Much of the Scottish textiles sector is clustered around the Scottish Borders and represents a key source of employment for the area. In 2014, the sector still employed 1,500 people and while there has been an overall decline due to the rise of outsourced manufacturing to low-cost countries, growth opportunities exist around higher value activities in technical textiles and fashion/design.

With leading fashion houses like Chanel, Louis Vuitton and Vivienne Westwood as major buyers of regional textiles, Herriot Watt School of Textiles and Design leading the textile industry in training and education, and the arrival of the Great Tapestry of Scotland in the Scottish Borders, the Borders Railway catchment is an attractive prospect for textile and fashion businesses. 

Textile businesses are literally woven into the fabric of the area and new companies are harnessing traditional skills base, with modern technologies and contemporary fashion design.

There are close links between the textile industry, tourism and the food & drink sector, particularly around the promotion of a “Premium Scotland” brand, which enriches the overall visitor experience of the region.

Heriot Watt School of Textiles and Design

Heriot-Watt's School of Textile in Galashiels leads the textile industry in training and education. Their unrivalled facilities are the decision factor for industry and students alike in choosing the School of Textiles & Design for professional development, commercial research and study.

See the class of 2016's work in last year’s annual Fashion Show:

Heriot Watt School of Textiles and Design 2016 Fashion Show


The Borders textile industry is not just a thing of the past. See how Heriot Watt graduate and experienced fashion designer, Alex Feecham, is avoiding the "shrink it and pink it" approach by producing award winning, female friendly cycling clothes right here in the Scottish Borders.