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A few weeks ago, the International Tartan team travelled to meet the folk of Glen Isla Kilts, where we expected to see two or three people making kilts. Were we in for a surprise! 

With our shared passion for Kilt making, it was amazing to step into a hive of creative industry, with dozens of people doing amazing things with tartan. The craftsmanship was mesmerising, and it was an honour to see these professionals putting so much love and care into each creation. 

John and the rest of the Glen Isla family are a credit to Scotland putting so much time and effort into making thousands of tartan kilts and other tartan products for people all across the globe. Each member of staff was warm, friendly and happy to answer any questions, as well as taking the time to learn more about the aspirations for International Tartans. It was also great of John to take the time to chat with us, providing words of wisdom on how we can aspire to become as successful as them one day. 

Amidst the wonderful sounds of humming, clackety, clacking and colourful tartans, people seemed really content and happy with the task they had at hand. Seeing the team with smiles on their faces certainly challenges the misconceptions about what factory work is really like. The team were all so enthusiastic and focused on the task they had at hand, putting so much time and care into their work. We also admired that John (or ‘The Big Chief’ as some of his staff would say) showed a real interest in his team, always wanting to know more about their families, friends and lives in general. 

We could see that there was a real sense of community and egalitarian ethos within the company, where everyone was treated as an equal. It was refreshing to see that Glen Isla Kilts were so committed to high-quality products but also a committed to a caring company culture. Many people are too quick to associate the ‘rag trade’ with sweatshops and horrendous working conditions whilst everything about the operations at Glen Isla Kilts is the very opposite. 

This trip has shown us that there is space for a better world and better textiles industry right here in Scotland. More awareness needs to be raised around the importance of buying textiles from morally good companies such as Glen Isla Kilts.

Our trip to Glen Isla Kilts has inspired our team and has set the standard for where we should aspire to be in the near future. This is exactly the kind of creative workspace and team spirit we want to establish within our organisation.