How the Duchess of Cambridge has transformed the textile industry

Lynne Coleman
·2-min read
Photo credit: CHRIS JACKSON
Photo credit: CHRIS JACKSON

From Town & Country

There are a handful of women in history who have the ability to change the fortunes of the British textiles industry simply by being themselves.

Naomi Campbell is one. For the past four decades, fixated eyes have followed her every footstep as she devoutly showcases the best our nation has to offer. A piece seen on our couture queen can sell out in moments. Whenever I conjure thoughts of her on the catwalk, she is draped in tartan finery from Vivienne Westwood.

Photo credit: Images Press
Photo credit: Images Press

The pair are a match made in heaven. The epitome of fashion royalty. It also warms my cockles since Dame Westwood has woven with us at DC Dalgliesh, the world’s only dedicated hand-crafted tartan mill (of which I am the brand guardian).

Then there are our real Royals. Princess Diana did what no other member of the Palace had done before her, elevating designers onto a global stage and making them household names. Now, the Duchess of Cambridge comfortably bares that sartorial crown.

During the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee procession, Kate took a leaf out of her Majesty’s style book and opted for a block colour. The Duchess looked radiant head to toe in red. However there was a splash of tartan spiralled around her neck, breaking up the sea of crimson while sailing down the Thames. The scarf was woven in Strathearn tartan – red, yellow and green combined into a tight symmetrical set. The excitement back at the mill was palpable when the hand-knotting wafted elegantly around in the wind.

Photo credit: Danny Martindale
Photo credit: Danny Martindale

You see, that hand-knotting is the artisan jewel in our crown. Our calling card if you like. She has worn it several times over the last decade in a nod to her Countess of Strathearn title, with each outing reverberating a positive ripple back to Selkirk.

I discussed the so-called “Kate effect” with Bethan Holt on my podcast A Guide to Luxury this month. For the last 10 years, Bethan has reported on the Duchess’ calendar for The Telegraph. At the start of the year she released a book called The Duchess of Cambridge: A Decade of Modern Royal Style. I was astounded, but not surprised, to hear Bethan say the Duchess has boosted the British fashion industry by up to £1 billion in a single year.

Photo credit: Samir Hussein
Photo credit: Samir Hussein

From the hands of the artisans to the décolletage of our next Queen, the economy of fabric feeds families across our nation. I’m thrilled to have such an incredible female ambassador in the Duchess. And even more inspired by these thoughtful outfit choices that always showcase the best of British.