Texan Dressed to Kilt founder '˜wounded' by Scots snub

The founder of the famous Scottish/American fashion show Dressed to Kilt has criticised the international arm of the Scottish Government for not offering to support the high-profile event.

Kimberly Stewart and Alana Stewart walk the runway at the Johnnie Walker Dressed to Kilt 2006 fashion show. Picture: Getty Images.
Kimberly Stewart and Alana Stewart walk the runway at the Johnnie Walker Dressed to Kilt 2006 fashion show. Picture: Getty Images.

Geoffrey Scott Carroll yesterday claimed Scottish Development International (SDI) had “not bothered to contact us”, despite having an office in Houston, where the fashion show is being held.

As models took to the catwalk to showcase the work of leading Scottish designers on the other side of the Atlantic yesterday, Scott Carroll expressed his frustration at the quango, charged with representing the Scottish Government and Scottish enterprise agencies globally.

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Dressed to Kilt is traditionally one of the highlights of Scotland Week, the series of events which promote Scotland across North America and coincide with the anniversary of the 1320 Declaration of Arbroath.

The fashion show has traditionally taken place in New York, but this year has moved to Houston in recognition of the large Scottish diaspora in the Texan oil and space city and to raise funds to repair damage caused by Hurricane Harvey.

Scott Carroll, the event’s founder and chairman, said: “We have been embraced by the Houston business community and incredibly well supported by the British-American Business Council here in Houston. Indeed the British Consul General here in Houston is actually walking the catwalk as the official model of the British-American Business Council. Scottish businessmen are supporting us. The only group that has not bothered to contact us is Scottish Development International and they have a decent size office here with a half a dozen people.”

SDI has 40 offices across 20 countries. It aims to attract inward investment to Scotland, and promote its exports and the nation abroad.

In previous years Dressed to Kilt has been supported by a host of celebrities and politicians. Alex Salmond has worn a kilt on the catwalk. His predecessor as first minister, Jack McConnell, was criticised for his dress sense when he turned up in a pinstripe kilt and “Braveheart” shirt. Gerard Butler, Andie MacDowell and Mike Myers are among the Hollywood stars who have supported the event.

This year’s event will see Kirk Shireman, the head of Nasa’s space station programme, wear the kilt on the catwalk. One of the beneficiaries will be veterans’ charities, so other participants include former US Navy Seals. Honoured at the event will be Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale, Houston’s man of the year, who opened his furniture showrooms and warehouses to thousands of people displaced by Hurricane Harvey. Designers showcased include House of Bruar and Edinburgh Castle Tweed.

An SDI spokesperson said: “Our key objective of delivering economic growth for the textiles sector in Scotland is focused on engaging more directly with key customers to influence their decision-making process in terms of sourcing from Scotland.”