One of the few remaining textile factories in Scotland has stood in the same spot for over a century, and now provides textiles for Holywood productions.
Morton Young and Borland (MYB) textiles sits at the end of a long street in Ayrshire, surrounded by desolate factories that were once occupied by a thriving manufacturing industry and filled with a productive workforce.
In 2015, it’s the last lace and madras producer in the area and the only producer in the world manufacturing patterned lace with original Nottingham Lace Looms. Coming straight from its factory in Newmilns, MYB products have appeared everywhere from Hollywood film sets, tourist attractions and soon to be world famous catwalks.
Having invested heavily in developing and modernising their production techniques and continuing to keep up with the latest emerging trends (while maintaining their traditions and techniques from the past), Morton Young and Borland remains one of the last textile factories standing.
A small workforce of 59 are responsible for designing and producing all MYB textiles in-house. Despite the use of Nottingham lace looms being time consuming, it enables a high level of quality control. In order to keep up with demand, many of the them have been networked to CAD computers which allow design ideas to be communicated to the looms for maximum efficiency.
“We’ve managed to survive the industry decline by diversifying our product offerings and venturing into new markets”, design and business development manager, Kashka Lennon explains. “By evolving our business we’ve managed to avoid the fate of our old competitors, combining our time honoured skills and heritage with an ability to adapt to modern consumer demands.”
We’ve managed to survive the industry decline by diversifying our product offerings and venturing into new marketsKashka Lennon, Design and Business Devlopment Mangager, MYB
An extensive archive housed in the factory has been a priceless research tool for a selection of film and television set designers. Their textiles were a recurring feature in the 2013 Oscar winning film Lincoln, hit tv show Boardwalk Empire and made an appearance in two Harry Potter films.
Ms Lennon goes on: “Our fabrics can be found in many historical dramas and period films, we think this has a lot to do with the fact that many of our designs are taken from our original archive drafts and woven on traditional Victorian looms. This gives our fabric an authenticity that is difficult for others to replicate.”
The company also work closely with the fashion sector having collaborated with brands like Hobbs while maintaining a close relationship with Scottish designers like Judy R Clark and Mhairi McDonald.
The firm are looking to increase their annual turnover of £2.8m through sales of its range of lace fabrics currently popular in womenswear like Pavane’s.
MYB Textiles are now taking steps to conquer the hotel trade. Managing director Scott Davidson will be taking the brand as far afield as Dubai and Korea in order to expand their market and continue the Scottish company’s legacy overseas.