Internationally-known for its famous fabrics of tartan and tweed, Scotland’s fashion industry has a rich reputation for traditional Highland kilts and enviable designs.
Home to quality fabrics and skilful stylists, there’s a long list of clients looking to have their products made in Scotland. That’s why luxury brands such as Chanel and Burberry own factories in this region.
Despite the rise of new technologies and the distribution of fast fashion, companies still choose to prioritise quality of stock rather than focus solely on quantity. For instance, classic cashmere scarfs with the iconic Burberry check are still made at a 200-year old mill in Elgin!
With such a deep and diverse history in textile manufacturing, Scotland is no stranger to staying in sync with worldwide trends and concepts. From Scottish Cashmere craftmanship that’s been produced since the 18th century, to famous fashion designers such as Christopher Kane and Jonathon Saunders; the country has expertise in every textile trade.
Alongside an abundance of global and local fashion businesses, Scotland also hosts a myriad of medical and performance textile giants. With the presence of DuPont and WL Gore, international institutions are drawn to the country’s thriving economy.
So, what does this mean for aspiring students who want to delve into the fields of textiles, fashion and design?
In relation to location, studying here will place you in a powerful position; especially if you opt for the chic city of Edinburgh. Learning so close to the Scottish capital, you’ll get to visit the National Gallery of Modern Art, Jupiter Artland and the Fruitmarket contemporary art gallery.
But to experience the ultimate international creative degree and refine your skills, you’ll need to join an established textiles and design school.
That’s where the Heriot-Watt School of Textiles and Design steps in. Based a 50-minute train ride from Edinburgh, it’s one of the oldest textile teaching schools in the world. The institution has introduced students to the art of weaving, design, chemistry and dyeing since 1883.
With Dame Vivienne Westwood and Mary Portas standing as honorary graduates, the Heriot-Watt design school continues to inspire and encourage students to pursue their personal goals and aspirations. Setting an example with leading-edge education and technological knowledge, it’s no surprise that Portas labelled the School a “Willy Wonka factory of fashion!”
To complement the school’s flair for innovation, there’s a variety of valuable industry links to make use of. By connecting learners to live industry projects and working with long-standing trade bodies, Heriot-Watt can help transform your professional portfolio into an exceptional display of talent.
If you’re ready to expand your creativity and take your qualification to the next level, the dynamic array of postgraduate programmes might spark your interest.
With five core postgraduate subjects to capture your imagination, you can enhance your artistic abilities through the MA Interior Architecture and Design, MA Knitwear (Design, Heritage and Production), MA Fashion and Textiles Design, MSc Ethics in Fashion and MSc Fashion Textiles Management courses.
All postgraduate pathways capitalise on Heriot-Watt’s industry partnerships. During the MA Interior Architecture and Design programme, for example, you’ll join exclusive projects with the British Institute for Interior Design. And for the MSc Fashion Textiles Management course, you’ll also attend trade fairs and global exhibitions including Première Vision in Paris.
Undeniably, the Scottish textiles and design school also benefits from having a capital connection. By train, it’s easy to access sightseeing hotspots and explore the sheer beauty of the countryside.
With lecture halls and workshop walls bursting with creative energy, the school hosts annual degree shows to exhibit the latest student ensembles. At the 2018 Degree Show, final year learners had the chance to celebrate the end of an era with a captivating catwalk show and vibrant displays.
This HW School of Textiles and Design event attracted press photographers and representatives from Radio Borders and ITV Borders, so many of the student designs had unique chance to be publicised over popular media networks.
Another advantage of following your ambitions and furthering your education with Heriot-Watt is that you’ll be at the centre of the Creative Heartlands.
According to Anna Freemantle-Zee, Director of Edinburgh International Fashion Festival, “I visited Heriot-Watt University and got the chance to see what they’re doing. It’s such a fast-moving industry, but they’re teaching their textile and design students the traditional way of how to design fabrics and merging it with new technology- it’s a brave and innovative approach.”
As you can see from regular student success stories, the school’s methods of mixing contemporary with traditional styles are more than effective. Even though the school maintains a grip on current trends in the global textile, art and fashion industries, it still makes space for daring ideas and out-of-the-box creations.
So, if you’re eager to set your creative career alight and wish to collaborate with a world-class school of design, Heriot-Watt will provide the postgraduate pass you need to artistically thrive.