Heriot-Watt graduate introduces Pakistani embroidery to the Scottish textile industry

Adil's exhibition Twilling Tweeds and Hunarmand Hoost (Skilled hands) will showcase 13 hand-embroidered tapestries.

A collection of hand-loomed embroidered textiles which connects the Harris Tweed weavers of the Outer Hebrides with traditional embroiderers from Pakistan goes on show at a pop up gallery in Edinburgh this month.

Adil Iqbal, an Edinburgh-based fashion designer and graduate of Heriot-Watt's School of Textiles and Design, is among 20 designers showcasing their work at The Patrick Geddes Inspired Design and Makers Fair, at Riddles Court, Lawnmarket, Edinburgh from August 17th - 26th August 2013.

My aim when creating this collection was to connect textile workers in remote areas of Pakistan with those in the Outer Hebrides, creating a bridge between communities and promoting a cultural awareness between the two countries.  
Adil Iqbal, Fashion Designer graduated in 2006 from Heriot-Watt

Adil's exhibition Twilling Tweeds & Hunarmand Hoost (Skilled hands) will showcase 13 hand-embroidered tapestries. The artwork incorporates Pakistani narratives illustrated on Harris Tweed as well as Scottish narratives on Chitrali calico.

Adil said, "My aim when creating this collection was to connect textile workers in remote areas of Pakistan with those in the Outer Hebrides, creating a bridge between communities and promoting a cultural awareness between the two countries.

The narratives aim to depict the uniqueness of life in the Outer Hebrides and Chitral Valley to preserve some ancient traditions that might otherwise slowly fade. This exchange mingles their traditions in a unique and unexpected way."

Funding by Arts Trust of Scotland allowed him to visit Pakistan a couple of years ago where he spent two months in the remote north-west, interviewing artisans, elders and folk artists and encouraging an exchange of ideas by giving them Scottish textiles to embroider.

Adil added: "During my time in Pakistan, I discovered a wealth of skills and traditions which are under threat of being lost forever, so I set out to document the complicated stitches, techniques and designs which are specific to the region, creating a photographic record of the work."

Pakistani heritage  

Born and raised in Scotland, Adil studied clothing design and manufacture at Heriot-Watt University. His 2006 graduate collection was inspired by childhood memories of watching his Pakistani mother and grandmother sewing.

He said, "My  experience  studying at Heriot-Watt was  brilliant.  I  was encouraged by my tutors to develop my own aesthetic sensibility.  The course taught me the balance between Business and Design and helped me realise my strengths.    My Pakistani heritage has been the major source of inspiration and growth as a designer. The country and its rich textiles have fascinated me since I was a child."

He has since taken his designs to Alternative Fashion Week in London and to New York Fashion Week. He has also worked with labels including TataNaka in London and Hugo Boss in Germany.