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Making it in Textiles Conference


To coincide with Wool Week, London 2014, two City Livery Companies The Clothworkers’ Company and The Weavers’ Company have combined efforts to offer a ‘Making It In Textiles’ careers advice conference to final-year textile degree students. The convention, which began yesterday (October 14th 2014) and continued on today at the Midland Hotel, Forster Square, Bradford seeks to forge stronger links between textiles courses at universities across the nation, and the UK textile manufacturing industry. The conference aims to educate students about the importance of understanding the skills required by the industry and how to apply what they have learnt in their studies to the workplace.

What The Campaign for Wool has found most interesting is the lack of resources available to students who wish to pursue a career in the booming textiles industry. This conference offers the perfect platform for experts to advise on how the industry works and how best to get into this market. Nine speakers spoke yesterday from a variety of textile industries including luxury cashmere, wool brand Brora and bespoke yarn company Laxtons. Today,  students had the chance to visit a local mill and see these industry processes in person, something which surprisingly few students usually do in their university time. The conference has offered a variety of information and we hope it has provided a full and insightful overview into career potential within the textile industry.


With the UK’s thriving wool and textile industry at an all-time high, there’s never been a better time for new and emerging talent forge a career in this lucrative field. Opportunity is rife and Campaign for Wool and the Livery companies aim to support those looking to progress a career within this booming industry. Recent figures show that turnover within the UK wool industry has risen by more than two-thirds and now equates to £270m. This is particularly strong across fashion with figures showing that the UK wool clothing market has risen across the board including menswear, womenswear, knitwear, active wear and work wear and is now worth £1.2 billion.

Day one’s conference was split into two main sessions:

The first, ‘Colour Dyeing Technology, Yarn Spinning and Designing Fabric’ included talks on ‘The Art and Science of Colour’ by Beryl Gibson, Textile Consultant, ‘Modern Dyeing Technology and its Place in the Supply Chain’ by Sinclair Paterson, Sinclair Duncan Textiles ‘The yarn perspective’ by James Laxton, Laxton Crawford and ‘A Question of Balance’ by John Gillespie, Gillespie Designs.

The second part of the day focused on ‘Weaving, Fabric Production Technology and Fabric Finishing’ with sessions on ‘The Craft of Weaving’ by Harriet Wallace-Jones and Emma Sewell, ‘The Art of Silk Weaving’ by Richard Humphries, Humphries Weaving, ‘Modern Weaving Technology’ by Gary Eastwood, Pennine Weavers Ltd and ‘Making Things Here’, Victoria Stapleton, Brora.

In total 20 educational institutions from across the UK will have participated in this free conference including: Bath Spa University, University of Brighton, De Montfort University, Derby University, Falmouth University, UCA Farnham, Glasgow School of Art, Hereford College of Art, Heriot Watt University, University of Huddersfield, University of Leeds, Loughborough University, University of the Arts  – Central St Martins, University of Manchester, Nottingham Trent, Royal College of Art, Winchester School of Art, University of the West of England and Middlesex University. We would like to thank you all for your involvement.

Quote from guest speaker, Victoria Stapleton, Brora:

“The vast majority of what we make at Brora is made in the UK. Our customers like the fact that with us they buy localised materials such as wool, which is authentic and tells a story. The passion shines through when you keep the process as close to being made in Britain as possible. Brora have mills all around the country that are central to the business as well as a selection of 50 hand knitters who also contribute from Scotland. This ensures the craft is carried on.”

We would like to thank all of our partners and sponsors for their contribution to such a well planned event, we are chuffed with the feedback we have received so far. The Campaign for Wool would also like to wish all of the students the best of luck in their studies, we can’t wait to see your creations in the future and hope you have benefitted from the Making it in Textiles Conference 2014.


@CampaignForWool  #choosewool

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