The Scottish Borders is widely recognised as ‘Scotland’s Premier Textile Manufacturing Region’, home to historic textile towns and Herriot Watt University’s School of Textiles and Design, in Galashiels. The school attracts students and visiting lecturers from around the world every year.
The Border’s textile manufacturing history dates back many hundreds of years, the fast-flowing border rivers powering the region’s Mills. Towns such as Hawick, Selkirk and Peebles produce some of the world’s finest fabrics, woollens and tweeds for leading brands like Chanel, Hermes, Bora, Hugo Boss to name but a few. You’ll still find many of them right here on our high streets today.
Hawick, nestled in the heartlands of The Borders, is often referred to as the ‘Home of Cashmere’, having produced some of the highest quality cashmere the world has known. With manufacturing still taking place with the likes of Barrie Knitwear Ltd, Johnstons of Elgin, Lochcarron of Scotland, Lovat Mill, William Lockie, plus smaller well established businesses working in niche markets.
The product we now recognise as Tweed also has its origins in the Hawick area. The original name of the cloth was Tweel (Scots for Twill) and the name Tweed was actually stumbled upon by chance. In 1831 a London merchant received a shipment from a Hawick firm, misreading the label as Tweeds. Understanding it to be a name taken from the River Tweed that flows through the area. Subsequently it was renamed and the name has stuck ever since.
The Centre of Excellence
The Centre of Excellence for Textiles was opened with the aim of delivering business critical skills back into the textile sector, helping these businesses address succession planning issues they were facing. Creating a positive destination for school leavers, the unemployed and those looking for a career change, we’re very proud to have supported a number of individuals into full-time employment with major industry players based in the area.
We have also worked with a number of these businesses in developing and upskilling individuals already working within their team.