A dynamic Scottish textile and ceramic company is to launch into the fashion capital of the world with a high profile presence in a leading new department store in Milan, Italy.
ANTA, based near Tain in the Scottish Highlands, has been hand picked as the flagship brand on the top floor of the new Excelsior department store, in Galleria del Corso, Milan. The store is designed by leading French architect, Jean Nouvel.
This will be the first overseas store for ANTA, whose finest tartan pieces are made almost entirely from materials produced and made in Scotland. The store will open on Tuesday September 6.
The design-driven company was chosen as one of a handful of British brands representing British style in the world's fashion capital. They were selected after Excelsior's buying team extensively trawled the UK market to find high quality, contemporary design.
Dario Spadea Pandolfi, the main buyer for Excelsior said: "We were so excited when we found ANTA. We needed a British company to complete the store's global offering and give a true sense of British style and quality manufacture. ANTA made complete sense to us - attention to detail, glorious colours, and the finest materials... all made in Scotland."
Inspired by the colours of the landscape, ANTA's products exemplify the best of Scotland's design tradition, creativity, and production of high quality fabrics.
The ANTA shop in Milan is the latest development in the company started in the Highlands 25 years ago by designer Annie Stewart and her husband Lachlan, an architect. ANTA's other outlets include the flagship store on the Grassmarket in Edinburgh, their showroom at the factory in the Highlands and an online shop www.anta.co.uk
The Milan shop, like the UK outlets, will sell mainly home furnishings, ANTA flat weave carpets, rugs and runners, upholstery and curtain fabrics. Throws, cushions, lamps and shades, candle bowls and hand painted stoneware will also feature together with a range of luggage scarves and ties.
Annie Stewart, ANTA's managing director and a painter by training, is thrilled at the invitation to be part of an exciting new venture in Italy and is confident ANTA will rise to the demands of the Italian market.
She said: "Scotland has a long, proud tradition of producing high quality design and textiles and now ANTA is getting a great chance to demonstrate how we combine tradition with contemporary style in one of the most stylish cities in the world.
"I have always loved the combination of wonderfully seductive colour with beautiful material. Along with the bagpipes tartan evokes poetry, romance and heroism around the world. I am sure the Italians will love it".
While ANTA has historically sold through its website and two stores, its work with community and economic development agency, Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) means that it is continuing to look at innovative ways of growing.
Funding towards attendance at three trade shows in Europe, Domotex and Heimtextil in Germany and Intirio in Belgium, as well as developing the ANTA website to ensure it is user friendly for international customers are just two ways in which HIE and Scottish Development International have assisted the business this year.
Jeni Oliver at HIE is currently working with the company to take forward some of its current ideas.
She said: "We have worked with ANTA for a number of years, including assisting them to attend a number of European trade shows recently in partnership with Scottish Development International. It is a company which is constantly looking to improve, innovate and be creative. It just shows how successful these trade shows can be for quality, well designed Scottish products when big design stores in Milan are keen to snap them up. ANTA may be a well established brand, but this is the beginning of a really exciting chapter for the company, breaking into the fashion capital of the world in such a significant way. We wish them the best of luck and will be here to support them in their international aspirations."