The people making Scotland a fashion force

Great Scots: The top fashion crowd in Scotland. Picture: Phil Wilkinson
Great Scots: The top fashion crowd in Scotland. Picture: Phil Wilkinson
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This week the Scottish Fashion Awards relocates to a new venue in London, focusing the UK’s eyes on all that is great and glamorous north of the Border.

But who are the real movers and shakers, the designers, retailers, power brokers and influencers putting this nation on the global fashion map?

Some of our hand-picked fashion favourites have been nominated for awards this week, others are just doing amazing things that deserve recognition. So, without further ado, ladies and gentlemen, we give you Scottish fashion’s vanguard. n

Twitter: @Ruth_Lesley


Aberdeen’s Gray’s School of Art was the breeding ground for designers Toni Roddie and Emma Noble, who learned their craft in the studios of Christopher Kane and Georgia Hardinge. With the help of £10,000 worth of private investment they launched Saunt & Sinner in Glasgow last year, and released their debut collection in March this year. The latest collection, unveiled last month, has a dark side, portraying sinister children who are both innocent and angelic at the same time, with echoes of those contrasts in the use of luxurious felted wool and sheer silk chiffon. Their work has already gained fans in Emeli Sandé and Burberry model Sophie Kennedy. They take their place in the young designer category at the Scottish Fashion Awards.


Also nominated in the young designer category, Birge is an Edinburgh College of Art graduate who, in his final year, participated in Creative Scotland’s Starter for 6 programme, which helps promote young businesses that have a strong focus on innovation. This enabled him to set up his label Jacob Birge Vision, and he has since shown at Graduate Fashion Week, the Edinburgh International Fashion Festival and London Fashion Week. His focus is not just on high-end, modern womenswear and accessories – his laser-cut leatherwear for 2014 is out of this world – but on the entire visual package, including video installations, fashion films and sound design, making Birge a true style all-rounder.


The designer couple bring together a collection of unique clothing, including Fee’s own designs, as well as homeware, taxidermy, art and books in their Life Story lifestyle shop in Edinburgh. Everything they stock is sourced from independent designers and artists around the world, with the aim of both supporting the creative community and giving shoppers an imaginative alternative to the high street. This month they launch their online retail operation, and their first menswear collection will be arriving in time for Christmas.


Nominated as communicator of the year, Glasgow-based McCrossan might be weighing up the relative merits of peplum in her weekly fashion column one minute; the next she’ll be designing her own collection. She even spent six months wearing only clothes she had made herself. The author of A Girl’s Guide To Vintage, she is the resident fashion expert on STV’s The Hour, a talented stylist, and earlier this year she added the role of fashion curator to her CV when she was asked to join Wayne Hemingway’s Vintage Festival in Glasgow. Her Great Gatsby-themed catwalk show was the highlight of the weekend-long event.


The legacy of Scottish golfer Old Tom Morris lives on in a new label, relaunched this summer. The original was established back in 1848 by Morris himself, four-time winner of the Open Championship. Now given a make-over for the modern man, it takes its inspiration from the innovation of Morris but gives it a updated, sports-luxe edge. Using Scottish wool and a tartan specially designed for the brand by Kinloch Anderson, it has a thoroughly contemporary feel that is most definitely not just for golfers. It is nominated for a retail award.


Who did Karl Lagerfeld call when he wanted to find a majestic Scottish location for his Chanel Metier d’Art extravaganza last year? Or Carine Roitfeld when she planned a Scottish-themed shoot? Why, Marie Owen, of course. As director of Location Scotland, she brings the likes of Pringle, Anthropologie, New Look, M&S, Marie Claire, Boden and Elle to the country, arranging logistics, talent, accommodation... and anything else a brand needs to make its campaign run smoothly. She’s responsible for putting Scotland on the map as a go-to destination for fashion brands and magazine editorial shoots.


Glasgow School of Art graduate Wiseman was named one of the “brightest stars in the Scottish firmament” by the Sunday Times in 2005. Yet she’s delightfully down to earth, living in a quiet pocket of countryside outside Glasgow with her partner and young family. She’s known for creating one-off, limited edition pieces, but last year relaunched with a new vision, making more affordable fashion jewellery that retains her signature style and excellent craftsmanship. She is nominated as accessories designer of the year.


As the originator of Scotland’s first design collective concept, and the person who has introduced designers such as Christopher Kane to textiles firms such as Johnstons of Elgin, Glasgow-based Hunt is both mentor and curator. His latest project is Scotland Re:Designed, a platform that is now in its fifth season and includes workshops, runway shows and networking for industry insiders, students and graduates. He has buyers from Liberty, Harrods and Harvey Nichols attending, alongside curators from the Victoria & Albert Museum.


The Edinburgh-born model has appeared in ID Magazine, Dazed & Confused and Vogue, and walked for designers including Christopher Kane, Henry Holland and Mulberry. At London Fashion Week last month she was booked out every day and is now expanding her career into presenting, acting and, next stop, fashion design. There is no stopping this girl. Just ask her 54,000 Twitter followers.


The Glasgow girls with a wicked sense of style just keep going from strength to strength. And if featuring in both British and French Vogue within two months isn’t a sign that you’re accepted into the fashion hierarchy, we don’t know what is. Lyndsay Pagan and Jennifer Coyle founded the label in 2010 and quickly developed a cult following, being worn by the likes of Haim, Marina Diamandis, Lana Del Rey, Dionne Bromfield and Little Mix. Everything they make is limited edition, individually numbered and made in the UK, meaning each piece really is one of a kind. It’s also impossibly, unashamedly, sexy. Their vision is world domination, their motto: ‘Make your other clothes jealous’. And next year, men get a slice of the action, with a collection based on US trailer trash culture. Think bleached, acid-wash denim, fringing and embroidery. Yeeha! They are also featured in the young designer category.


Continuing the legacy her mother established with the Jane Davidson boutique, Murray has been responsible for securing any number of designer exclusives for Scotland, among them Roksanda Illincic and Matthew Williamson, and she will be hosting this month’s star-studded Pringle catwalk show in Edinburgh’s Signet Library. Just back from the Paris shows, where she hand-picked pieces for the store’s spring/summer 2014 collection, she has also been nominated in Drapers’ prestigious awards in the Premium Independent category.