Originally established in the Scottish town of Paisley, Begg & Co has been at the forefront of weaving technology since 1866, when founder Alex Begg started producing woollen shawls with a small team of trusted local weavers.
Paisley had become a focal point for the progressive weaving community during Victorian times and was synonymous with the iconic teardrop pattern used by Begg & Co to create some of the earliest surviving paisley shawls. Only two examples remain – one has been carefully preserved by the Begg family, the other is on display in the Paisley Museum. In 1902 the company relocated to Ayr on Scotland’s southwest coast. It was a move that allowed Begg the space to invest in new machinery and to start developing a range of cutting-edge, exploratory weaving techniques.
One-hundred and fifty years later, this commitment to innovation still stands and Begg & Co continues to be renowned for continuously pioneering new and highly sophisticated methods of production.
Commitment to quality is what motivates the workforce at Begg & Co’s Ayrshire factory. A team of highly skilled technicians strive to maintain exceptional standards and technicians is trained in-house to perform every procedure with pride. With industry experience dating back to the 1860s, the modern-day craftspeople at Begg & Co use a wide variety of weaving and finishing apparatus to create the brand’s inimitable collections. This dynamic approach champions the use of contemporary computerised equipment alongside traditional mill machinery.
Cloth is still pummelled for a softer feel using the same wooden device created by Begg employees some 70 years ago. The characteristic ripple effect seen on some items occurs after gentle brushing with specially cultivated Italian teasel plant heads, which are dampened beforehand with mineral-rich Scottish water. Once selected, the high-grade fibres are spun into yarns that are then washed, brushed and meticulously finished, before being stored in a strictly controlled, humid environment in the Begg & Co mill. Finished products are pressed using the age-old method of brown paper infused with strands of copper, which gives scarves and stoles their signature glossy sheen.
Every task, no matter how small, is given the care and attention it deserves, with teams of dedicated employees undertaking meticulous checks throughout the weaving process, to safeguard the company’s commitment to quality.
Begg & Co’s design philosophy follows the same principles, drawing inspiration from Scotland’s magnificent natural landscapes, in addition to the country’s diverse architectural styles. Geometric shapes are evident across the Begg & Co collection, referencing the angles and contours seen in the mid-century concrete buildings that the surrounding region is famous for. Bringing Brutalism to life with an invigorating palette of carefully curated colour and modern texture, every product carries the hallmark of luxury and distinction. With cinematic skies, and an abundance of local lochs, mountains and beaches, the mill’s immediate environment will no doubt continue to fuel the imagination of Begg & Co’s designers for many years to come.
BEGG & CO 17 VIEWFIELD ROAD, AYR, SCOTLAND KA8 8HJ +44 (0)1292 267615