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347 Made in Britain: Leaders in fashion and design


A historic textiles school that


weaves heritage and innovation Heriot-Watt University’s School of Textiles and Design embraces the best of the past and the present, and leads the future


I


n today’s global economy, the organisations that thrive are those that honour their heritage while leading innovation. It is a


philosophy that Heriot-Watt University’s School of Textiles and Design puts into action. Founded in 1883, with its main campus based in Galashiels, near Edinburgh, it is the second-oldest textile school in the world. “We were set up by the textile industry as a teaching


institution for the UK,” says Professor Fiona Waldron, Head of School. “Everything we do here has always been industrially focused—but it’s a global industry now. As such, our research is very applied, and is useful to companies and the economy.” More than 650 students at the school’s Scotland base—plus another 220 at its second site in Dubai—pursue undergraduate and postgraduate programmes. Tese range from fashion design and ethics in the supply chain to marketing, retailing and textile innovation.


A centre for research Research is one of the school’s specific areas of strength— as recognised by the recent Research Excellence Framework, which ranked Heriot-Watt first in the UK for impact in this field. “Our input is innovative and varied; some of our students


are looking at finishes on textiles for medical applications, such as scents that can be used for the advancement of cancer treatments,” says Professor Waldron. Such research not only contributes to the development of the global textiles industry, it can also enhance profitability and the economy—and ultimately changes lives. So while some students design for the influential world


of high fashion, others are developing practical textiles for the medical industry, the automotive industry, electronics and other sectors. As a consequence, this has led to collaborations with a range of companies including heritage institutions such as Scottish Cashmere Club, the Worshipful Company of Weavers and the Worshipful Company of Dyers, and cutting-edge designers, including Eley Kishimoto and international


smart-textiles companies. “It’s about bringing innovative industry and education together,” says Professor Waldron. “And thanks to our exceptional specialist facilities, students can do everything from creating fabrics to making products and marketing them to the world.” Te school’s breadth, adaptability and amenities, combining


heritage and vision, truly address the needs of tomorrow’s industry. — www.tex.hw.ac.uk


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