research, subject to funding.

    Project Brief

    The designer should have an understanding of and imaginative approach to the links between the circular economy, environmental sustainability and creative practice to apply their design practice to the challenges surrounding mattress production and disposal.

    The successful applicant will bring knowledge, skills and expertise to bear in the following outline application brief:

    • Identify the components of the most commonly purchased mattress types in Scotland
    • Apply design thinking to re-use of component parts
    • Exhibit initial research findings during ArtCOP Edinburgh at Gayfield
    • Offer a design discussion for students of design during ArtCOP Edinburgh at Gayfield
    • Define the challenges for the design of a more sustainable mattress

    Designer Specification

    • Strong understanding of and imaginative approach to the links between the circular economy, environmental sustainability and creative practices.
    • The ability to communicate and creatively explore these links with audiences.
    • High quality of design practice.
    • Evidence of how these links have already been explored to a high standard of work within their own practice.
    • Ability to install artworks in public spaces.

    Designer Fee

    The designer will be paid a fee of £1800 for 8.5 days work, based on the Scottish Artist Union daily rate for an artist with 3 years’ post art-school experience. For more information on the SAU: http://www.sau.org.uk/rights/pay/

    A £200 materials budget will also be provided as well as additional materials and support in installation of resulting work.

    This fee will include:

    • Attendance of x2 meetings with CCS and GCS and launch and panel discussion focused on circular economy/exhibited work
    • x7 day’s work on the design commission
    • x1 day installation of work produced


    Deadline for registration of interest is 10am, Friday 30th October at the latest.

    Please download the form below to apply:

    To Sleep Lightly – Designer Application Form

  • 25-Oct-2015 3:15 PM | Kimberley White

    At The Furniture Makers’ Company’s annual Young Furniture Makers exhibition last week, Colin Wade, MD of leather manufacturer Andrew Muirhead & Son, launched the Muirhead Leather Design Competition for students.

    The winning student will be given the unique opportunity to gain valuable experience within real furniture businesses, receiving a three-week work placement at Muirhead in Glasgow; an additional work placement at a furniture company; plus a £1000 cash prize. There will be up to two runner-up prizes of £500.

    Andrew Muirhead & Son is part of the Scottish Leather Group, one of five specialist subsidiaries aiming to achieve the highest standards of quality and innovation, remaining at the forefront of leather manufacturing since 1840. Over the last 175 years, Muirhead has supplied leather for many high profile projects including the Houses of Parliament, Burj Al Arab and the Boeing 307 Stratoliner. Its high performance, low carbon leather is supplied to airline, coach, rail, marine, automotive aftermarket and furniture industries across 60 countries.

    Muirhead has developed the ground-breaking capability to print high resolution digital images onto leather and is inviting UK furnishing students to submit designs for an upholstered piece of furniture using this technology while also being sympathetic to the quality and appeal of leather.

    Colin Wade says: “There is such a wealth of young talent out there in our colleges and universities. We’re excited about seeing which students can create the most innovative and potentially iconic use of printed design on leather. We’re keen to see them push the boundaries of what this exciting new technology – and leather – can do.”

    Entries will be judged early in 2016 by industry experts including David Dewing, master of The Furniture Makers’ Company, Colin Wade, MD of Muirhead Leather, Charles Vernon, chairman of the Training & Education Committee, Rupert Senior, chairman of the Guild Mark Committee and senior design academic Trevor Keeble. The winner will be announced during Clerkenwell Design Week in London, in May 2016.

    The competition is open until 31 January 2016. Applications are accepted from students who are over 18 and in full time education at any college or university that is registered for the competition. The information pack and application form can be downloaded here.

  • 20-Oct-2015 3:56 PM | Kimberley White

    One of Scotland’s oldest textile companies Begg & Co has reached out to a cancer charity to create a beautiful collaboration, where 100% of the profits will go to the charity.

    The heritage label has created a capsule collection of four scarves in collaboration with the charity Maggie’s which provides free support across the spectrum to cancer patients and their loved ones, from its 18 architecturally unique centres: the structure of which was the inspiration for the designs.

    “We had been wanting to collaborate with a charity as we had not done so before, but felt that it was important to find one that we really identified with,” said Ann Ryley, director of sales and marketing at Begg & Co. “I visited the centre in Gartnavel, Glasgow and I was immediately struck by the lovely environment, where design and the garden were very important. It was quite different from a hospital and very positive. We are delighted to associate our products with it and felt that our very soft and tactile products would be comforting to someone who is ill. Maggie’s also plan to use them in their Talking Heads workshops where they work with cancer sufferers who have lost their hair.”

    See article first featured in Vogue here.


  • 19-Oct-2015 3:57 PM | Kimberley White

    Fashion Foundry have kindly shared some tips on how to make contact with fashion retailers and buyers, drawing from their wealth of expertise garnered from previous participants and events.

    A selection of their top tips:

    • Whatever promotional material you send a buyer has to look amazing. Catch the buyer’s eye – clean pack brave model shots, followed up by nice chatty email.
    • Get in early on the buying calendar – the sooner you have the collection on the shop floor, the longer your season will be.
    •  Email or post is best – never call up a buyer as time is precious and time with customers takes priority.

    To watch short videos on approaching retailers and buyers from the designer and buyer perspectives, and to read the full register of guidance, please see here.

  • 15-Oct-2015 4:05 PM | Kimberley White

    The 2016 Confessions of a Design Geek Bursary is now open for applications. For the fourth consecutive year, Confessions of a Design Geek is partnering with Home London to offer one new designer the opportunity of a lifetime, worth over £10,000.

    The winner will benefit from:

    • A complimentary stand at Home London 17 – 19 January 2016
    • A product showcase at the Barbican Centre
    • A one-week pop-up shop at West Elm
    • A one-day studio shoot with Yeshen Venema resulting in product, lifestyle and cut-out photography
    • Quarterly mentoring for one year with established artist and designer and founder of HAM, Jo Ham
    • One hour face-to-face or Skype mentoring sessions with: October Communications‘ Daniel Nelson re e-commerce, Decorum’s Justyna Sowa re social media, The Design Trust‘s Patricia van den Akker re business coaching, Seen PR’s David Gorrod re PR,  and the Barbican’s Adam Thow re working with buyers.
    • One year’s free membership of The Design Trust Business Club
    • Six months’ free membership of Press Loft, plus a 20% discount thereafter
    • A pre-show mentoring workshop with Daniel, David, Patricia, Keith, Mark, Adam and Jo hosted at West Elm, alongside shortlisted designers.
    • £100 to spend on moo.com on business cards, leaflets or whatever you need to make the most of Home London
    • Coverage on Home London website, confessions of a design geek and West Elm’s ‘Front + Main‘ blog


    If this incredible package appeals to you, and you:

    • are within your first three years of business
    • have not have had a stand of your own at a Clarion show before
    • are available 15 – 19th January 2016

    plus your products are:

    • design-led interiors or kitchenware products
    • designed and made in the United Kingdom
    • commercially viable and ready to wholesale


    Then see here for details on how to apply. Applications close on Sunday 1st November. Good luck!

  • 13-Oct-2015 4:00 PM | Kimberley White

    The wonderful Solii over at BeFab Be Creative took an hour out of her busy day to sit down with Kimberley of the STLA, and have a chat about her business.

    First up, can you tell me who you are, and a wee bit about your business?

    We are Solii and Zoe, we’re sisters and we run BeFab Be Creative Digital Fabric Print Studio.

    We’re both very creative although in different ways, my background is originally in design, having worked for Habitat in both training and management capacities.  Zoe has a science background, she chose the more sensible career option of Business Analysis and project management, within the banking sector.  So we cover a good skill set between us, whilst sharing some pretty important key values of wanting to provide a great service whatever it is we do.

    Zoe and Solii BeFab Be Creative

    At BeFab we print for small to medium size designer makers, specialising in runs from 1-5m, working with reactive dyes onto natural fabrics like silk, cotton and linen, with two linen options. We’re proud to say are woven here in Scotland.

    What made you want to get into the industry?

    Honestly, it was a bit of an accident! I was made redundant whilst Zoe had just had her daughter Izzy and we were both trying to work out what we wanted to do when we ‘grew up’.

    I was trying to get some of my own designs printed on to fabric and it seemed a bit of a horrendous and complicated process. The main problem seemed to be the requirement to print on far longer print runs than any small designer would want to work with. So after a little research, and some gentle persuasion of Zoe on my part, to look over the numbers; we got started.  Having worked together before, we knew it was something that we could do again and with what some might say is a reckless attitude we believe that there isn’t much between us we can’t learn. We decided with an obvious gap in the market that we could surely make this a much more enjoyable and simple process for new and up and coming designers looking for high-end short run printing. So that was us, after a whole lot more research meetings and conversations round the kitchen table (like with all good businesses start-ups)! Nine months later Bertha (our printer) arrived and we got to work finding out quite how hard the world of Digital Fabric printing really was, and haven’t looked back since!

    Who are the influential figures you look up to for inspiration?

    We could say some really amazing designer, successful business person or philosopher but really, the people who inspire us the most are the people around us; especially the designers we print for, their work is incredible. Also, the technical support we have in all different guises: friends and family, to the creative community in general. There are so many inspiring, hard working, passionate people working in Scotland and beyond.

    We absolutely love Fi and the MakeWorks recourse, and the guys behind Creative Edinburgh; oh and its members are superstars.  Put simply, it’s the little people just like us who work late, strive to do good things and help those around them to do the same, who we are really inspired by.

    What exciting projects does Be Fab Be Creative have in the pipeline for the near future?

    We’re really excited by Printed and Co which we launched earlier this year. Printed and Co is a curated collection of some of the very best designers we’ve worked with at BeFab. We wanted to create a home where new and emerging talented could sell their designs on a range of different fabrics options without any initial outlay themselves; so with Printed and Co we’ve created that home. So we’re looking forward to working more on this and seeing it grow from strength to strength in the next few months.

    printed co

    What is your favourite thing about your job?

    The people – our client’s reaction when they receive their orders! It’s a bit like being Santa, they seem to forget they paid and just act like we’ve sent them lovely gifts. It’s pretty awesome knowing you’ve made someone’s day.

    We also love promoting and hearing about our designer’s successes, it’s great to see that we’ve had a small part in them making their business successful. That’s what is so nice about working at this end of the market: we get to know the people we work with very well, even though more often than not we’ve never met them.

    What advice would you give to up and coming designers / makers / manufacturers in your field?

    If you’re looking to print fabric – sample. In fact if you’re looking to have anything made, always sample if you can, it may take a little longer in the short term but this usually pays off in time and money in the long run.

    If you’re starting out in anything, do your research, then however much research you’ve done accept you will still probably not know half as much as you’d like to, but you’ll learn, and most importantly that’s OK, it’s par for the course!

    Make sure you have a good support net work around you, tap into a relevant networking organisation too, no one likes to network but it is invaluable and say yes to opportunities but trust your gut when something’s not right for you or the direction you want to go.

    If you do nothing else, ‘work hard and be nice to people’, those two things go a long way no matter what you’re doing in life but starting out even more so.

    What are you looking for from the textile industry currently?

    Training and funding opportunities are always good to hear about, it’s hard to find the time to work through all the different organisations to find what opportunities are available to you, so something that made that simpler would be amazing.  We are always looking for quality seamstresses that we can add to our existing offering; it seems to be a dying art in Scotland (and the UK in general) and this desperately needs to be addressed before it’s too late!

    Any final thoughts?

    We’re really proud to be able to say we manufacture in Scotland, though our clients are all over the world. To see the designers we work with be able to add a ‘Made in Scotland’ label is such an important thing to us and we’re really optimistic about the growth of the Scottish Textile sector with so much talent still to tap into.

    For more on BeFab Be Creative:

    Visit their website

    Tweet them

    Send an enquiry

  • 05-Oct-2015 2:11 PM | Kimberley White

    Scotland is showcasing some of its luxury interior products at Holiday House NYC 2015. Holland & Sherry, The Isle Mill, Johnstons of Elgin, DC Dalgliesh, Harris Tweed Hebrides, Ronda Carman Fine Fabrics, Arran Aromatics and Glencairn Crystal will be showcasing Scotland's wonderful offerings at the premium event from 11 November – 2 December.

    Scotland’s textiles are desired across the globe and are famed for their unique quality and inspiring designs.

    We’ve been producing the very best in lace, tweed and leather for centuries and have a strong reputation as leaders in textiles for interiors. Some of Scotland’s top companies attending Holiday House NYC 2015 include; Holland & Sherry, The Isle Mill, Johnstons of Elgin, DC Dalgliesh, Harris Tweed Hebrides, Ronda Carman Fine Fabrics, and Arran Aromatics.

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