Did you know that some of the world’s leading fashion designers are from Scotland?
Scotland is famous around the world for its natural beauty, diverse wildlife, vibrant culture and historic heritage – but you might not be aware of the impact that our country has had on the world of fashion and textiles.
Scottish fashion has a charm and appeal all to itself. Although you might be thinking tartan kilts and pom pom hats made from fur, Scotland has a rich history of producing high-quality textiles that have been exported all over the world. Top of the list of ‘most-wanted’ fabrics has to be the iconic Harris Tweed. This classic fabric has been produced for over 100 years on the Outer Hebrides by master crofters who work tirelessly from their island homes to produce over a million metres of Tweed a year. This kind of work doesn’t come cheap, so it should comes as no surprise that this material is being used by top fashion houses all over the world.
Scottish Cashmere is another material that has recently experienced a boom in popularity. Although cashmere is produced in varying qualities all around the world, there is only one mill in Scotland that manages the entire process from raw fibre to finished material. Johnstons of Elgin were established in 1797 and have been producing supremely high-quality products from raw fibre to finished item since then. They have a commitment to the traditions that have made the company one of the most renowned producers of woollen goods in the world, and whilst they’re prices are hardly affordable to the average person, this reflects the cost of high-quality craftsmanship and impeccable standards.
Amongst the reams of wool, quality tartan and cashmere, there are also a number of notable Scottish designers who have risen to prominence, their success has been celebrated worldwide and has led to their work being worn on the red carpet at The Oscars and catwalks at some of the most prestigious fashion shows in the world:
Born in Newarthill, North Lanarkshire, Christopher Kane is one of a handful of young Scottish designers to have risen to international prominence in the last decade. The youngest of five, Kane got an early start in the world of fashion, attracting the attention of Donatella Versace in 2005 after winning the prestigious Lancome Colour Award whilst still in college. A year later, Kane followed up this coup by winning the Harrods Design Award for his Graduate collection consisting of stretch-lace dresses with brass rings. He was quickly picked up by Versace as a consultant, and has been a constant feature in the world of fashion ever since.
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Known for his independent flair and adventurous spirit, Graeme Black has been leading the charge for Scottish fashion since graduating in fashion at Edinburgh’s College of Art in 1989 when he began his career as an Assistant Designer at John Galliano, Arabella Pollen and Zandra Rhodes. From there Black made a career defining move to the continent and began an iconic streak of design work with Les Copains, followed with stints with Giorgio Armani where he rose to become the head designer at Borgonuovo Black Label. Following a five year engagement at fashion house Salvatore Ferragamo, he has been travelling the world working on a freelance basis ever since.