Monday, 13 June 2016

Changing tack - Montrose Rope & Sail


Textiles. What do you think of when you hear the word? Knitting? Lacemaking? Sewing lessons at school? A pretty patchwork quilt perhaps? Certainly in my lifetime, fabric-related study has always had female connotations. Fabrics are soft. Fabrics are comforting. Fabrics are feminine. We forget that fabrics are also technical, robust, waterproof, fire-retardant, life-saving. They are engineered, developed and researched as well as crafted, stitched and stroked. Your Macintosh coat and Hunter wellies (both Scottish brands) were the result of robust experimentation in the laboratory and on the battle field. 


All this came to mind on a recent visit to Montrose Rope & Sail, a Scottish manufacturer with a textile heritage going back over 200 years. Founded in 1789 the company first served the fishing industry, making ropes and sails that could withstand the rough conditions out in the middle of the ocean. As the Scottish fishing fleet diminished the company had to change tack and the Paton family, who took over the business in the early 1900's have since made a name for themselves in the North Sea Oil & Gas Industry. Literally thousands of oil workers have been kitted out for the rigours of life on the rigs by Montrose Rope & Sail. Everything from bags to giant tarpaulins designed to protect monster drilling machines -  you name it, MR&S can make it. 

Of course the times they are a-changing and as the offshore oil sector braves challenging commercial conditions, Montrose Rope & Sail is adapting yet again - and this time they're braving the stormy seas of the fashion world. 

Whilst  visiting Montrose Rope and Sail I noticed a metre-high tarpaulin rope storage bag that's used on the rigs. The shape really appealed to me and so I approached the company with a similar design for a smaller multifunctional bag which can be used for shopping, laundry, the beach or picnics. It's really robust and can be chucked in and out of the car or hauled around on public transport without breaking whilst its flat bottom means it doesn't tip over. I didn't want anything with bells and whistles on it, just something simple, practical and robust. My Mother was born in Montrose and so it's an added bonus for me to be able to support a local company which employs local craftspeople to create a local product.







The new bag is available in a range of finishes. Please contact me for further details!
Email: maryjanemillinery@hotmail.co.uk




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