Keep the Heid! Prickly Hats: A historic Scottish story…

Keep the Heid! Prickly Hats: A historic Scottish story… - Prickly Thistle

Woolly Hats. We all love them. Most of our body heat is lost through our heads so we all need them too!

Every year they come out in the shops, encouraging us to re-buy them. Our bodies may develop and change in size, but our heids stay the same! ... so really, we only need a good quality one to last us a lifetime. Also, the ‘woolly’ hats in the shops are really made from acrylic (wool’s greatest imitator) instead of actual wool... which is a synthetic plastic fiber created from burning fossil fuels. Does it really make sense to keep buying something over and over again which is hurting the planet?

We set out on a mission to break this bad chain by making our own hats with integrity and Made in Scotland woven into every fiber - 100% natural wool of course! Something that will have emotional durability as well as physical longevity. This lead us to Robert Mackie, and took us to a wee Scottish town with a big textile history…

Stewarton, located in East Ayrshire, has been Scotland’s famous ‘Bonnet Toun’ for centuries. Records pinpoint the traditional trade of bonnet-making to the 1650s, however folk were knitting and selling woollen bonnets in Stewarton long before that as the craft dates as far back as the 14th century. It was common among most lowland farmers to earn a modest living in the Winter months when they couldn’t work outside. Over the years the practice grew and was an integral part of Scotland's domestic textile industry. Once, there were over 100 textile mills and knitwear manufacturers in Scotland which meant local production was thriving. As we all know too well though, that changed rapidly over the last century - most didn’t survive the mass shift to cheaper overseas production catering to consumer appetite for things made quick and cheap….

Robert Mackie survived that devastation, and so stands today as one of Scotland’s oldest knitting manufacturers. Their origins go WAY back, when originally Thomas Mackie founded a spinning and dyeing business in Stewarton, having arrived from Irvine (a town closeby) to supply feathers and dyestuff to local bonnet makers. It was in 1845 when Robert Mackie moved on from the initial family business to start his own making bonnets… and the rest is history!

A true example of renowned Scottish craftsmanship, they still make Scots Bonnets today yet are also recognised around the globe for high-quality hats, scarves and gloves.

A Woolmark Licensee, Sedex member and a close collaborator of the Ethical Trade Initiative, we are proud to work with a company that shares our values for wool/natural materials and regenerative business prioritising people and planet before profit. Moreover, they are ‘Made in Scotland’ advocates like us, as everything is completely manufactured in house!

You can check out our Woolly Hat range made in collaboration with Robert Mackie here, as well as scarves to match here. You can also learn more about the history of Scots Bonnet Making and Stewarton here!


Clare and the Team


1 comment

  • Martina

    I am so impressed with your dedication, love, and concern for our planet! You and your team always work together. Thank you for seeing a better way to make quality products which last a life time of usage and does not damage the planet. 😊✨🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿💙💕

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