Orkney had a rich heritage of textile weaving which had been lost for over 30 years, and the Orkney Cloth is hoping to revive it once again. Weaving in Orkney completely disappeared in the mid-1970s, when the two mills, Argarden and Sclaters closed. Orkney’s cloth was once more renown than Harris Tweed, well regarded for its softness and lightness, and sold all over the world. Unlike Harris Tweed, without a well known tradition of weaving, Orkney tweed weavers were able to create new and contemporary designs, using bold accent colours.
However, by the mid-1970’s the industry had moved on, with the arrival of ready to wear garments and synthetic materials. Their reluctance to invest in wider looms meant that Harris Tweed had the competitive advantage, and both mills closed down.
Orkney Cloth was started by India Johnson, who aims to revive the industry once again. After arriving in Orkney on a graduate weaving placement with ScotGrad and Orkney Creative Hub in October 2018, she began teaching hand weaving. After her placement, India set up her own commercial cloth business, making contemporary and sustainable textiles inspired by her island home.
There is a great deal of change within the textile industry, with a real emphasis on where and how products are made. We aim to revive the traditional craft of weaving on the Island, by developing a range of woven products and cloth by the metre. The small scale approach to cloth production, weaving by hand and in limited edition collections, ensures the sustainability of our products. Our mission is to change the way consumers think about the textile industry. We aim is to make products which will last, drawing attention to their weaving process and the quality of the natural materials they use.
By focusing on making as sustainable product as possible, encouraging people to buy less, and consume better. Our handwoven textiles, which are woven in house are products with a small carbon footprint, with hopes to make a big difference to the way we consume and think about the textiles industry. Keep posted as we set up our mill and help bring back this traditional craft with modern and sustainably designed products