The fabric of life and the fabric of the planet has been put under a microscope in more ways than one right now. But for me and the journey of Prickly Thistle, this has always been the case, tartan and its role as a fabric of the future. Started in 2015, it was never part of that initial plan to become weavers and to fight many battles behind the scenes but here we are despite all the odds we faced during 2017 and even to the present day, we have never given up. We have created 8 jobs in the area with an incredible team, rescued looms from the Scottish borders, learned old and new skills, forging raw material innovations with academics and stand by a strong Scottish supply chain. With that commitment I believe we have been given the opportunity to collaborate with some of the most exciting brands and people the world over. You can read more about some of our projects on our bespoke design website – www.pricklythistlescotland.com
Identity, values, heritage, culture, sustainability, the list goes on and there is indeed many ‘buzz’ words many businesses and designers use. But the one that sums them all for me is integrity, you must walk the walk and don’t just talk the talk. For too long tartan has largely only played a role on the past, with the present unknown to many. It has been decades of chasing history on a tight financial margin and shrinking industry. Businesses and designers have made difficult choices I know, but compromised the integrity of their product.
I feel very protective and passionate about the compromises that have been made purely because tartan is selling an authentic Scotland. The who, what, where, how and why questions are often not answered, but consumers are shown an iconic Scotland image on the hope that ticks all the boxes. We have a responsibility to be better, we must protect heritage skills, we must work with a Scottish supply chain and now more than ever we must show our creativity and commitment to the world of tomorrow.
We are indeed the rebels in the tartan pack and some questioned our lack of ‘qualification’ in this field and many asked us ‘why are you bothering?’ The answer is always it’s from the heart – this gives us the design ability, the vision, the desire to learn and the desire to challenge.
Now the only textiles mill in the mainland Highland region of Scotland , the only mill to have been established by a female and the only mill to not conform to the rules that don’t exist when weaving tartan fabrics and making tartan products – we are truly qualified rebels.
If you, like us, believe in integrity and have an inner rebel ready to say ‘here I am’, then please do browse our authentic Highland tartan collections at www.pricklythistle.shop. All of our cloth and products have been created using ancient looms, where the craftsmanship of a weaver leads and not a computer. Our products follow our strict zero waste rules and our drive for sustainability (vimeo https://vimeo.com/362754252 ), all hand finished in our studio at the mill. We offer a lay away payment option for all of our products, reversing the culture of fast fashion, where something that was made to last should not literally cost the planets resources and empower the modern slavery of people.
We say buy less, love more and above all #wearyourvalues, this starts with checking your label and ask those brands you love those questions. Demand integrity and fund integrity.