Material Girl: There is, it seems, little multi-talented fashion queen Catriona Garforth can't do

FROM organising and styling her own photography shoots to creating clothes for "real" women seeking an individual twist on what the high street might offer, multitasking is just another skill to add to a CV that also includes boutique owner, kitchen design artist and stylist.

But there's even more to Catriona than all that. For right now she's managing to juggle her role running her exclusive fashion label Pure, with one foot firmly planted here, the other an entire continent away.

"I know," she laughs, "it's completely crazy to work here and live in Turkey. It's hard and it's stressful, especially flying back and forward, but Turkey has the most beautiful fabrics and textiles that, to be honest, it's working out really well."

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In what must be the ultimate commute to work, the former Firrhill High pupil set up home in Turkey 18 months ago after a holiday romance matured into a long-term relationship.

Yet while she packed her bags for the sunshine and scenery of Dalyan near holiday hotspot Marmaris, her fashion label and the bulk of her business has remained firmly rooted in Scottish soil.

All of which has meant an international juggling act of breath-taking proportions. Yet somehow, although perhaps not that surprising for multitasking expert Catriona, she's managed.

Today she's just stepped off the plane from Turkey, back in Edinburgh for the frantic preparations for next Saturday's unveiling of her autumn/winter collection at a venue that couldn't be closer to "home" and for a cause that most fashion designers wouldn't give a button for.

"My sister, Susie, manages The Gallery on the Corner," explains Catriona, 27. "It's such an amazing place, it helps people with autism and other special needs to get their art shown and sold. The art is fantastic."

Throughout the afternoon models will show off Catriona's latest collection - she describes it as a mix of wearable high street cool created from lace, chiffon and cottons combined with the luxury of handmade. And for each sale, a slice of the profits will go straight to the charity that launched the gallery, Autism Initiatives UK.

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It is, she says, a perfect sister act, both a showcase for her collection and the chance to introduce interesting artwork to people who might never have ventured through the gallery doors.

Since it opened last year on the corner of Dundas Street and Northumberland Street, the gallery has showcased striking art created by people with Autistic Spectrum Condition and various other mental and physical disabilities, as well as provided them with jobs and a workshop area to paint and sculpt.

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What visitors find hanging on the walls, says Susie, 29, can be surprising. "It's 'gallery central' round here," she points out. "So the quality of the art has to be good.

"It shouldn't be a surprise that people with autism, special needs and physical disabilities can create beautiful things. What can be difficult for them is dealing with galleries - they perhaps lack confidence or don't have the business skills galleries demand.

"But there's no doubt that everyone here holds their own against whatever is in the galleries nearby."

The sisters, who grew up in Craiglockhart, have always been close - at one point they ran St Mary's Street boutique Sooc. But Catriona's interests lay in creating designs, not selling them.

Having trained at London College of Fashion, she went on to launch Pure in 2009. She had already built up a solid customer base hooked on her glamorous outfits, when love came calling.

Moving to Turkey was, she agrees, a massive gamble but Catriona believes it could be one of her shrewdest moves. For soon, just as she spans continents with ease, her collection could follow.

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"I'd like to bring it all together and get into the Turkish market too.

"And at least if I'm stressed out doing it, I'll be stressed out in a nice place."

• Catriona will unveil her collection on June 12, from noon to 6pm at The Gallery on the Corner. For details go to or

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