SCOTTISH style has a worldwide following, arguably nowhere more so than in Asia, where tweed, tartan and heritage brands are incredibly popular.
It was fitting, then, that the theme of this year’s From Scotland With Love fashion show was “the Scottish Lion meets the Asian Dragon”. Held in Hell’s Kitchen, New York City, on Monday night, the annual charity show – one of the biggest in the world in terms of media coverage – featured a host of celebrities modelling the work of Scottish designers, and the theme was designed to engage buyers and designers in Asia.
One of the fastest-growing markets in the fashion industry, Asia is a prominent target for Scottish designers thanks to the popularity of the Scottish aesthetic in the region. Pieces on show at the high-profile event included everything from traditional kilts to high fashion from young and emerging designers. Models taking to the catwalk included Miss Scotland Nicole Treacy, news anchor Chris Wragge and rugby player Richie Gray. Actor Kevin McKidd and DJ Calvin Harris also strutted their stuff.
Former first minister Jack McConnell played relatively safe when he stepped onto the runway, perhaps wary of repeating the sartorial faux pas he made in 2004 when he donned an ill-fitting pinstriped kilt for Tartan Week in New York. On Monday evening he wore a muted tartan jacket with wide lapels and a tie in a paler tartan. It had a touch of plaid overkill about it but he toned things down with dark trousers and a white shirt.
Scottish designers exhibiting their creations included Henrietta Ludgate, Iona Crawford and avant garde label Obscure Couture. Milliner William Chambers supplied the headpieces and fabric from Harris Tweed Hebrides featured heavily.
One section of the show showcased the work of designers supported by a Scottish Enterprise scheme. Fashion Foundry is a “business incubator” for fashion and textiles designers in Scotland, which offers them 18 months of business support to help them grow their labels. Designers Rebecca Torres, Saunt & Sinner, Hilary Grant and Mairi McDonald all showcased their creations with the help of the scheme. The designers teamed up with Scottish textiles firms to create pieces that were fresh and unique while referencing Scotland’s rich textiles heritage. Award-winning designer Judy R Clark – who uses silk, Harris Tweed and vintage lace in her work – created a one-off dress using the powder blue World Peace Tartan, which has been worn by the Dalai Lama. Scarves in the pale tartan were also worn by a number of attendees including Kevin McKidd.