Competition focuses Scottish textiles at internationally renowned Fashion Institute of Technology

The Scottish textiles industry is set to receive a boost from a design competition which will see some of the most talented fashion design students from New York's Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) create innovative garments using Scottish fabrics.

Sponsored by Scottish Development International, the Scottish themed fashion and design competition has been created exclusively for fashion design students at internationally recognised FIT.

Entitled ‘City meets Country, Scotland means Style’, the competition celebrates Scotland’s long history of textiles innovation and will help raise the profile of the Scottish textiles industry within the USA.  

The students will be challenged to create a design for each of three different styles - evening wear, sportswear and city wear, all inspired by the beauty of Scotland’s landscape. Twelve finalists will be selected, and the finalists’ garments with be displayed in New York during Scotland Week next spring, with the winner receiving $1000 and the opportunity to spend a week-long placement with one of Scotland’s leading textiles companies.

Commenting at the launch of the competition in New York today, Lena Wilson, Chief Executive of Scottish Enterprise, said, “This competition puts Scotland’s vibrant textiles industry at the very heart of one of the world’s leading design schools.

“It raises awareness of Scottish produce and celebrates the industry’s reputation for excellence, innovation and reliability. From stylish Scottish cashmere to beautifully crafted woven tweeds, the Scottish textiles industry offers unrivalled service and access to a wealth of talent and experience in design, fabric innovation and technical quality.”

Marilyn Hefferen, Assistant Professor in FIT’s Department of Fashion Design and contest coordinator, said, “The entries took in every imaginable look, from voluminous ball gowns to funky golfing trousers. We had an overwhelming response from the students.”

Hefferen noted, “We teach them about Scottish textiles and they’ve probably seen them before in the collections of designers like Alexander McQueen and Vivienne Westwood. But this is a chance to see a huge variety of textiles up close and really work with them.”

Eight Scottish mills have sponsored a fantastic variety of fabric swatches and have provided cloth for students of FIT to make into garments.

The judging panel consists of Sandra Murray MBE, Scottish designer to royalty; Lauren Milligan, Fashion News Editor, UK; Sue Stone, Manager Harvey Nichols, Bristol; Brian Rennie, Creative Director, Gant; Malcolm Burkinshaw, Head of Fashion, Edinburgh College of Art; and Bob Galbraith, Sales Director, Calzeat & Co.

Judging takes place at the end November and winners will be announced in March next year. Finalists’ garments and display sketches will be exhibited in a prominent Scottish venue in June.

For more information on Scottish Enterprise Textiles visit

Notes to editors

The Scottish textiles industry employs more than 10,000 people across 655 businesses within the fashion, textiles and interior sectors.  The industry has an annual turnover of almost £1 billion and generates export sales of around £390 million. 

The eight Scottish textiles companies involved in the competition are Reid & Taylor, Robert Noble, Johnstons of Elgin, Lochcarron of Scotland, Calzeat & Co; Harris Tweed Hebrides; Harris Tweed Textiles; Holland & Sherry and Smiths of Peterhead.

FIT, a leader in professional career-oriented education, is a selective college of art and design, business and technology of the State University of New York (SUNY), with 44 majors leading to the AAS, BFA, BS, MA, and MPS degrees.  The college serves more than 10,000 students and offers courses in a wide range of fields, among them jewellery design, fashion design, advertising and marketing communications, toy design, home products development, and fashion merchandising management.  Visit

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