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 9,500 jobs and a turnover of £756 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, widely acknowledged as the champagne of fabrics, celebrated its centenary year in 2011.  The cloth is woven only on the Western Isles, is widely sold in the UK and exported to over 50 countries including Japan and Germany.  Recently, sales of Harris Tweed have soared and 2012 was marked as the best year for production in almost 15 years, with total production expected to reach more than a million metres of cloth by the end of the year.

Scottish tartan is consistently popular with discerning customers and leading fashion and interior designers and  Scotland’s tartan producers contribute over £204m [$319m] 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.


World-renowned and critically-acclaimed Scottish fashion designers include:

Christopher Kane

Christopher studied at Central Saint Martins for six years. He interned with Giles Deacon and Russell Sage, and was hired by Versace to work on the label's Atelier couture before setting up his own label after he graduated.  Awards include the BFC British Collection of the Year at the British Fashion Awards 2009 and the New Establishment award at the British Fashion Awards 2011.  His designs are sold in some of the most prestigious boutiques in the UK and around the world. He has also created a capsule collection for Topshop, collaborated with Beth Ditto for Swarovski’s Fashion Rocks and has designed costumes for Kylie Minogue.  Christopher has also been credited for turning around the fortunes of cashmere producer Johnstons of Elgin by partnering with the company to produce his own line of cashmere garments.

Jonathan Saunders

Print designer Jonathan graduated from Glasgow School of Art in 1999, before going on to graduate from Central Saint Martins with an MA in Printed Textiles.  Awards include: the Fashion Enterprise Award from the British Fashion Council in 2006, Elle Style Awards’ Designer of the Year in 2007 and British Designer of the Year in 2012. He coordinates designing his own label alongside his position as creative Director for Pollini.  Collaborations include collections for Topshop and US brand Target.

Graeme Armour

Hailing from the east end of Glasgow, Graeme graduated with an MA in Womenswear from Central Saint Martins, and with many seasons at Alexander McQueen under his belt, he was personally selected to meet Phoebe Philo in a competition for French fashion house Chloe and gained much hype from his uber modern final collection. In 2009 he set up his own label.

Graeme Black 

Graeme graduated in Fashion at Edinburgh University in 1998 and began his career as Assistant Designer working for, John Galliano and Zandra Rhodes amongst others.  He moved to Italy in 1993 and worked as a designer with Les Copains before joining Giorgio Armani in 1995.  He quickly rose through the ranks there to become Head Designer at Borgonuovo Black Label.  In 2003, he became Head of Womenswear for Ferragamo. 

In 2005 he launched the first Graeme Black collection. He now works solely on this, in both design and production.

Holly Fulton

Born in Edinburgh, Holly studied at Edinburgh College of Art and The Royal College of Art.  Holly won the Swarovski Emerging Talent Award for Accessories at the British Fashion Awards 2009 and the British Fashion Council /ELLE Talent Launch Pad award in 2010.  Following the success of her fifth season at London Fashion Week, Holly continues to make waves with her contemporary and luxurious, geometric, crystal and perspex encrusted take on fashion.

Louise Gray 

Born in Fraserburgh, Louise studied at The Glasgow School of Art in Textile Design and Central Saint Martins, where she completed her MA. Louise has collaborated with Topshop for make-up and clothing lines, The Victoria and Albert Museum, Nicholas Kirkwood, Pollini, Cotton USA, Judy Blame, and Nasir Mashar, Louise has been supported by Fashion East, NEWGEN, and Fashion Forward.