Luxury endures in the Scottish Textiles Industry

Using luxury as a form of evolution will be the main theme at this year’s Annual Scottish Textiles Industry Conference and Dinner which takes place in Edinburgh today (Thursday 22nd October).

Now in its sixth year, the event is a must for Scotland’s Textiles Industry which has a long and distinguished heritage and is world-renowned for its quality, diversity, innovation and design. The industry has evolved and developed over time and today is predominantly focused on niche markets, in luxury fabrics and cashmere knitwear, in designer brands and in specialist technical markets. With more than 650 companies, the sector employs around 10,200 and with an annual turnover of £967 million, remains a crucial contributor to the Scottish economy.

Making the keynote address at the conference is Mark Tungate, a Paris based journalist and Brands and Luxury expert. Mark will focus on the concept of luxury, the issues surrounding it and how Scottish companies should be thinking of luxury as a means of growing their business. He will share his own experiences and expertise and detail how many companies are now marketing the rarity and craftsmanship of their goods as more and more people seek a return to genuine values such as timeliness, authenticity, sincerity and exemplary standards – all of which are inherent in sustainable luxury.

Indeed, Scottish companies are already punching above their weight in luxury fashion and niche markets with leading fashion and interior textiles brands continuing to purchase innovative and exciting fabrics from Scotland. Prestigious projects in 2009 for example, have included the refurbishment of the White House for President Obama when Lanarkshire-based textile firm Calzeat and Co Ltd and Perth-based Macnaughton Holdings Ltd were selected to provide the fabrics for President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama’s new-look White House.

As well as this, a number of Scottish brands such as Peter Scott, Todd & Duncan and Johnstons have seen increased demand for their luxury cashmere in European markets. Others such as Hawick Cashmere, Beggs and Mackintosh are working hard to ensure that their brands are prominent in key locations and are using advertising and PR campaigns to further grow and strengthen their brand in specific markets.

Cathy Black, Head of Textiles, Scottish Enterprise said: “Despite the current economic climate and the recent setbacks associated with this, the textiles sector continues to be the seventh largest manufacturing sector and seventh largest exports sector in Scotland.”

“This conference provides an excellent opportunity for Scottish companies to network and share their experiences whilst gaining first-hand advice and practical guidance from Scotland’s most influential entrepreneurs and industry experts.”

To ensure that Scottish business can continue to face the challenges of the current economic climate and to encourage them to capitalise on new opportunities for growth that still exist, this year’s conference will feature four practical workshops. The sessions will focus on the pertinent topics of innovation, internationalisation, leadership and productivity.

Delegates will also benefit from the unique opportunity of being able to network with other companies within the sector and share new ideas, practices and common views on how best to succeed in high-end niche markets and drive forward enterprise.

The conference will be followed by an industry dinner at which John Swinney, MSP and Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Sustainable Growth, will detail the support and recognition given by the Scottish Government to the Scottish Textiles Industry and the importance of it to Scotland’s economy.

The Scottish Textiles team at Scottish Enterprise is committed to working with the sector to ensure Scottish companies can successfully adapt and compete in an industry facing a global market-place that continually changes with unprecedented speed and magnitude. 

Notes to editors

The Scottish Textiles Industry Conference and Dinner 2009 takes place on Thursday 22nd October at Apex Waterloo Place Hotel, 23 Waterloo Place, Edinburgh, EH1 3BH.

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