Rosie Sugden In Conversation

Local designer Rosie Sugden is putting her own stamp on the great Borders textile tradition by creating original cashmere accessories that are both highly covetable and made to last. We are great fans of Rosie’s designs and with Christmas gifting in mind, we leapt at the opportunity to chat to her for the 4th edition of our guest newspaper, the Milne Graden Press.

Rosie runs her business from her home in a small village in the heart of the Scottish Borders, where her two beloved pugs, Daphne and Edith, are always on hand to help out. When we speak Rosie jokes that the girls have had to leave the room due to the risk of “very
loud snoring”!

“I just love the walks here”

As we do, Rosie places great value on the daily dog walk – often along the Tweed – seeing it as an opportunity to clear the mind and reset.  We see many of the Autumn colours of the river in Rosie’s pieces and are keen to know if this is a conscious process. “I just love the walks here” she tells us, and agrees that certainly her surroundings must seep in “sort of by osmosis”, which is the most wonderful description.

Rosie’s late father James Sugden was a champion of British manufacturing and served as pioneering Director of Johnsons of Elgin for over 25 years. Being immersed in the local textiles industry from a young age must have sown the seeds for what was to come. “Growing up around it must have influenced me, although I didn’t realise at the time. I remember going with my Dad to the mill after school, watching him checking each department” Rosie explains.

Rosie’s pieces are refreshing take on luxurious cashmere, injecting colour and originality to this classic material. Her collections include a range of stylish must-haves including the iconic knitted turban that has become symonymous with the brand. 

“it all begins when the new shade card arrives from my yarn supplier”

Rosie-Sugden-looking- at-cashmere-Shade-Card-with striped hat

We are fascinated know more about Rosie’s design process, and she tells us, brimming with enthusiasm, “it all begins when the new shade card arrives from my yarn supplier” and that “colour is central to the process.”

Rosie then takes her concepts to the local mills that produce all her products. “I use two small mills, one Hawick and one in Innerleithen”. Both are experts in the traditional techniques that cemented the Scottish Borders as the place for wool textile production in the 19th and 20th centuries. Rosie adds, “made in Scotland is definitely seen as a mark of quality”. 

We wonder if there are limitations to working with a material like cashmere in this traditional way but Rosie explains; “I guess it depends on how you look at it, as to whether it’s possibilities or limitations. I like to think of it has possibilities.” 

“choosing to manufacture here and then choosing to cut out plastic, it just feels like a no-brainer. I feel like I should be doing it”

Rosie Sugden cashmere ear warmer in cream colour alongside boxed cashmere baby booties hat and blanket in neutral shade

The final concept evolves as a process of collaboration between the capabilities of the manufacturing process and the design adapting accordingly. This fusion of heritage techniques and new ideas creates products that are both traditional and novel, at the same time. 

The high quality materials and careful craft that goes into Rosie’s pieces mean they are designed to last a lifetime. This combined with plastic-free packaging makes for a welcome break from modern day throwaway culture. Rosie explains that these business decisions felt like a very natural thing to do, “choosing to manufacture here and then choosing to cut out plastic, it just feels like a no-brianer. I feel like I should be doing it”. She goes on to add, “Perhaps I’m more conscious of it being in the countryside as well”. 

Rosie Has it Wrapped Up for Christmas
British made, baby soft and with beautiful plastic free gift boxes, Rosie’s collections are great for mindful gifting. We love the classic turban that inspired Rosie to start her brand back in 2011:
“I had this idea for a knitted turban and showed it to my Dad. He thought it was a
great idea”.
Rosie has also managed to get around the challenge of being a “Winter-only brand” by adding in year-round staples such as super soft cashmere bed socks and eyemasks, which are both ideal for travelling, as well as a recently launched baby range. All eye masks and baby items come boxed and ready to give to that special someone.
Find out more and browse Rosie’s AW 2020 Collection at
Rosie Sugden cashmere eyemask and Karen mabon dog print pyjamas alongside lilac cashmere bedsocks
We adore these luxurious silk pyjamas in “Crufts” from Scottish designer Karen Mabon, perfect for the dog-lover in your life!