Record

CodeNA8980
Dates1923-
Person NameKlein; Bernat (1923-)
SurnameKlein
ForenamesBernat
ActivityBernat Klein (b 1923), was a painter, designer and manufacturer in the Scottish Borders. His interest in colour and texture can be seen in his range of fabrics and blends for carpets. Klein was born in 1923 in Senta, north of Belgrade in Yugoslavia, into a family involved in the textile trade. In the summer of 1940, he moved to Jerusalem to study at the Bezalel School of Art, and from there attended the Leeds University Textile Technology course in 1945. In 1948 he was employed by Tootals Mill in Bolton as a Designer. He then worked with Munroe Spun for two years. Based initially in Edinburgh, he was then moved to Galashiels.Klein started his own company Colourcraft (Gala) Limited in the sheds between Netherdale Milland Scholfields of Galashiels [now destroyed] in 1952, weaving rugs, head squares and ties ain a small shed with 4 looms. This involved the employment of local workers and the management of his shop, the 'Boutique' in Edinburgh. In 1956 he moved to the High Mill [now part of the academic buildings on Heriot-Watt University's Scottish Borders Campus, Galashiels]. Trials lengths were produced at the High Mill by Klein and his designers, full-scale production was carried out at Gibson and Lumbair. The group of technical designers included Jeremy Hooker, Grant Gilligen and Caroline Bowyer.Klein's first real success was a rush mohair loop yarn. This was Section dyed- a hank of yarn was clamped twice- producing a two coloured effect with a grading between the two. Then followed Velvet Tweed, inspired by a tie produced in Norway, which incorporated a ribbon yarn. Synthetic ruched ribbon bought from Lyon was also successful, as was slubby worsted yarn. Klein built up trade with outlets such as Marks and Spencer, and in 1962 the fabrics were bought by the couture market. This proved successful with customers including Hardy Amis and John Cavanagh. Klein also sold extensively throughout the United States and Europe, including some pieces for Balenciaga. French couture described Kleins fabric as 'Fantasy'. In 1964, a honeycomb fabric was used to fill Harrods windows. In 1962, following the success in couture, the company was renamed Bernat Klein Limited. Robert Sinclair Ltd., a subsidiary of the Imperial Tobacco Company Ltd., acquired a major share of the business. This company later also acquired Gibson and Lumgair.Klein resigned from the company in 1966 and established Bernat Klein, in a purpose-built building on the outskirts of Galashiels. He developed a cottage industry manufacturing knitwear, at one time employing 250 hand knitters gathering fabric at 3 collecting points.
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