Paulo puts business on a pedestal

Michael Lemetti of Clan Italia with Scots singer Paolo Nutini
Michael Lemetti of Clan Italia with Scots singer Paolo Nutini

Scottish recording star Paolo Nutini is singing the praises of a Falkirk business.

The chart-topping musician was in America during last month’s New York Tartan Week – and was dressed to thrill in a custom-made suit by Clan Italia.

Set up by Camelon chip shop boss Michael Lemetti, the company produces clothes and accessories made from Italy’s national tartan.

Paisley-born Paolo took to the stage at the ‘Dressed to Kilt’ event in the suit and afterwards personally thanked Michael, as well as ordering a pair of jeans made from Italian tartan.

Michael, managing director and creator of the Italian tartan, said: “It was one of my proudest moments when Paolo stepped on to the stage to perform the event’s opening song Caledonia. People may think a tartan suit is twee, but I don’t think anyone who saw Paolo that night left thinking that! He showed the world that tartan can be cool and he told me that he loved wearing it.”

Dressed to Kilt is held annually in New York to showcase Scotland’s flourishing fashion industry. Clan Italia’s ‘Kiltie’ apron was worn by waiters at the event and is now proving popular back home, being sported by staff from the Lavita Group restaurant chain in Glasgow.

After attending last month’s show, Clan Italia now has interest from companies such as First National Bank of Long Island and Michael has even approached business magnate Donald Trump about a venture.

He is also about to embark on collaborations with young Scots designers, including Iona Crawford and David Ogilvie.

Michael has been receiving support from Business Gateway, which provides practical help, advice and support to new and growing firms.

He added: “I am indebted to them. If it hadn’t been for the advice and support I wouldn’t have benefited as much from the visit to New York. My adviser has given me a huge amount of confidence in my business, pointing me in the right direction and helping me focus on how to best meet the growing demand from overseas.

“Since returning, I’ve had hundreds of e-mails from companies, such as the bank, interested in buying products for corporate gifts. I’ve also just taken the first orders for Italian tartan kilts on the back of the event. While I was in New York, I asked Donald Trump if he’d be interested in upholstering his Scottish golf club venture in our tartan and he told me to speak to his son.”