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Fernweh Logbook #003 - A Collaboration with the Scottish Textiles Showcase

by Laura Sherriffs |

Over the last year or so, I've been delighted to have been involved with several wonderful collaborative projects, that share in my passion for slow textiles and material provenance. 


Fashion Revolution Week 2022 has just finished, for those who are unsure of what Fashion Revolution Week is, it is an annual global campaign focussed towards creating a safer, more transparent and less wasteful fashion industry, one which empowers consumers to drive change and ask brands #WhoMadeYourClothes? 


However, with a true Fashion Revolution comes all year round, and is a process of shopping mindfully, with purpose and making informed choices where possible and looking after your clothes and accessories so they last, diverting products from landfill for as long as possible. The fashion industry is the second most polluting industry in the world, so we all have a responsibility to slow down the juggernaut of "fast fashion" where people and the environment are exploited to create billions of garments every year.


"Buy Less. Choose Well. Make it Last" - Vivienne Westwood



With that in mind, I wanted to share a bit more about my most recent collaboration, with the fantastic Scottish Textiles Showcase in Edinburgh.


Image features a tote bag worn over the shoulder by a model wearing a green tweed coat. The tote bag is made from a rust waxed cotton, with a Harris Tweed panel in the middle and an olive waxed cotton on the bottom


The Scottish Textiles Showcase was founded in 2019 by Kitty Bruce-Gardyne, and is nestled just off the Royal Mile in Edinburgh. The shop itself is a curated treasure trove of high quality, luxury curated Scottish textile design. STS are champions of Scotland's rich textiles heritage and they aim to celebrate not only this, but the makers themselves, and the stories behind the cloth.

From tartan, tweed, cashmere, linen and lace, Scotland's textiles are in a class of their own and have gained a world wide reputation for excellence.

The Scottish Textiles Showcase highlight the importance about the Scottish provenance of the products on their shelves, and the appreciation for the craftsmanship required to make each of their products, and how important it is to support the Scottish textiles industry, to give it the longevity to thrive into further generations. 





I was absolutely delighted to meet founder Kitty last year, and this year was asked to create a special range of bags exclusively for the Showcase, that celebrate fabric, slowly made textiles and the story of the cloth. 


One of the first names that springs to mind when you say "Scottish Textiles" are the iconic Harris Tweed, and it was a joy to incorporate this heritage Scottish cloth into a modern Fernweh design, with my signature Scottish waxed cotton and leather detailing. 
Luskentyre Beach



Selected by the Scottish Textiles Showcase, the Harris Tweeds used in the collaborative bags are hand woven on the Isle of Harris and Lewis by master craftsman Donald John Mackay MBE. His weaving shed overlooks the bay of Luskentyre in the south of the island which is famous for its  natural beauty.  The  two of Donald John's signature Harris Tweeds used in the collection are an earthy green with soft hues of browns, greens, greys and a sky blue with hues of lavender. You can really see the landscape in the cloth and it was an absolute honour to work with fabric woven by such a skilled artisan.



Each tweed was paired with the signature Fernweh waxed cotton, produced by Halley Stevensons in Dundee. The bold blue and navy bring out the hues of the Sky Harris Tweed, also giving a lovely base for the lavender hues to almost sparkle. The "Sky" colourway really makes me think of coastal sunsets, where the sea almost bleeds into the sky and you can't make out the horizon line. 



The "Earth" colour way was paired with an olive green and a rust waxed cotton, to bring out the browns and deep greens in the tweed. A more muted palette to the Sky, but I still think it has a lot of impact and really helps tell the story of the tweed. 


Halley Stevensons have been my waxed cotton supplier since around 2016, and I am really proud to use their fabrics in my work, and really fly the flag for Scottish Textiles. Based in Dundee, just an hour away from my studio, they originated as a jute mill in 1864, before moving into waterproofing textiles at the turn of the century. They still remain at the original site, and are bastions of the Scottish textiles industry and are at the forefront of innovation and creating sustainable, transparent textiles. 
The collaboration is finished off with oak bark tanned leather strap detailing, from the UK's only remaining oak bark tannery in Devon. This is the best leather I have ever worked with, and it's whole production is tied directly to the land. The whole tanning method takes fourteen months, and used a 400 water wheel to power the tanning process, and the leather is tanned from oak bark, which is  sustainably coppiced from local oak trees by the local forest management.  The leather is strong, durable and weathers beautifully. 
These three materials have so much heritage and skilled artisans who create them, and to bring them together as a modern, functional design was an absolute joy. I love to tell the stories of the cloth, and why it is so important to support local textile producers. The cloth itself has so much value in the process, the artisan and the techniques used to create them and I hope each of these bags become heirloom pieces in their wearer's lives. 
I hope you enjoyed learning more about this wonderful collaboration. These bags are available in store at the Scottish Textiles Showcase in Edinburgh, but also on the Scottish Textiles Showcase website.
Fernweh UK

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