The unique project – a partnership between Galashiels-based Sinclair Duncan Textiles Ltd and Developing Young Workforce Borders, linking with Heriot-Watt University and local secondary schools places a strong focus on knowledge-sharing and skill-building for young people, creating links between school, higher education and industry.
Each team comprised of a group of four S3 pupils studying art and design who were mentored and guided by students from the university.
Over a six-month period, the creative teams were asked to develop a scarf from concept through production to customer.
Sinclair Duncan and the university offered opportunities throughout to learn about the details of design, the challenges of manufacturing a luxury product and, most-importantly, to consider who they are making the scarf for.
The competition prize was to have their final designs made into a cashmere scarf by Sinclair Duncan to go on sale at Abbotsford Visitor Centre.
The four Earlston High School pupils – Ella McRae, Rose Grant, Nell Green and Rohan Bell – who are now in S4, were presented with their finished scarf while they gave their approval of the carefully-curated display.
Ella explained more about their design inspiration.
She said: “We were inspired by the gardens at Abbotsford House. They are colourful and have lots of different flowers.
“We were also inspired by starry nights and the moonlit sky.
“We decided on our colours from the yarn palette, based on the aspects of the house on a starry night and a full moon.”
On seeing the scarf, Rose was delighted with the outcome.
She told us: “It’s really smooth and soft and the colours work well together.”
The original plan was to have the scarf ready for market in May 2020, but this was put on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Having this unique scarf available in the visitor centre for the Christmas shopping season has really boosted the staff at Abbotsford, who are encouraging everyone to shop local this year and support the surrounding community.
Giles Ingram, chief executive at Abbotsford, said: “We are absolutely delighted with the scarves. The pupils should be extremely proud of their efforts.
“Our customers are always keen to purchase high-quality products that they know have been made locally in the Borders, so I believe these scarves will be very popular.
“The fact they are limited edition makes them even more appealing, perfect for a Christmas gift.”