Kings and queens of Scottish fashion

17 Mar 2015
Share:

From London to Milan, Scotland's fashion designers are excelling.

International celebrities, Lady Gaga and Kylie Minogue, share a common appreciation – beautiful clothes made by Scotland's bright young fashion designers.

When New York vocalist, Lady Gaga – famous for her flamboyant dress sense – wore a silicone rubber dress created by Rachael Barrett in the video 'Telephone', it was another endorsement for Scotland's new generation of designers.

It also confirmed what many in the industry knew, Scotland is a breeding ground for fashion innovators.

Cool Scots

For years, celebrated brands like Prada and Louis Vuitton have sourced rich textiles and fabrics from Scotland, like cashmere and Harris Tweed, incorporating them into their garments and accessories. However, it is in design that Scots are building an international reputation.

One rising star currently striking at the heart of the global fashion scene is Christopher Kane. Born one of five children in Bellshill, Kane has gone from being Young Designer of The Year at the Scottish Fashion Awards 2006 to being compared to the late Gianni Versace.

His first collection, a critical success, featured neon dresses and lace. Every one of his eight collections have sparked admiration and debate, with his edgy, unpredictable creations leading to appearances in Vogue and a consultancy with the Versace Versus label.

Actress Emma Watson and singer Rihanna wear clothes designed by the 27 year old, who fondly recalls window shopping in Glasgow with his sisters. Kylie Minogue hired him to create the costumes for the video to '2 Hearts' and Kane's London show this year proved his styles are what the ladies of taste will be craving to wear in 2010. Kate Moss, Lily Allen and Beth Ditto are already devotees.

"Chris won the Young Designer award at the Scottish Fashion Awards in 2006. Look where he is now," says Tessa Hartmann, founder of the awards and a leading industry voice who has worked with Ralph Lauren and crystal jewellery icons, Swarovski.

"He is up there alongside the leading figures in British fashion. He is incredibly innovative and you never really know what he is going to do, which keeps him ahead of the game. He has gone so far in such a short space of time."

Big in Milan and America

Another Scot at the top of his profession is Jonathan Saunders. The print designer from Glasgow School of Art has continued to shine since graduating in 1999. Following nine seasons showing in London, he wowed the New York crowds with his American debut in 2008, helping him land a commission for US High Street brand, Target.

His mix of graphic designs and prints saw him appointed Creative Director for Studio Pollini and his first collection for the Italian fashion house was shown in Milan two years ago to widespread acclaim. Stores from Moscow to Hong Kong are listed stockists for his clothes.

Building Reputation in Scotland

Not all Scots who are pioneering fresh ideas are having to leave Scotland to be recognised. Milliner William Chambers is a young designer sending ripples across the world from his homeland. Based in Glasgow, the millinery graduate of Metropolitan University counts Moloko singer Roisin Murphy as an admirer of his bespoke, hand-made hats.

A regular in the high fashion press, he shows his collections at a studio boutique in Glasgow and also sells over the world wide web. His original headpieces include golden ram horns, feathers and metallic sculptures.

"I launched my online shop last year which has seen me receive orders from England, USA and the Middle East," says Chambers, who has been influenced by the work of master milliners Stephen Jones and Philip Treacy".

Our Fashionable Ladies

It isn't just Scottish men who are behind some of the fashion scene's most daring creations. Lady tailors are turning heads where it matters most.

Iona Crawford, like Chambers, pursues a highly promising career from Scotland. A first class Honours graduate in Fashion Design at Edinburgh College of Art, Crawford's elegant designs incorporate native fabrics such as cashmere and tweed. Combined with her unique designs, the effect is both contemporary and original. Described by Vogue as 'one to watch', she has recently showed in Tokyo and continues to win exclusive commissions.

Holly Fulton, a doyenne of the high fashion magazines, is another Scot lighting up the scene while Fraserburgh designer Louise Gray's masterful use of embroidery and silks have made her a catwalk favourite.

Celebrities might be rushing to buy garments by Scottish designers but where does Scotland stand, compared to the rest? Tessa Hartmann has no doubts.

"In terms of design credibility, we are one of the foremost in the world." That can only be encouraging for the next generation of designers.

The Scottish Fashion Awards takes place annually in June.

Interested in studying fashion and design in Scotland?

All you need to know about studying in Scotland

Related content

symbolset/rightCombined ShapePage 1Page 1MAP/CLOSEMAP/CLOSEyoutube black circleGroup