News. LVMH Textile Training Centre

2nd of July, 2018

This spring the LVMH Textile Training Centre at Dumfries House officially opened its doors, letting in its first intake of students and looking to secure the future of the Scottish fine fabrics industry.

The building, a former sawmill, houses the newest of the employability programmes run by The Prince’s Foundation at the Estate in Ayrshire and will offer full-time foundation level courses in sewing, cutting and edging fabrics, as well as longer intensive courses focused on high-fashion fabric skills, courtesy of French luxury giant LVMH (Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE).

1. Large spools of cotton thread, 2. Eight-inch scissors for fabric cutting, 3. Bent-nose pliers, for odd angles and detail work, 4. Chain mail safety glove, for bulk cutting fabric, 5. Needle for an industrial sewing machine, 6. Four-inch scissors for embroidery work, 7. Measuring tape for taking various measurements, 8. Pattern notchers for aligning paper patterns , 9. Quick unpick for undoing stitches and seams, 10. Screwdriver for changing sewing machine feet

Scotland has a reputation for its fabrics, including quality cashmere and the famous Harris Tweed. It continues to serve leading fashion houses including Yves Saint Laurent, Hermès, Gucci and Louis Vuitton.

The LVMH Textile Training Centre aims to attract the younger generation, teaching them traditional production skills and bringing renewed industry and creativity to the area.

“We want to be viewed as a centre for excellence by the textile and fashion industry,” says Jacqueline Farrell, Director of Education at Dumfries House. “The orders are there but the workforce is too small to meet demand. If we can develop employees it will allow more products to be made in the UK instead of sending fabric abroad, which has both a financial and environmental cost.”

Building on the strength of the Future Textiles programme, which has been running at Dumfries House for four years, the LVMH Textile Training Centre will continue to offer heritage-led instruction, giving local students the skills to keep alive the Scottish textile industry. “We are not training for one company or one brand but for an industry that is both national and international,” says Farrell. “We have already spoken with the local authority and The Prince’s Trust about supporting people into self-employment. And with longer-term training programmes, we can develop close links with high-fashion companies.”

Words: Ananda Pellerin

Photography by Thom Atkinson