This is the second in our series of posts about the ‘People Behind the Processes’, delving into the motivations, products and design of our brand new Edinburgh Castle Tweed. Today, we go behind the scenes with Jackie, a Buyer at Historic Environment Scotland (HES).
We’re always looking for ways to bring the story of Edinburgh Castle to life. As I work in retail, my role is to do this by introducing fresh new products to the castle shop.
As the textiles buyer for over 70 gift shops at historical sites across Scotland, I had a strong idea of what our customers would like. For me, it was an obvious choice to design a tweed for Edinburgh Castle – but it had to be a natural fit for the castle, and for the city of Edinburgh itself.
‘Traditional’ tweed is often associated with the countryside. This means the colours and patterns usually reflect that sort of landscape. For this new initiative, I didn’t feel this was quite right.
I wanted to develop our tweed in a different way – something new that would link back to the city. The colours had to reflect the rich history and landscape of the city of Edinburgh and the castle overlooking it. The check of the tweed also had to be flexible enough to work on the different products I had in mind.
We designed and created the Edinburgh Castle Tweed on restored looms at Knockando Woolmill in the Spey Valley. The mill operates traditionally, with heritage at its core. As well as using traditional machines and techniques, they are committed to training new craftspeople. They were able to do this thanks in part to support from HES in conservation and restoration.
Knockando Woolmill already manufactures scarves and throws for their own mill shop. After seeing the quality of their work, I knew they were the perfect supplier to create the Edinburgh Castle Tweed scarf and throw.
Bags, purses and wallets were outside the Woolmill’s usual spec, so I approached Maccessori, the Glasgow-based luxury bag designer, to create these items for the range. We’d worked with them in the past and I knew their ‘off-the-shelf’ range had a broad appeal, making them the perfect choice to manufacture a selection of bespoke bags and accessories in the Edinburgh Castle Tweed.
I wanted to include a backpack as part of the bag selection to keep the collection fresh. Maccessori rose to the challenge, creating their first ever backpack – and the result was perfect. A very stylish backpack that sits perfectly as part of the range and adds a notch to Maccessori’s manufacturing belt.
We designed the collection with fashion in mind. It’s both for locals looking for something unique, and tourists looking for authentic Scottish style to take home.
But let’s not forget our adorable Edinburgh Castle Tweed bears, created by Galashiels-based Sue Nicol Designs!
We put a lot of effort into the design process so we could offer something new, fresh and bespoke to Edinburgh Castle. We’re really happy with the results – but what do you think? Let us know by sending us a tweet @EdinburghCastle.