Fashion and Textiles
The international reputation of Scotland’s fashion industry is, by no means, a recent development. From our traditional Highland dress - the kilt - which dates back to the 16th century, to the contemporary designers currently gracing the catwalks and glossy pages of our fashion magazines, Scottish fashion has enviable credentials, which not only put us on the fashion map but also generate 8,400 jobs and a turnover of £835 million each year. The sector also exports to more than 150 countries worldwide, and has a vibrant future – underpinned by the quality, diversity, innovation and design of Scottish fashion.
Scotland’s fashion economy
Scotland’s textile industry boasts an enviable client list which includes Chanel, Hermès, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Prada, Ralph Lauren, Donna Karen and YSL, as well as Boeing, BMW, Alfa Romeo, Jaguar, Emirates Airlines and British Airways.
Harris Tweed, the only fabric in the world governed by its own Act of Parliament, celebrated its centenary year in 2011. The cloth is woven only in the Outer Hebrides by crofters in their own homes, using century-old methods. It is widely sold in the UK and exported to over 50 countries including Japan and Germany. Recently, sales of Harris Tweed have soared and the total production reached more than a million metres of cloth last year (and it expected to surpass that this year!).
Scottish tartan is consistently popular with discerning customers and leading fashion and interior designers and Scotland’s tartan producers contribute over £125m [$185m] a year to the Scottish economy.
With craftsmanship perfected over 300 years, Scottish cashmere is another guarantee of quality. Only one mill in Britain carries out the entire cashmere weaving process from raw fibre to finished garment and that mill is located in the Scottish Highlands. Produced since the 18th century, cashmere is, for many, the last word in luxury. Scottish cashmere is supplied to some of the world’s most prestigious fashion houses including Chanel, Prada, Louis Vuitton and Burberry.
Scotland also is home to some of the world leaders in medical and performance textiles with the presence of Ahlstrom, WL Gore, and DuPont., all based in Scotland.