Shetland Fashions Ltd was established in 1967 and folded in 1982. It produced both traditional and fashion-styled knitwear on the Shetland mainland, manufactured by outworkers on manual knitting machines, hand knitters, and some operators of automated knitting machines. The company is an example of a small producer challenged by remote location and the global market.
Jan E Lebet was a small knitwear company established on Yell during the 1960s. It had a distinctive business model, producing fashion garments on machines operated by men in a factory unit rather than employing outworkers. Although this experimental venture was supported financially and had a strong order book it folded after only a few years.
In 1850, a small spinning mill was established in Portree to support local hosiery production. Its success provides a rare example of charitable aid being transformed into a successful, independent commercial enterprise that contributed to the island’s economy after the famine that spread through the region during the mid-nineteenth century.
The business of Fleming, Reid and Co. Ltd provides a rare example of a nineteenth century spinning company that expanded into both hosiery production and retail. Its retail network of Scotch Wool and Hosiery Stores stretched across the UK and sold the company’s knitting wools, patterns and knitted products.
The name Patons has been synonymous with hand knitting yarns since the mid-nineteenth century. Founded in 1813 as a spinning mill, Patons expansion took off in the 1860s with the growth in popularity of handknitting. Based primarily in Alloa and surrounding villages, the company was unusual in pioneering an integrated business model that combined production of yarn, publication of instruction and pattern books, and retail.
Based in Hawick, Peter Scott & Co. was among the largest and longest running businesses that made the Scottish Borders famous for its quality knitwear. Established in 1878, the company manufactured woollen underwear and fashioned hose. From the early 1900s, Peter Scott included outerwear and sportswear in their range of knitted garments. The popularity of these necessitated the opening of two more factories.
This micro mill in the Borders was set up by Juliet and John Miller when they discovered that it was impossible to process small amounts of alpaca fleece in Scotland. Although the mill initially specialised in providing a bespoke processing and spinning service for alpaca, it has now extended into processing and blending a range of natural fibres including wool and silk.