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Monday, 11 April 2016 13:28

Local Designer nominated for Award

Borders textile entrepreneur up for Sports Business Innovation Award

Borders based fashion designer Alex Feechan has been shortlisted for the Best New Sports Product Award at this year’s Sports Business Innovation Awards. Her personal passion for mountain biking, and her frustration at the lack of appropriate clothing for women in this sport led her to set up her own company FINDRA, creating fashion led performance driven bike wear and outdoor apparel specifically for women.
Says Alex: “the phrase ‘shrink it and pink it’, was coined to describe the approach many companies have to designing performance wear for women, meaning essentially that women’s products were smaller versions of men’s with added pink flowers or go-faster stripes. My company brand FINDRA disrupts this complacent market and offers a stylish new innovative approach.”
Designed by women, for women, Alex Feechan is not only the creative force behind the brand, she is also the consumer! Her newest product Marin Cowl neck, which led to the award short-listing, a seamless merino wool garment which combines function with style in a fresh and innovative way. 
“I decided to create a light weight layering system of garments which the wearer can layer up or down without transferring the bulk to the ruck sack or around the body. It uses 100% merino wool and is seamless.”
Marin Cowl neck received rave industry reviews when it was unveiled at the Euro Bike exhibition in Munich in 2014. It was hailed as “one to watch” when exhibited at London Bike Show in 2015. It went on to receive a “Highly Regarded Single Track Recommends” award from bike publication Single Track. And earlier this year Alex won a Design & Innovation Award for her new designs.  Through her creative and entrepreneurial spirit, Alex has designed an award winning Made in Scotland product that brings together the most advanced technology in machinery (from the woollen industry) into an untapped market right on the doorstep of the Scottish textile industry and the mountain bike community. 
Using innovative technology to produce revolutionary seamless products not only creates a high quality performance enhancing garment for the sport, it also overcomes a prominent problem within the Scottish textile industry, one which could signal the end of the textile industry’s future. 
Continues Alex: “by producing a garment in one entire piece, three dimensionally, directly on the knitting machine, there is no requirement for expensive, time consuming post production labour -an area of the industry where there is a huge shortage of skilled workers and therefore an area of great threat.  Creating a design and creating this product the Marin Cowl Neck, brings together advanced technology underutilised in Scotland. “
David Sherman, from Sporting Chance Initiative, organiser of these prestigious awards says: “every sports business faces hurdles, but only the very best and brightest triumph. Only the best and brightest repeatedly show the world that they will work, evolve and innovate until they’ve reached their goals. We know this from our ongoing work with entrepreneurial sports related businesses.”
A Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented to Van Phillips, the inventor of the Flex Foot technology, at the Awards Dinner to be held on 19th May at Glasgow Science Centre. (tickets are on sale now)   His novel technology has allowed hundreds of thousands of amputees to take part in sport at all levels on a global scale.  
Sporting Chance Initiative supports and encourages businesses in Scotland working in the sports business sector. The sports industry is both profitable and hugely exciting.  Over £500million is spent in Scotland annually on sports clothing, footwear and equipment alone. And innovation abounds! 
The winners will be announced on 19th May.