Scottish textile sector employs approx 8,800 people,
across 527 businesses manufacturing textiles,
apparel and leather products.
The Sector remains an important contributor
to the Scottish economy, with annual turnover
of £838m. Exports of Scottish textile
products are valued at £365 million.
The Scottish Fashion Awards were founded to provide an outstanding platform for Scottish creatives, from designers and photographers, to models, fashion communicators and industry leaders. Scotland is a country of magnificent heritage and culture, which was honoured at our first awards in 2006. For the first 4 years of this internationally acclaimed event, the Scottish Fashion Awards was held in the majestic Stirling Castle. As Scotland's ancient capital, seat of Kings and parliament and where Mary Queen of Scots was crowned queen of Scotland in 1543, the castle was a venue which combined our country's extensive heritage and history fused with the modern dynamism of ever-changing Scottish creativity. 2010 saw the event move venue to the internationally renowned Glasgow Science Centre. The icon of modern architecture, the new location was chosen with regards to its mission statement bringing 'a brighter future for Scotland through science experiences that engage, challenge and inspire'. With this statement, a great synergy between the ultra- contemporary building and the ambitions of the fashion world was identified; where better to showcase inspiring creativity than such a venue, which prides itself on innovation. With the great contrast between the historical references of Stirling Castle to the 21st century piece of architecture of the Glasgow Science Centre, The Scottish Fashion Awards have always been focused on promoting Scotland's rich heritage throughout their event campaign and the awards ceremony itself.
Scotland has used fashion and textiles throughout history to establish the extensive and rich heritage of the country. From the previously mentioned Mary Queen of Scots with her 16th century gowns and extravagant collars still referenced today, to our traditional tartans, fashion is part of our history. With one of the first mentioning's of tartan recorded in 1538 by King James V, tartan was originally used as a symbol of identity among Scottish clans. Since this first introduction to the textile, tartan has become a representation of Scotland and has been carried into modern day fashion, from the late Alexander McQueen and Vivienne Westwood giving it a modern touch, to being worn by the Sex Pistols and punks, our tartan has continued its established reign over the many hundreds of years. Of course it is not just tartan, which, has been identified as a main textile in our Scottish heritage, it is Harris Tweed, which has also been an integral part to our fashion history. Produced in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland, it was 1864 in which Lady Dunmore had the Murray tartan copied by Harris Tweed weavers; the result was so popular demand for the Scottish fabric reached new levels. Such popularity was proven in 1924 when Chanel started to spend more time in the Sutherland region of the Scottish Highlands during her relationship with the Duke of Westminster. Having used Shetland sourced wool previously, it was her increasing summer stays in Scotland with the Duke, which led to her creating her signature tweed garments. Not only this, but she began to use tartan and Scotland's Fair Isle patterns in her designing; these elements have continued in Chanel designs to present day.
2012 saw the exciting fashion news for Scotland when Chanel bought Hawick based Barrie Knitwear after 25 years of working with the woollen mill then set to shut. Chanel's now Creative Director, Karl Lagerfeld brought Chanel's passion for Scotland to life in 2012, bringing the annual Ready-to-Wear collection for Chanel, the 'Métiers d'Art', to Mary Queen of Scot's birthplace, Linlithgow Palace in the most extravagant show held within the palace grounds. Our celebrated Scottish heritage of fabrics was shown in the luxurious tartans and Scottish wool at the show, a proud moment for Scottish fashion history.
Chanel is not the only prestigious designer to use our coveted Scottish fabrics. So many of the world's most celebrated fashion houses have used the beautiful textiles, from tweed to wool, cashmere to tartans. Over the last 10 years we have highlighted the use of Scottish fabrics, textiles and indeed inspiration by luxury houses such as Moncler Gamme Bleu, Lou Dalton, Junya Watanabe, Moschino, Maison Martin Marigela, Marc Jacobs, Kate Spade, I'm Isola Marras, Moschino, Paul Smith, Ralph Lauren, Mulberry and Victoria Beckham utilizing our precious fabrics and textiles and indeed our enviable heritage as inspiration for their contemporary collections. Each year we honour international designers for their use of a Scottish fabric or textile and and we will continue to seek out and highlight how many creatives continue to be inspired by our heritage, craftsmanship and landscapes.