Montrose Rope & Sail Partner with Grays School of Art to Break High-End Market

A dedicated design role has been created as part of a partnership between Robert Gordon University’s Gray’s School of Art and Angus-based designers and manufacturers Montrose Rope & Sail Company to develop a luxury range of products suitable for high-end markets.

Under a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP), the two organisations are working together to develop a product range that is design-led, builds on heritage branding and focuses on the luxury end of the market.

Amy Gair has been appointed as the KTP Associate whose role is to be the project lead under the supervision and guidance from RGU’s Gray’s School of Art and Montrose Rope & Sail Company supervisory team.

Montrose Rope & Sail Company has over 200 years of experience, designing and manufacturing some of the highest spec kit bags on the market. Primarily used by the Oil & Gas industry, the company has also used its design know-how to launch and developed a range of consumer-friendly bags and luggage all made by hand in their workshop on the east coast of Scotland. The family business is now aiming to further explore the diversification of products towards other markets via the KTP relationship.

Under the guidance of Gray’s academics, Josie Steed, Course Leader for Fashion and Textiles, Keith Gray, lecturer in Fashion and Textiles and Amy Gair, the newly appointed KTP Associate, the collaboration will provide Montrose Rope & Sail Company with support in luxury design-led markets, together with opportunities for routes to market and branding.

Commenting on her appointment, Amy, who is originally from Shetland, said: “As a young ambitious designer, I was looking for a new challenge that would contribute to developing myself professionally as well as my design skills and the role sounded like a great opportunity to do that.

“Montrose Rope & Sail is a really interesting company with a lot of heritage, but it is also very innovative in manufacturing practises and this was very intriguing to me.

“As I have a textile manufacturing background, moving to working with technical textiles was also something which I was very interested in gaining more knowledge in as I have up until now, mainly worked with luxury fibres.”

Describing her role, Amy added: “The project objective is to develop, manufacture and brand a new range of products within the luxury high end accessories market. We’ll be utilising the company’s heritage, existing expertise within manufacturing and its unique range of products.

“It is really about working collaboratively with everyone, utilising and sharing all the skills and expertise we have and can get access too so that we can get the best outcome at the end.

“My hopes for the project are that at the end we have a successful range of products which are placed and are selling in the luxury market.”

Lynda Paton of Montrose Rope & Sail Company, said: “Amy is an experienced designer who had been working in the fashion and textiles industry. The decision was unanimous, Amy was the right person for the post and we are excited to work together to develop, manufacture and brand a new range of products.

“Not only would we like to see the product on the shelves in some upmarket department stores in the UK, ideally, we would like to open up trading with Japan and USA.”

Knowledge Transfer Partnerships is a UK-wide programme that has been helping businesses for the past 40 years to improve their competitiveness and productivity through the better use of knowledge, technology and skills that reside within the UK Knowledge Base.

A KTP serves to meet a core strategic need and to identify innovative solutions to help that business grow. KTPs often deliver significant increased profitability for business partners as a direct result of the partnership through improved quality and operations, increased sales and access to new markets.

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