Home / News / UKFT Rise – Founder Feature with Jonny MacKinnon Designs

UKFT Rise – Founder Feature with Jonny MacKinnon Designs


Meet Jonathan MacKinnon, 33,  founder of Jonny MacKinnon Designs, an innovative textile design studio in Scotland.

Jonathon MacKinnon

Jonathan MacKinnon, Founder of Jonny MacKinnon Designs


Read Jonathan’s feature with UKFT Rise below:

Company launched in: 2021

My background is in… Woven Fashion & Textile Design

I decided to start my business because…

As a country we have rich weaving history which has slowly diminished over the years. Although we still have mills and design studios who focus on woven textiles, there are very few left. I started Jonny MacKinnon Designs as a way to add or give back to the industry, rather than taking a job and becoming part of another company. It is up to small brands and studios to grow the industry – promoting the idea of buying local and supporting slow design is important in today’s world.

Jonny MacKinnon Designs samples

Jonny MacKinnon Designs samples


Something that really helped in getting my business of the ground is…

Support. This support comes in many forms. From the daily support from my wife and daughter to wider support from the textile’s community. I have been helped by the Incorporation of Weavers in Glasgow, The Worshipful Company of Weavers in London and lots of smaller branches of the textile industry tree, promoting and helping me grow both as a designer and as a small business.

An area of business I’d like to gain more knowledge of is…

Business as a whole! Being a sole-trader, I am finding it difficult to source funding, design products, manage finances and social media, network whilst finding downtime for myself and family. There are so many areas which need juggling, it can be hard to organise and find fluidity in the workday. My main aim right now is to develop a product line which helps give a stable income, some knowledge within that area would help a lot right now.

Jonny MacKinnon Designs

Jonny MacKinnon Designs


Three important qualities for an entrepreneur are…

Vision, Passion and Decisiveness. Having a clear view of where you see your business in the future, the passion to get up every morning and do it, even just checking one thing off your long list and the decisiveness to make choices quickly and coherently which are best for your practice. 

A UKFT Rise subscriber I find inspiring would be…

Revival LDN is a brand who inspires me right now. Founder Rosette’s interest in sustainability and re-use of textile waste echoes my own business ethos. Taking what is wrongly determined waste and finding a responsible new use for it is what I try to do everyday in my studio. I work mainly with waste selvedge from mills and discarded garments to bring them together in new and imaginative ways, adding value back into waste whilst saving at least a little from ending up in landfill. My overall impact is very little but what this industry needs is a LOT of little companies like Revival LDN to take ownership of the materials already prevalent in the industry and do something with them.

Something happening in the industry that’s inspiring me right now is…

The push by small and large companies alike to align themselves with more sustainable values. Although there is still a lot of greenwashing going on, it is good to see a lot more transparency happening within the industry, from yarn and material producers through to fashion houses and design studios. We still have a long way to go but by giving consumers a greater insight into production, it will allow for better, responsible choices to be made when purchasing product. People are beginning to value slow, long-lasting design made with quality materials over fast, destructive, throw-away products.

A change I’d like to see in the industry would be… 

More funding being made available to smaller businesses and studios looking to develop sustainable and responsible products. There are lots of people pushing the drive to a more responsible future but too often, it is the larger companies who have the market presence and overshadow who is doing the real research and development behind the scenes. Funding would allow for more collaborative opportunities between smaller brands to challenge the market leaders for space and presence.

Jonny MacKinnon Designs

Jonny MacKinnon Designs


Can you elaborate about the inspiration in your work?

The inspiration for my work comes from many places but mostly history, whether that be in the form of my immediate surroundings, gallery or museum collections, documentaries, or photographs. What has gone before us lays the groundwork for what is to come next or methods for development. Also within textile design sometimes looking to the past for inspiration provides techniques which have been forgotten or dropped but over time, become relevant again.

What are your achievements and how have they shaped your career? 

Each year since I left my past career as a Microbiologist and returned to college to begin my career in art and design, I have been awarded or recognised for my passion and effort. These little awards have slowly grown in size from awards for academic excellence to where I have been taken to Taiwan to display work in a fashion show, awarded a top scholarship from The Worshipful Company of Weavers and most recently, being commissioned to weave a wall hanging for the Worshipful Company and being chosen as a recipient of the Tennents Light Spotlight Project award, giving me funding and support to keep growing my business. The small awards mean just as much to me as the large awards, each one shows me that I was right to pursue this career and am on the right path.

Jonny MacKinnon Designs sample

Jonny MacKinnon Designs sample


Do you have any exciting news to share for 2022?

I have a few exciting commissions on the books but most notably I was recently announced as one of five recipients of the Tennents Light Spotlight Project award. This project gives five Scottish creatives a business boost, supplying them with funding, marketing, mentoring and support to get their business off the ground. My project is focused around re-using waste materials from Scottish mills to design new ways of working with it to create viable cloth. This project will culminate in an exhibition in September where I aim to launch a capsule collection of garments created from the material once destined for landfill.