Scottish Fashion Festival: Centuries of textile making to be celebrated as festival returns to Dundee

Centuries of textile making will be celebrated in a new exhibition set to take centre stage when the Scottish Fashion Festival returns next month.

A shopping centre in Dundee, the home city of the festival, will play host to the multi-media exhibition, which will explore working practices in medieval, pre-industrial and post-industrial eras, as well as the modern-day fashion and textile industries.

The Talking Threads exhibition, which will take over the former Coats-Viyella store at the Overgate, will turn the spotlight on the largely-female workforces from different eras.

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Objects from the museum and collections in Dundee and Paisley will be going on display as part of the exhibition, which aims to uncover “hidden stories from diverse perspectives”.

The Scottish Fashion Festival will return with an awards ceremony and runway catwalk show at the V&A Dundee museum. Picture: Julie Howden
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The Talking Threads show is expected to produce “a rich tapestry demonstrating what people's lives were like, the music they listened to, the work they did and how it made an impact”.

Members of the public are being asked to contribute their memories, old photograph of working in factories, warehouses and design studios.

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Due to run from 16-20 November, the exhibition is part of the first official ‘Year of Stories’ in Scotland.

Talking Threads is expected to be one of the highlights of the festival, which is aimed at raising awareness of an industry estimated to be worth more than £2.8 billion a year to the Scottish economy. The event will feature hundreds of models, designers, photographers, makers, and hair, beauty and make-up experts.

The Scottish Fashion Festival will return with an awards ceremony and runway catwalk show at the V&A Dundee museum.

The V&A Dundee museum will be hosting a catwalk fashion show and awards ceremony to open the festival on 15 November.

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Among the designers whose work will be showcased on the runways will be Aileen Sherry, Cosimo Angiulli, Megan Laing, Jen McAlinden, Hayley Scanlan, Megan McKay and Maisie Farrer.

A pop-up shop will be run on Union Street in the city centre by the Dundee Unesco City of Design team, with Fraser Taylor, Jeni Allison, Jolene Guthrie, Ewelina Gepert, Christopher McEvoy and Chantal Allen among those whose creations will be on sale.

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A “Show Us Yer Plaid” tartan ceilidh will be held across the River Tay in Newport, in Fife.

Images of Dundee jute workers are expected to feature in the Scottish Fashion Festival exhibition in the city next month. Copyright / on loan by kind permission of the family and estate © The Joseph McKenzie Archive, thanks to The McManus: Dundee’s Art Gallery and Museum

Annie Marrs, lead officer with Unesco City of Design, said: “We’re delighted that Dundee, the UK’s first and only Unesco City of Design, will once again be the city at the heart of the Scottish Fashion Festival programme. This event supports and raises the profile of textile design as an important part of Scotland’s design story and we are particularly excited to highlight those stories.

“We can’t wait to see the outstanding contributions to the festival by some of Dundee’s and Scotland’s best fashion and textile designers and industry.”

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Exhibition co-curator Chris Hunt said: “We hope people of all ages will share their experiences, and come and visit us on site in November, before we develop and grow this exciting new project over the years ahead.”

Paul Bush, director of events at government agency VisitScotland, said: “We are once again proud to support Scotland Re:Design’s Fashion Festival, which will spotlight Scotland’s fashion, creativity and design talent.

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“Following last year’s successful event, it’s great to see that sustainability will once again be at the heart of the programme, alongside equality and diversity – strands which align with our organisation’s strategic priorities.”

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