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Knitting / Apparel

Scottish Mill Reports Very Good Business

Virginia S. Borland, New York Correspondent

Recently in New York to celebrate Scotland Week, Bob Galbraith, sales & marketing director, Calzeat & Co. Ltd., Scotland, told Textile World in an exclusive interview, "Our business is very good right now."

Since its founding by Robin Galbraith in 1971, Calzeat has grown from a small jacquard weaver of tie fabrics to a producer of menswear, womenswear and home fabrics. The company is running at capacity, producing 10,000 meters a month.

Galbraith attributes Calzeat's success in today's down market to a passion for the business, niche marketing and a lot of time spent developing lines. "Today, it's the mid markets that are suffering. We sell to couture or to High Street," he said.

Calzeat's line includes tartan, floral, geometric and paisley patterned jacquards and brocades. All are woven on high-speed jacquard equipment. At the top end, international customers include Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, Marc Jacobs, Vivian Westwood, Chantal Thomass, Burberry, Brooks Brothers and Paul Smith. Home fabrics decorate the Oval Office in the White House, Windsor Castle and actor Clint Eastwood's Cannes villa.

This chair is upholstered in a 100-percent wool fabric
woven by Calzeat using a heather yarn emulating and
inspired by the colors of the Scottish countryside.

"Today, the trend is ultralightweight fabrics or quite heavy," Galbraith said. "We are weaving voiles and sheers as well as carpet fabrics. Most of our line has been woven with fine worsteds or heavy woolens. There is a misconception about wool in some hot climates, so we've added linen to the line, using fine wool warps woven with linen wefts. We are using mohair and rustic Shetland for home accessories." 

In 1986, Calzeat launched Thistle, a luxury line of home fabrics. Brunschwig & Fils is a customer. Another division, Morgan & Oates, sells fashion accessories through duty-free shops. Retail stores opened recently in Scotland to sell home products.

Asked what to look for in the future, Galbraith said Calzeat is contemplating doing a towel collection. Stay tuned.

July/August 2009