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What would you do as an Orcadian, if you saw this polo tee shirt and you were miles from home in the north east of France?
I stopped the car. Jumped out and ran over to the gentleman. No he was not Scottish let alone Orcadian – disappointment!. However I questioned him on the tee shirt. He was proud to tell me that he had won it at the Open de France Polo Cup and that one of their sponsors was Scapa Sports. I didn’t even know that this existed. I looked up SCAPA SPORTS on the net and this is what I found.

About Scapa Sports: Fashion that reaches above every brand. That’s how you could perfectly describe the SCAPA look. A style that, for over 40 years, has defied fashion. etc…… SCAPA originates from the Viking language and means “shelter”. Scapa Flow is a bay on the Orkney Islands in the north of Scotland. It’s there that Brian Redding created his first exclusive sweaters, etc….. In 1967, Elle and Marie-Claire, two French magazines, put a SCAPA sweater on their cover page; it was the beginning of a success story. Scapa is sold all over the world today in more than 50 exclusive SCAPA shops.

So if ever you are miles from home and you see Scapa Sports don’t get all excited – they are probably not Orcadians but eens fae aff.

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Picture added on 16 October 2008
Brian Redding has a holiday home in Orphir called Culdigo.
Added by Alan Clouston on 18 October 2008
Brian Redding?
Did he not buy Scapa knitwear and disassemble it?
Anonymous comment added on 18 October 2008
I bought a similar polo shirt whilst on holiday about 3 years ago, I bartered and got it for 5 euros from Bodrum in Turkey.
Anonymous comment added on 20 October 2008
5 euro! That was a real bargin. They are around 100 euro now. I'll give you 10 euro for it?!
See picture #1284. It's the same owner but they now call it Scapa Sports and belongs to Brian Redding's son Michael as far as I understand.
Added by Barbara on 21 October 2008
Scapa Knitwear-

To set the record straight, in February 1969 Brian Redding was storm bound in Orkney, on his way to shetland to buy knitwear for his wife’s shop in antwerp Miss polly. While in Orkney he made enquires about knitwear in orkney. At that time the council were engaged in knitting classes. Brian was introduced to me, Mrs Alleen Thomson [born and bred orcadian] through a mutual friend Mr Russell Croy.

After a short discussion it was agreed I would take on the task of producing the then skinny seamless sweaters which were in fashion, and Brian would do the marketing. We opened at 51 Victoria Street as Scapa Knitwear Association, later forming a limited company Scapa Knitwear Ltd.

The business both in Orkney and in Antwerp expanded. The business in Orkney was based on home knitters and a full time staff in Kirkwall. My husband [ born and bred orcadian] Roy Thomson and I both joined the company as directors.

During the years we changed our designs twice an year, summer and winter. Scapa Belgium would work on the cloth design with Hunters of Brora, we then would design the knitwear with the same colours of wool for winter, and for summer we worked with cotton.

We showed in Paris every year, once being the only UK firm to show in the Louvre. We produced men's, ladies, and children’s collections, and had our own shows in the major European cities.

Brian then had all the outlets changed to Scapa over 200 outlets world wide.

The Scapa t-shirt shown is produced by Scapa Sports managed by Brian’s son John as part of the now Scapa Group whose headquarters are in Antwerp Belgium.

The business in Orkney stopped production in 1994, due in part to the Chinese buying the entire world cashmere clip and producing 100% cashmere garments and selling for less than our wool cost. The effect was felt all over the Scottish knitwear trade, plus the market for Shetland wool garments had dropped dramatically.

Scapa is still a major force in the world of fashion- Roy and I were over recently in Belgium meeting the staff at Scapa, along with a number of journalists from all the fashion houses. Scapa are still producing the complete range of garments, mostly produced in Eastern Europe.

So there it is- we were proud of our 25 years in the rag trade as is said, proud of our workforce in producing on average 1000 garments a week, all delivered by BA from Kirkwall Airport, meeting a number of the top designers of the time and above all having Princess Anne visit our factory at Junction Road, Kirkwall, during her visit to Orkney in 1990.

Added by Mrs Barbara Alleen Thomson on 23 November 2008
Me mither used to knit bits o jerseys in the late 70`s early 80`s for scapa knitwear.Would I be right in saying that somebody else put the sleeves on them ? as I cant realy mind right, kindo young then.
Added by Dunky Hay on 25 November 2008
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