FIFE-based textile designer Di Gilpin has just completed work on the first ever hand-knitted designs for clothing brand Wolsey.

The knitwear specialist, whose creations for labels and designers have appeared on the catwalks of London, New York and Japan, has produced an autumn/winter menswear range for the brand.

The designs will appear in high-profile stores such as Harvey Nichols in the run-up to Christmas.

Founder Di Gilpin said: "That's a really fab range and I think there will be quite a lot of [fashion] press coverage about it, obviously because it's an extremely old label and it's by appointment. We've made the most beautiful collection for them and we've just sent most of the deliver off.

"I would think it would be in the stores in the next few weeks."

Ms Gilpin's work with Wolsey, which included technical pattern writing and design input, is one of numerous collections it has designed for brands.

Ms Gilpin, who has also designed for Nike, Kanye West and Top Shop Unique, said producing for major labels is responsible for around one third of her firm's revenue.

And she said it was important for Scottish industry, too. Ms Gilpin said: "It's keeping manufacturing in Scotland, which is really important.

"It's bringing clients from abroad to look at having things manufactured here.

"I've been over in New York talking to Ralph Lauren and the knit design team there about bringing hand-knit back to Scotland.

"They haven't had hand-knit made in Scotland for 20 odd years, and I'm working hard to try to get some interest to bring it back and using Scottish fibres."

Ms Gilpin moved into fashion design about three years ago, having spent the previous 27 operating in the knitting business.

Originally working from a croft on the Isle of Skye, she sold knitted patterns and her own creations in her own shops, before deciding to focus on designing for others.

By her own admission, Ms Gilpin "didn't expect anything major", even though she had previously created acclaimed work for major designers such as Paul Hardy in Canada.

But within a week of starting she was asked to create a collection for designers Meadham Kirchhoff, the "bad boys of London fashion", for London Fashion Week.

The project saw her and her team assemble as many as 48 items within seven weeks, with garments ranging from full-length hand-knitted tights to a dress and shoes.

Development work then followed with Nike, for whom she worked on development concepts for hand-knitted trainers and bomber jackets for the US Olympics team. Nike did not win the commission, but the designs remain on the slates.

The commissions from designers have continued to flow. Last year she worked on a collection for Edinburgh Fashion Week with designer Graeme Black and the biggest Chinese cashmere company in the world. Now the company is marketing a keenly anticipated collection of its own, which will include homeware and ceramics as well as cashmere and lambswool clothing.

The Largo range, named after the company's Largoward location, is all made from an exclusive yarn, developed in partnership with local spinner Todd & Duncan.

The designs, available in store and online, have a distinctly Scottish feel, and are heavily inspired by coastal Fife's maritime heritage.

Ms Gilpin has assembled a team of 90 home-based knitters to work on the creations, based in locations as disparate as Eriskay, Benbecula and Aberdeen.

But she has also surrounded herself with expertise in-house.

The 10-strong team includes production, graphics and packaging experts, with a graduate recently taken on board to translate some of the hand-knit designs into more affordable, machine-knitted garments

Exports are on the company's radar, too. Two further commissions are in the pipeline for Japan - one for accessories, one for a menswear range - after exporting more than 1,000 pieces to one customer in the country last year.

A collection developed in collaboration with Hancock VA, a Cumbernauld-based outwear manufacturer, is currently on sale in Japan.

The company's efforts to break into the Japanese market were aided last year by Business Gateway Fife. It funded the purchase of equipment, including an Apple Mac computer, that allowed short promotional films to be made, showcasing the products and the process which creates them.

Ms Gilpin said the films allowed her to show potential clients in Japan "inside the studio, what we do and what makes the company so special" when she visited the country last year.

As well as designing for clients, the firm creates patterns and supplies wool for people to make their own garments. The patterns, which can be accessed on the company's own website and through its online shop on the website Ravelry, have even been developed for iPhone covers.

Ms Gilpin said a key motivation in her work is highlighting the range of textiles Scotland has to offer.

She said: "I've developed with Todd & Duncan [Kinross-based spinner] a really beautiful hand-knit lambswool, which is really unique. It's got a special twist. It's very soft. It's a very modern fibre with a rather traditional look, and it's perfect for hand knit-knit, so we are really keen on developing more and more fibres here, and cashmere, which can be hand-knitted rather than just machine-knitted.

"That's a whole new area in textiles that is kind of developing, which is exciting.

"I'm passionate about that. I'm passionate about getting the message out to not just to hand-knitters, but to the fashion world that Scottish lambswool is fantastic."