When it comes to fashion, we tend to think of cities such as London, Milan and New York as the leading lights.
Yet the Borders is a fashion forward player, with strong design-led companies that make and export clothing, accessories and fabrics, for both their own labels and other major fashion brands, around the world.
When it comes to designer knitwear, Hawick is a centre of excellence.
Barrie knitwear was recently bought by Chanel, which should give you some indication of the company’s importance in the fashion world.
Hawick Cashmere, with its beautiful fully-fashioned knitwear and Peter Scott, with its heritage in sports knitwear, are established in their field.
Johnston’s of Elgin, produces its own fashion range of knitwear and knitted accessories, as well as commissioned production for some of the largest fashion brands in the world.
Shorts of Hawick also supplies commissioned production knitwear and its “love cashmere” retail space and fashion brand is very popular.
The House of Cheviot’s traditional socks or hose, and Scott and Charters beautiful men’s and women’s knitwear are both produced in Hawick, while the town’s William Lockies commissions knitters.
Over in Galashiels, Rosie Eribé produces and exports knitwear to the world. You will often find Eribé knitwear gracing the fashion pages of glossy magazines.
Studio Roam, also in Galashiels, is known for its beautiful knitted blankets, while Kearse and Boys, of Innerleithen, produce knitwear for some of the world’s leading brands.
Weaving is another great tradition that has a strong foothold in the Borders.
Reid and Taylor, of Langholm produce beautiful men’s suiting, while Locharron of Scotland, in Selkirk, produces an amazing range of tartans and tweed fabrics for some of the world’s major brands.
Still in the town, Andrew Elliot produces design-led fabrics and accessories for private clients and films, including Harry Potter.
While DC Dalgleish create beautiful tartans that are sold the world over.
Lovatt mill, in Hawick, produces beautiful tweed fabrics, and Robert Noble, Peebles, has carved out a niche for itself, producing fashion fabrics for export to the leading fashion and clothing brands.
Still in Peebles, Holland and Sherry, which warehouses its beautiful men’s suiting fabrics in the region, are known for producing the world’s most expensive fabric – the 100 per cent Worsted Vicuna.
Over in Biggar, Calzeat weaves to commission and produces its own homeware ranges.
Followers of fashion will be no stranger to Aero Leather, in Galashiels, which produces leather jackets for customers worldwide, including Japan, while Yvette Jelfs, produces beautiful millinery from her base in Hawick.
For fashion forward collections of clothing and accessories, look no further than these companies – Queene and Belle, of Hawick, for knitwear; Dunmore which produces bags; Lyle and Scott, of Selkirk, for knitwear and men’s wear; and Pringle of Scotland in Hawick.
Finally, underpinning all of this amazing fabric, knitwear, and design-led production and creativity are the finishers, dyers, and logistitics companies who bring the Borders textiles and fashion to the world.
For those who want to know more, the Textile Tower House in Hawick, helps to place the history of textiles and fashion in the Borders in context for locals and visitors alike, while Heriot-Watt University’s School of Textiles and Design in Galashiels supports this thriving industry with design, research and technical innovation.
This list is not exhaustive and I am sorry if I have missed out your favourite company, but hopefully what you have read demonstrates that we live in a very fashion-forward region that is the envy of the world.