A textile design student from the north east of Scotland is celebrating after making an early career debut on Savile Row, London’s famous luxury tailoring street.

Lois Cowie, 23, from Buckie in Moray, said she was “thrilled” to see one of her textile designs on display in Savile Row as a men’s sports jacket after winning an industry competition at Heriot-Watt University’s School of Textiles and Design.

Yorkshire weaver, Huddersfield Fine Worsteds, and Savile Row fashion house and tailor, Huntsman, set the student textile design challenge a year ago and have now woven and hand-made Lois’s winning design into a luxury sports jacket.
Lois looks at a jacket made from her winning fabric
Seeing the jacket for the first time in Huntsman’s store at 11 Savile Row, London, Lois said: “It’s an incredible feeling to see my design idea transform from a spark of inspiration into this astonishingly beautiful and superbly made sports jacket.

“I am chuffed to bits and really excited about how this might help me pursue my dream of a career in textiles design.”
Campbell Carey, the Head Cutter and Creative Director at Huntsman, and Iain Milligan, Managing Director of Huddersfield Fine Worsteds, both trained in Galashiels at The Scottish College of Textiles, the forerunner to Heriot-Watt School of Textiles and Design.

They challenged third year students on Heriot-Watt’s BA (Hons) Design for Textiles degree to design a new lambswool fabric for menswear sports jacketing that was bold and fresh.

Huddersfield Fine Worsteds, an internationally renowned fabric manufacturer that supplies the Royal Household and customers including the world's biggest design houses, then wove Lois’s winning design into a 60-metre length of cloth.

Iain Milligan said: “We were looking for a textile design that combined a bit of ingenuity and excitement and were really impressed with Lois’s design. Our process included translating Lois’s design to make sure it was suitable to be woven through our production looms.

“It’s fantastic to see the final jacket and we think it will make a real style statement as weekend wear.”

As a bespoke tailor, Huntsman garments are made by hand and typically start with taking around 30 measurements to guarantee a perfect fit. The house was established in 1849 and has outfitted kings and queens, Hollywood stars, musicians and designers including Nicole Kidman, David Bowie, Coco Chanel and Marc Jacobs.

Campbell Carey said: “At Huntsman we are passionate about championing the future generation of bespoke craftspeople. Lois’s design is a perfect example of what can be achieved when contemporary skills are applied to traditional practices. Our team have really enjoyed working with Lois’s design and we’re delighted that she likes the result as much as we do. We think Lois has a natural flair for textile design and has a bright future ahead of her.”

Huntsman will now include Lois’s textile design in their fabric swatches, which customers use to choose the fabric for their garment.
(L-R) Campbell Cary, Lois Cowie and Iain Milligan
Fiona Pankhurst, Assistant Professor in Woven Textile Design at Heriot-Watt School of Textiles and Design, said: “This has been a fantastic project for our school and has given our students a real insight into commercial textile design.

“We’re absolutely delighted for Lois that her design had made it onto Savile Row – and wish her all the best in her future career.”
Lois said her check design, in warm biscuit, red and pink colours, was inspired by the old sandstone buildings of Glasgow’s Merchant City, where she lived for a few years.
Knoll Yarns, a Yorkshire-based supplier of lambswool and pure new wool yarns to the UK and global knitwear and weaving industries, provided discounted yarn for the project.

Heriot-Watt School of Textiles and Design dates back to 1883, when classes in weaving, dyeing and chemistry were introduced to train workers for the local textiles industry.

The School is a centre of excellence in design, with Honorary Graduates including late British fashion icon, Dame Vivienne Westwood. It is based on Heriot-Watt’s Scottish Borders Campus, which is built around a historic mill in Galashiels, at the heart of Scotland's luxury textile industry.

Huddersfield Fine Worsteds has roots as far back as 1532 and is the only cloth merchant to hold a Royal Warrant to supply cloth to The Royal Household.

Huntsman notably inspired the luxury tailor house setting of the Kingsman movie trilogy, starring actor Colin Firth.