TBCo. X Heriot-Watt: Student Design Competition

Scotland’s Heriot-Watt University is a long established, globally recognised textile industry leader with a strong reputation for producing talented and hardworking individuals (including some people on our team!), and so we were thrilled when the opportunity presented itself to partner in a design competition and support the students by giving them some real industry experience. As a Scotland-based young and creative company, we want to foster new talent that is close to home. A lot of opportunities for new graduates typically tend to be located in London or further afield, so we were grateful to show undergrads there is room for exciting opportunities in Scotland. It was also energising for us to collaborate with someone that we see real potential in. But enough from us, keep reading to hear from Kait, the competition winner herself!


Hi there! I am Kait Murdoch, the textile designer behind Jarick Check in collaboration with the Tartan Blanket Co. This collaboration started as an industry project set by the Tartan Blanket Co. working with students, including myself, at Heriot Watt School of Textiles in the Scottish borders. My design process was based around the word colsie, as it is at the heart of everything by The Tartan Blanket Co. I looked at interior, lifestyle and colour trends, exploring ways in which I could reinterpret Colsie in my own way to show my personal style, yet create something that would work within the current collection. 



My design project was inspired by the idea of a “Concrete Jungle”. Although this may not stereotypically be what comes to mind when thinking about the Colsie motto, my aim was to reinterpret this somewhat stark and cold image into something that highlights the hidden beauty that I could see. For me personally, concrete jungle was an opportunity to show that beauty can grow in the barest of places. The images that came to my mind were derelict buildings and abandoned spaces where nature has taken over and grown all around. I love when it creates vibrant pockets of beauty, breathing new light and life, thus creating an organic sense of colsie where encroaching foliage and vivid colours frame and create life in uninhabited places. It feels like an unexpected, inviting, peaceful beauty.


I followed the brief set by the TBCo. in which I was set the task of crafting a collection of woven fabrics, designed and woven with the specific end use of interior blanket fabrics in mind. Considerations had to be made to ensure the fabrics were suitable for the contemporary lifestyle market, fit within the TBCo. brand and have commercial considerations throughout. We were provided with a limited colour palette to guide our design approach and given an open brief in terms of theme. After conducting my trend and lifestyle research and deciding on Concrete Jungle I set about designing. I created a neutral striped warp as a base representing the stone and concrete tones found throughout my thematic research. I then established my own colour palette including those provided by TBCo. incorporating soft pastels and warm greens to convey my theme whilst still in keeping with the TBCo. brand.


I feel that the idea of a Concrete Jungle and hidden beauty has become particularly relevant to more and more people over the past year. With everything that has been going on in the world in 2020 I think taking a step back and recognising the simplicity and beauty of things in our day to day life and reconnecting with nature is a beautiful, wholesome and ultimately colsie silver lining to our 2020, after all, as I say beauty can grown in the barest of places.

Jarick Check has been lovingly named as homage to my parents. Combining both of their names and incorporating this into my design work was something I felt very passionate about. As the driving force of support and encouragement throughout my life and artistic endeavors I felt it was only fair to dedicate my first design in production to them. This fabric has been created using a simple twill throughout alongside a delicate combination of colour and proportions to create a beautiful final fabric output that will sit perfectly within the current Tartan Blanket Co. collection. 


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