Nestled in the green valley of Teviot sits Hawick, a small manufacturing town, much like any other in the Scottish Borders. For decades this place has been at the heart of the region dubbed the “home of cashmere”. In its looming mills, the knitting machines are humming still and while mastering the ancient alchemy of cashmere may appear to be the domain of century-old companies, it is in fact drawing young design talent. In Hawick you will find 24 year old Rosie Sugden, designer of a new range of hats, scarves, gloves and socks.
Launched just a year ago, Sugden’s collection takes the hair of a breed of Mongolian goats, via a 200 year old mill and skilled factory workers, to turn it into premium cashmere. Her knits come in eye-popping fluorescents, colours that take careful attention to achieve: “Firstly the yarn has to be purest white. Then it has to be lightly bleached to achieve the best colour base, then gently dyed,” explains the designer. “This is done in the last yarn dye house in the Borders under strict control and is the only way to achieve the brightest of colours.”
Interestingly, it was her father who first introduced her to bustling factories where he worked when she was a child. By “a process of osmosis” she absorbed his love and enthusiasm for cashmere and manufacturing in Scotland. “My collection is a testimony to my passion for quality cashmere and for the industry here on my doorstep,” says Sugden.
And her passion is paying off... Sugden’s range is now at Liberty’s and stocked at online retailer Matches. Prices start at £65. rosiesugden.com