Fabric specialists at Heriot-Watt University’s campus in Galashiels lent their expertise to a project blending two of Scotland’s most iconic brands.
Legendary labels Johnnie Walker Black Label and Harris Tweed Hebrides collaborated to create a ‘fabric of flavour’ which was launched in Berlin earlier this month.
Months of development work, involving staff of the university’s School of Textiles and Design in Galashiels, resulted in a design reflecting the colours of the whisky ingredients, while the fabric also permanently gives off the scent of the famous whisky.
The ‘smart fabric’ has been developed for Diageo’s Johnnie Walker Black Label and features ‘microencapsulation technology’ in which the School of Textiles and Design has considerable expertise.
Donald Mackay, who heads the finishing department at the Harris Tweed Hebrides mill on Lewis, has worked with aromas in the past, but says these were only meant to withstand one dry clean.
“The process we have devised for Johnnie Walker means this scent is layered into the fabric throughout the finishing process and is permanently imbued in the tweed,” he explained.
Jim McVee, business development manager at the School of Textiles and Design, said smart textiles were a fast-developing sector offering enormous potential.
“Our brief was to assist Harris Tweed Hebrides with the development of a tweed for Johnnie Walker that incorporates a micro-encapsulated fragrance.
“Fabric technologists in Galashiels developed the prototypes, which will enable Harris Tweed Hebrides to offer products using this technology in future.”
A range of products using the Johnnie Walker Harris Tweed will now be marketed around Europe, with Germany, Greece and Belgium the initial markets. The products have been created by Milan-based designer, Angelos Bratis.
Managing director of Johnnie Walker Western Europe, Oscar Ocana, added: “Bratis’s work celebrates the craftsmanship, premium quality and blending expertise that Johnnie Walker and Harris Tweed are built upon.”