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The tartan clothing designers helping to tackle homelessness

Slanj designs tartan accessories – and donates part of the profits to Shelter Scotland. We meet founder Brian Halley.

The latest instalment in our Meet the Maker series features Brian Halley, founder of tartan designer Slanj. He and brother Craig design tartan especially to address the issue of homelessness – donating part of the profits to good causes.

They’ve even designed family tartan for Barack Obama and made him a kilt and trousers… although no-one is sure if he has worn either yet.

What can we find on your part of The Big Issue Shop?

We make kilts, trousers, cushions, ties, bow ties and keyrings all in the Homeless Tartan wool, it is a medium weight and perfect for all these products. The official Homeless Tartan is woven in Scotland. We also make snoods and T-shirts with a tartan sleeve using the same design in a stretchy cotton.

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How do your products make a positive difference in the world?

We make them all in our Slanj Glasgow factory and source the raw materials as locally as possible, making them very ethical. We create work for our staff, in a difficult manufacturing industry. Twenty per cent of sales go to Shelter Scotland, as does the profit from the Big Issue websales.

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What inspired you to start your company and how did it start?

I have always loved design and clothes, although I am not a fashion designer, I do enjoy the business of the industry. The Homeless Tartan was a design I had in my mind and on my computer, long before it was launched. I started the business a long time ago, in 1995 when I began making tartan suits for Scottish celebrities.

What is the biggest issue everyone should know about at the moment?

Climate Change.

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What is one thing anyone can do to make a positive difference?

Be nice to each other and don’t take anything for granted.

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