Maggie Jackson

Northern Ireland Young Business and Professional Woman of the Year in 1989

Maggie Jackson was born on a small farm near Lisburn, Co Antrim, and learned to knit from her mother.

She studied fashion at the Belfast College of Art and Design, and her postgraduate diploma in fashion knitwear was awarded the highest marks in the history of the college.

Jackson's company, Maggiknits, was Northern Ireland’s first fashion design company at a time when there was not even a model agency in the country.

In the 1990s, she changed her company from a cottage industry to an export business, and sells knitwear to the United Kingdom, Europe and the United States.

Maggiknits combines traditional yarns with contemporary fabrics like denim, and also uses colour in an innovative way. Designs incorporate traditional Aran stitches and contemporary style.

For customers who like to knit the designs themselves, Maggiknits kit boxes are produced and packaged in Belfast. The re-useable, ecologically friendly kit box has a natural rope handle, containing your designer pattern, yarns, a hessian bag for hand-made buttons, and a Maggiknits label.

Jackson’s entrepreneurial skills won her the title of Northern Ireland Young Business and Professional Woman of the Year in 1989, and she was runner-up in the UK Award.

In 1994, her designs won the Guinness/Satzenbrau Special Award for Design Excellence, and she recently came joint second in the International Mohair Association Competition for the most innovative ladies’ garment.

Jackson was also chairperson of the Northern Ireland Fashion Designers' Association, and one of the main driving forces behind the Fashion Business Centre.