Student wins Savile Row tailor competition

A STUDENT will have her textile designs made into a sports jacket by a prestigious Savile Row tailor which inspired the Kingsman movies.

University student Lois Cowie, 22, won the design challenge set by Savile Row tailor Huntsman and Huddersfield Fine Worsteds, based in West Yorkshire, whose customers include the royal family.

The companies challenged students at Heriot-Watt’s School of Textiles and Design in Galashiels, Scottish Borders, to design a bold new fabric for menswear sports jackets with the potential to be produced commercially.

Lois, from Buckie, Moray, said her work was inspired by the sandstone tenements of Glasgow where she lived for two years.

She built the design virtually before weaving samples of cloth on the School’s looms.

‘I’m really chuffed to have won this challenge, as I put a lot of work into it’, said Lois.

‘My design is inspired by the contrasts in Glasgow’s Merchant City, where I used to live.

‘It’s full of 17th century buildings and lots of people working in serious jobs.

‘But it’s a different place at night, with lots of clubbing and celebration.

‘I tried to reflect that in my use of colours, with beiges for the sandstone buildings and reds and pinks for the night-time aspects.’

The jacket will go on display in Huntsman's window on Savile Row

Aspiring designer Lois said her grandmother was a kiltmaker and she has always loved sewing and craft.

Her design will now be woven into a 60-metre length of cloth by Huddersfield Fine Worsteds, before being tailored into a jacket by Huntsman and displayed in its window on Savile Row, a street in Mayfair, central London, that is famous for its luxury tailoring.

The weaving and tailoring of Lois’s textile design is expected to take around 12 weeks.

Iain Milligan, managing director of Huddersfield Fine Worsteds and Campbell Carey, the head cutter and creative director at Huntsman, both trained in Galashiels at The Scottish College of Textiles.

Iain said: ‘We were very impressed with the quality of the students’ work and it made finding a winner very tough.

‘Campbell and I are both from Glasgow, so we were drawn towards Lois’s Glasgow-inspired design.

‘But we also liked the big and bold design, which will work well as a woven cloth and will look good in Huntsman’s window.’

Campbell added: ‘What’s particularly remarkable is that the students have really only had two years to learn and get up to speed with weaving, which isn’t easy, as it’s a very time-consuming process.

‘But we could really see the hard work and passion of the students coming through.’

Fiona Pankhurst, assistant professor in Woven Textile Design at Heriot-Watt School of Textiles and Design, said: ‘My students have worked incredibly hard to create beautiful designs, drawing inspiration from diverse sources, so it’s wonderful to hear such positive feedback from Campbell and Iain, who are key figures in the fashion and textile industries.’

Huddersfield Fine Worsteds has roots as far back as 1532. The company is the only cloth merchant to hold a Royal Warrant to supply cloth to The Royal Household. Huntsman was established in 1849 and notably inspired the luxury tailor house setting of the Kingsman movie trilogy.

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