November 2015 sees the return of the Cultural Enterprise Office's Starter for 6 Exhibition to the Review Gallery, showcasing the work of three Scottish Businesses that have received support from the Starter for 6 programme. The Exhibition features work from FINDRA, Sword Maclean and Ergon Equine.
Alex Feechan is an award winning fashion designer and founder of FINDRA, a fashion led performance driven outdoor apparel brand designed specifically for women.
It was her love of the outdoors that led to her latest creative endeavour. Having started mountain biking a few years ago Alex quickly became hooked, and decided to invest in some new clothing for the sport. It was at this point that she realised that the products available where not particularly well designed. In her own words she says, "As an experienced designer I could see that the products available suffered from the ‘Shrink it and pink it’ approach’ which is when a man’s product is taken reduced in size and a pink go faster stripe or flower is added to appeal to women. For women participation in outdoor sports such as mountain biking is about more than just physical exertion. For many women the psychological and social benefits are huge, giving them time and space to think as well as freedom and liberation to enjoy time away from family life and responsibilities."
Ensuring women have the right clothing to allow them to enjoy this experience to the full is at the heart of FINDRA – a brand withthe uto
‘Encourage and empower women to look good feel good and perform to the best of their abilities through the participation in outdoor sports.’
Sword Maclean is a new contemporary luxury fashion and lifestyle brand made entirely in Scotland and fully traceable from sheep to shop. Hebridean rare breed fleece, horn and Scottish deer skin are all by-products which regularly end up in landfill. Incorporating zero waste practices, they elevate landfill to luxury through strong innovative design. Marketed internationally as unique high end Scottish products which maintain their material value through longevity and recyclability.
Sword Maclean believes traceability is the new luxury. All of their Hebridean horn and wool products come from their own flock. As a result they provide a unique Scottish provenance for every product. A lot of what is considered waste, Sword Maclean finds beautiful and exciting. Bred for meat, their dark sheep skin and horn would otherwise be sprayed with blue dye and go into landfill. Instead Sword Maclean convert this into a desirable luxury product.
Trace Ward is co-founder and CEO of Ergon Equine. As a rider, she found that existing saddles put painfully high pressures on the horse’s back, which studies show could be linked to behavioural problems such as bucking, rearing, and a shortening of stride length. This has a significant impact in terms of horse welfare and performance.
Trace and the team at Ergon Equine have developed a new saddle system which allows for optimal load distribution. In testing with the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, it was found that Ergon Equine’s EDX(TM) system reduces pressure under the saddle by 27%, improving the horse’s comfort and performance.
Ergon Equine’s EDX(TM) system prioritises function as well as fit, and brings the horse saddle in line with the type of high-tech sports equipment that human athletes have long had access to. By using their patented EDX(TM) system, a significant (P<0.001) 27% reduction in pressure is achieved. Ergon Equine are working with leading scientists and saddlers to bring the technology to market in 2016.
Starter for 6 enabled the very first design work to begin on this new saddle technology, in 2009.