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Made in Scotland - Forth Rail Bridge
Scotland

What Does Being Made in Scotland Mean?

Written by Sinclair Paterson

Scotland’s Design and Innovation influence on the World

Scotland’s Impact

At Kinalba, we carry the stamp of ‘Made in Scotland’ with pride. Within the cashmere industry this signifies the ultimate in quality. It also provides customers, across the world, with the reassurance they’re only buying the very best. But it’s not just in the cashmere industry where being made in Scotland has been an indicator of true quality. This spans industries, sectors, as well as many a generation and era.

I decided to reflect back and understand the impact that Scotland has contributed to the world stage of innovation and design over the ages. And, as we’re inspired to create our own modern take on Scottish design, I’ve taken a look at some of the more recent trends that are emerging, and the brands and people behind them.

Overview Of Scottish Design Contribution

Scotland’s impact on modern civilisation is possibly unmatched but often unheralded. This rich history, fueled by creativity and inventiveness, has yielded the world with much of today’s way of life. The origins of modern economics, sociology and linguistics can all be traced to the Scottish Enlightenment; to medicine such as penicillin and insulin that keeps us healthy; to pneumatic tyres and the tarmacadam roads they traverse; to household items such as the television and telephone; and more recently to the software and gaming industry such as Grand Theft Auto. It’s no coincidence that the V&A, the world’s leading museum of art and design, decided to open in Dundee.

A Look Back At Scottish Innovation In Textile Design

From the initial intellectual foundation of the Enlightenment emerged The Victorian era of industrialisation. This is when the growth of the textile manufacture truly blossomed. And this is where our roots are intrinsically connected to those earlier days – the same buildings, locations, and techniques learned over generations since. The creation of mill towns sprang up in the Scottish Borders (including Galashiels) to produce high quality fabrics and textiles, which were exported all over the world. These mills towns still stand today, in many ways depleted, but now sparking a renaissance as the world moves away from fast fashion back to quality and provenance. Fashion houses such as Chanel and Burberry amongst others still produce their fabrics here today.

Inside a textile mill in Galashiels.

Innovation in Textile Dyeing and Colouring

One of the big influences on the Scottish textile and design industry was Bernat Kelin – the visionary textile designer and colourist. Klein founded his business in the Scottish Borders in 1952, where he produced innovative fashion fabrics for the couture houses of Europe. Although originally from Serbia, Bernat Klein, opened a weaving mill in Galashiels in 1952 to produce innovative textiles and rugs. He became famous for his strikingly bold use of colour. It was in the 1960s, that his work was used by Chanel and other top fashion houses across the world. His signature fabrics included vibrant tweeds, incorporating textures such as mohair, velvet, or ribbon. As a leading innovator and creative thinker whose outlook was international, Bernat Klein located his particular design and artistic philosophy in the Scottish Borders for some sixty years. Kinalba is deeply connected to Klein through the colour dye techniques invented alongside my father. It’s no wonder my textile specialism is in dyeing and creating beautiful colours for the Kinalba range.

Kinalba is deeply connected to Bernat Klein through the colour dye techniques invented alongside my father, Duncan Paterson.

Modern Scottish Design and Innovation

In the more modern era Scotland has been innovating and leading in industries very much of today’s world . It was around 15 years ago now, but who can forget Dolly the Sheep, the first cloned mammal? Dolly was a genetic copy, cloned from the nuclear DNA of an adult mammary gland cell. This was a breakthrough in science which dismissed long-existing notions that adult mammals could not be cloned. This feat sparked many a debate about possible (mis)uses of genetic engineering.

Another modern field of Scottish innovation and design excellence is in technology and software. Most of us will be familiar with the global success of the grand Theft Auto Series, designed by Rockstar North in Edinburgh. The wider gaming industry success has been fuelled by renowned Scottish Universities creating skilled graduates for the games industry – indeed Scotland has a critical mass of experienced games developers. Outside of gaming, Scottish success in modern design is springing up all over the place as Glasgow and Edinburgh cement their place as thriving technology hubs. This spans across all industries now but one area at the very forefront is fintech. New start-ups producing apps, services, and technology solutions are coming through thick and fast. LendingCrowd is one such example which spearheaded the push to make finance readily available (through peer to peer lending) to small businesses, who found it increasingly difficult to get financial support from traditional banks.

Bernat Klein’s famous ‘See-Through House’ outside Galashiels.

Trends and Influences Shaping The Decades Ahead

Although our textile industry is one of heritage, we definitely see ourselves as a forward-looking and modern company. We don’t want to dwell on the past but seek to take things forward as best we can. This can happen in a number of ways as the demands of today’s world often dictate.

One such example is in sustainability and striving to do what it takes to be best we can be in that area. Scotland as a country has been pioneering in sustainable and environmental innovation. John McGeehan is one such Scottish pioneer, McGeehan is a research scientist and professor of structural biology. In 2018, he co-led an international team of scientists who characterised and engineered an enzyme with the ability to breakdown the primary material used in the manufacture of single-use plastic bottles (as well as in some clothing and carpets). This breakthrough is currently in development and will help to clear up the polluted oceans. Approximately 1 million plastic bottles are sold every minute. I think McGeehan is an inspiration in helping save our planet for the next generation.

When it comes to renewable energy, Scotland is a global leader. A recent highlight includes the world’s first floating wind farm delivering electricity to the Scottish grid. Scotland is also home to the world’s first tidal array, and Europe’s largest hydrogen bus fleet. Wind energy is a favourite in Scotland, but other renewable energy sources include solar, geothermal, hydroelectric, hydrokinetic, and biomass as Scotland innovates the sector to ensuring the country becomes carbon free.

Made in Modern Scotland

I’ve only been able to touch on a fraction of Scotland’s design and innovation contribution to society as I skipped quickly through the ages. Pound-for-pound, it’s possible that Scotalnd’s influence on the world is unmatched. For me, that’s a source of true inspiration as we seek to continue our own development by combining the old craftsmanship techniques with new ways of thinking. What remains constant is that being ‘Made in Scotland’ is an enduring stamp of the best in design and quality.

Gift Wrapping - Information

Have your luxurious Kinalba product gift wrapped in elegant, sustainable packaging. Our gift to you is that it’s completely free of charge – as is delivery. We will handwrite your message for that personal touch. You can include this in the check out process before payment. Thank you for shopping with Kinalba x

Terms

  • All packaging is recyclable and intended to be used as many times as possible to store your product or for any other purpose.
  • Packaging includes tissue paper to protect your product and then inserted into a Kinalba branded gift envelope (tied with a tartan ribbon during the Festive Season). If you have purchased a Balvenie Throw then we use a large Kinalba box.
  • Notes are hand-written on recycled A6 card and are limited to 120 characters.
  • Where possible we will reduce the amount of packaging by placing two items in one gift envelope.
  • Our service is free of charge.

Gift Wrapping - Information

Have your luxurious Kinalba product gift wrapped in elegant, sustainable packaging. Our gift to you is that it’s completely free of charge – as is delivery. We will handwrite your message for that personal touch. You can include this in the check out process before payment. Thank you for shopping with Kinalba x

Terms

  • All packaging is recyclable and intended to be used as many times as possible to store your product or for any other purpose.
  • Packaging includes tissue paper to protect your product and then inserted into a Kinalba branded gift envelope (tied with a tartan ribbon during the Festive Season). If you have purchased a Balvenie Throw then we use a large Kinalba box.
  • Notes are hand-written on recycled A6 card and are limited to 120 characters.
  • Where possible we will reduce the amount of packaging by placing two items in one gift envelope.
  • Our service is free of charge.