There are few things which make me happier than to see the ambassador’s residence here in Kyiv packed with British business types.  So I was delighted recently when the residence hosted a “British Design Showcase”, bringing together a series of English and Scottish companies specialising in UK-produced textiles, wallpapers, curtain poles, furniture and fabrics.

To enter the residence during this time was like walking into an Aladdin’s cave of lush textiles, top-end furnishings and exquisite accessories.  Companies represented included Henry Bertrand (luxury and specialist silk fabrics); Swaffer (English floral prints and classic British wovens for upholstery); Voyage Decoration (fabrics and wallpaper); Joshua Ellis (the “Kings of Yorkshire wool” with fabrics for fashion and interiors); Whitehead Furniture (from Nottinghamshire, producing handmade English sofas); Trimont and Handsome Trimmings (from Derbyshire and Yorkshire, classic and modern trimmings); Resina Designs (classic wooden curtain poles); Jocelyn Warner (designer wallpaper in florals and geometrics, and whimsy from East London); and Monogrammed Linen (specialist “monogramming” onto fine items).  There was also a room full of top-quality Scottish companies, representing high-end wool products.  The companies included BeggScotland; Holland and Sherry; The Isle Mill; Johnstons of Elgin; and Morton Young and Borland.

If you’ve ever heard that old canard that they don’t make anything in Britain anymore, here was evidence to the contrary.  I was intrigued to discover that several of the companies exhibiting supplied products to fashion brands more commonly associated with other European countries; and that others supplied many of the world’s leading fashion and interior designers as well as opera and theatre companies and Hollywood blockbusters.  Best of all, the exhibition attracted a host of buyers and I was told that a number of important contracts were signed.

There was much talk of holding a further “British Design Showcase” on a future date.  I look forward to it.

Leigh Turner


Ukrayinska Dumka


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