Joanne McGillivray SS14 Collection Launch

One of my favourite Scottish designers and all round lovely girl Joanne McGillivray launched her Spring Summer 2014 collection last week at Glasgow’s SWG3 (a former show space for Christopher Kane).

The Scottish Fashion Graduate of the Year 2012 showed her ‘Under the sea’ collection featuring dresses, shorts, a-line skirts and jumpsuits in aquatic shades of blue and green, complimented by jewellery from Euan McWhirter. Stand out pieces included a clear plastic rain mac edged in orange trim and an elegant sea blue printed jumpsuit.

Joanne McGillivray

The sold out launch party, attended by 200 fans of the brand, was a success with Clyde 1 DJ Diane ‘Knoxy’ Knox on the decks, bright blue cocktails and delicious Snuggle Muffin cupcakes.

Snuggle Muffin Cupcakes

Joanne has enjoyed considerable success since launching her debut collection in June 2013. She designed a sell-out dress for high-street giant Marks and Spencer and completed an internship under their Head of Design. This Christmas Joanne  will celebrate a bumper year with two pop-up shops. One at House of Fraser Glasgow from 14th-26th December and the other in collaboration with fellow Scottish designers from 21st – 24th November at Princes Square.

Joanne McGillivray

Here’s a snapshot of me with the designer (right). Read more about Joanne McGillivray in my ’10 questions with…’ interview here.

Ann Russell and Joanne McGillivray


Congratulations! Jane Davidson nominated for a Drapers Award


On today’s blog I’m giving a big shout out to my favourite local independent designer boutique, Jane Davidson who have been nominated for a Drapers Award.

Edinburgh Independent Retailer Jane Davidson have been shortlisted in the Premium Fashion category at the Drapers Awards 2013. The brand new Drapers Independents Awards have 15 categories covering a wide range of achievements in fashion retailing.

Scotland’s most exclusive independent retailer is owned by Sarah Murray, Jane’s daughter, and is based in a Georgian townhouse in Thistle Street. The store has expanded from one floor to four in the last 10 years and has introduced many high profile brands to Scotland including Jimmy Choo, Roland Mouret  and Victoria Beckham.

For Autumn/Winter 2013 Jane Davidson stocks Temperley London, Matthew Williamson, Roksanda Ilincic, Dries van Noten, Preen and Zoe Jordan exclusively in Scotland. Other key brands include Diane von Furstenberg, Theory, Escada, J Brand and La Perla lingerie.

The original shop was founded in 1969 in the Grassmarket area of Edinburgh by Jane Davidson, now Jane Hall. The original boutique sold only British brands including Jean Muir, Ozzie Clark and Jean Varon and was attached to a church in the Old Town.

Good luck to the whole Jane Davidson team at the awards ceremony on November 7th at The Waldorf Hilton, London. Fingers crossed! In the meantime check out my coverage of Jane Davidson’s Pringle of Scotland event for

Womenswear Makeover at House of Fraser Glasgow

When I think about shopping in Glasgow I never forget House of Fraser. The flagship department store on Buchanan Street has been a favourite of mine since I was a teenager splashing my pocket money on sparkly tops and spritzing the perfumes in the beauty hall. Since moving to Edinburgh my visits to the store have been less frequent so I was really excited to be invited to a private preview of the new womenswear collections this week.

House of Fraser has had a makeover and with its new look comes the introduction of 18 exciting womenswear and accessories brands to the 2nd and 3rd floors. An invitation to join an intimate gathering of the most influential Scottish bloggers led me to Hugh’s Champagne Bar within the store. I enjoyed a few glasses of Mumm Champagne and some tasty treats amidst the company of the House of Fraser’s team and fellow fashionistas Thank Fifi, Bee Waits, Betty Swollocks, Glasgow Mummy and Lisa Ringrose.

Hugh's Champagne Bar House of Fraser Glasgow

Following an introduction to the brands from each concession manager my fellow bloggers and I were guided around the store to admire key pieces from each collection. We were pretty excited about being in the shop after hours and were even lucky enough to take home a special gift of our choosing. I picked out this gorgeous cobalt skirt from German label Hallhuber that will be perfect for Winter with a pair of thick tights, some chunky boots and a cosy knit.

Hallhuber Skirt House of Fraser

Hallhuber is one of Germany’s best-known womenswear labels and is a welcome trend-led addition to House of Fraser. The modern outlines and feminine shapes are perfect for both everyday and occasion wear. It’s particularly popular with street style bloggers in Germany, Munich and Budapest. Another highlight was young womenswear brand St Martins that launched in 1997. None of us could resist the quirky lining within this colourful trench coat.

St Martins Coat House of Fraser

House of Fraser has successfully added a refreshing sartorial edge to its womenswear offering and I can’t wait for further fashionable developments from my luxury department store of choice.

(The 18 new womenswear and accessories brands to join House of Fraser this Autumn Winter are Alexander McQueen, Gestuz, Hallhuber, Hugo Boss, Kilian Kerner, Lavenham, Love, Marella, Napa Pijiri, Neon Rose, Noisy May, Norr, Paperdolls, Paul Smith Black, Replay, Sandwich, Worn By and Yumi) For more information visit

10 Questions With….Mairi McDonald

1/ Tell us about your label

Mairi McDonald is luxury womenswear with a free-spirited feel and a rebellious edge. It’s an exploration of the unconventional dark beauty within key textiles, dishevelled for a rock ‘n’ roll edge with a high standard of craftsmanship. The effortless glamour of the Mairi McDonald label allows the wearer the freedom not to conform.

2/ Why did you become an independent fashion designer?

I wanted to step away from designing for other companies and channel all my energy and thoughts into developing my own aesthetic and signature. The ultimate achievement for me as a designer was to develop and launch my own label. Even with the huge risks involved I’ve trusted my instinct that I’m following the right path with this venture. I want to create luxury ‘forever’ pieces for my customers wardrobe combining beautiful fabrics, edgy textiles and intricate detail.

Mairi McDonald
Image: Designer Mairi McDonald

3/ How have your Scottish roots influenced your designs and where do you find inspiration?

Having such a strong focus on textiles and working with homegrown lace manufacturer MYB Textiles is a perfect fit and it’s great to refer to a piece as a ‘Scottish lace dress’. I’m continually inspired by iconic women in and around the music scene. The debut collection entitled ‘Electric Eclectic’ was inspired by the girlfriends of the Rolling Stones in the Sixties, Marianne Faithful and Anita Pallenberg. Kate Moss, Sky Ferreira, Alison Mosshart and Daisy Lowe are also perfect present day muses for this collection. I’m passionate about vintage fashion and creating an eclectic look by mixing influences from Victorian silhouettes and detailing with 60’s and 70’s bohemian styling. I’ve spent time trawling vintage markets in Paris and London for inspiration and this is still a starting point for my research today.


Image: Scottish ecru cotton lace and silk mix dress with crochet lace trim

4/ How would you define the Scottish fashion scene and who do you admire within the industry?

There is a growing Scottish fashion scene with an eclectic mix of established and emerging new labels. Events such as the Scottish Fashion Awards and platforms like Scotland Redesigned are hugely beneficial in terms of exposure as a new designer. This is an extremely tough industry and I have admiration for all the designers that evolve their labels seasonally and have earned their success through hard work and determination.

5/ You recently entered Stylist Magazine’s competition to become ‘Britain’s Next Maker’ which boasts a prize fund of £10,000 for your creative business. How would you spend this money if you won?

The prize fund would be completely invaluable at this stage of my business. I’ve achieved so much in a short space of time but the harsh reality is money is essential to enable me to keep pursuing my ambition and developing my label.

6/ The competition involves a public vote. Why should people feel compelled to vote for you?

I’m truly committed to fulfilling my creative vision with my luxury label, continuing to invest 110% to grow and evolve my brand into a sustainable business whilst establishing my own distinctive signature. I want to expand the brand nationally and internationally and continue to build and develop my skills in business by taking a beautiful product and creating a desirable, successful Scottish brand.


Image: Black lamb nappa, suede and silk jacket with lamb nappa tailored shorts

7/ You’ve both studied and worked in London. What career opportunities are fashion designers given in London that you’d like to see being offered in Scotland?

Studying at London College of Fashion allowed me to access the centre of Britain’s fashion industry, from having lecturers who were also designers or art directors for high profile magazines. I felt privileged to be there and treated college as on the job training. Luxury brands need to offer internships for students and jobs for graduates to allow us to feed into our own economy and capitalise on Scottish talent.

8/ You currently teach and mentor up-and-coming fashion students. If you were in charge what initiatives would you put in place to support Scottish graduates after the conclusion of their course?

There should be more funding available for fashion businesses as fashion doesn’t always fit neatly into arts or innovation funding categories which can be very frustrating. The Scottish Textiles industry is on a global high so now is the time to invest in emerging design talent with an emphasis on sustainability and exporting.

9/ What has been the biggest challenge of your career to date and how did you deal with it?

Making the transition from Senior Designer for a large label to creating my own label has been a huge test of confidence, skill and ability. To be proud of a collection that is completely designed to ‘my’ brief and not a ‘given’ brief has been so liberating.

10/ What plans do you have for your label moving into 2014?

I’m currently taking my debut collection ‘Electric Eclectic’ to market with lots of interest around this collection. My main priority over the next few months is establishing my signature in the public domain and having a look and style that is recognisably ‘Mairi McDonald’.

To vote for Mairi to win Stylist Magazine’s ‘Britain’s Next Top Maker’ competition click the link and look for the Mairi McDonald profile on the main page

Find out more about Mairi McDonald on her website

Scottish designers celebrate Wool Week

As the weather gets colder knitwear shopping is at the top of my agenda so when I heard The Campaign for Wool had partnered up with 15 student designers and 10 top British fashion brands to create a series of jumpers I was excited to see the results.

Now in its second year, the Wool School offers student designers the opportunity to design a jumper which will be sold nationwide by some of the UK’s top retailers during Wool Week (14th-20th October). Students were selected from 12 leading textile and fashion universities with creatives from each retailer deciding on a design that would be sold by their label.  The Campaign aims to encourage young designers to engage with natural fibres and create innovative knitwear pieces whilst learning more about the wool production process.

Wool is such a integral part of Scotland’s fashion heritage that it seems fitting to have a programme that educates up-and-coming designers about the ways it can be crafted for a modern audience. With that in mind I was particularly pleased to hear that three young Scottish Designers Francesca Stride (University of Glasgow), Lindsay McQuarrie (Jordanstone College of Art) and Emma Lawrie (University of Edinburgh) had created winning designs for Pringle, Brora and Folk respectively.

Folk Wool Week
Brora Wool Week
My particular favourite is this modern boat neck lambswool sweater (pictured below) by Francesca Stride for Pringle. Its reverse intarsia is a modern take on the brand’s signature Argyle print. Having interviewed Pringle’s COO Tracy Chapman recently for Vogue I know how passionate the brand is about working with innovative fashion students and I’m sure Francesca will be pleased to see her design added to Pringle’s prestigious archive at the brand’s Hawick mill.

Visit for a list of Wool School stockists.

Pringle of Scotland

Fashion – My words in VOGUE

If you were to tell me as a young journalism student that my writing would appear in VOGUE I’d probably smile wistfully at the prospect. Today it actually happened! My coverage of the Pringle of Scotland capsule collection launch in Edinburgh appeared online at To see my byline on those news pages is nothing short of a dream come true so thank you to everyone that made it happen. Particular thanks goes to Pringle of Scotland, Jane Davidson and Anna Freemantle who co-ordinated and hosted the event. Here’s my first article for VOGUE in all it’s glory. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it!


My London Fashion Week Diary No.1

London Fashion WeekWhat a great first day at London Fashion Week! Somerset House was swarming with journalists, buyers, photographers and bloggers all keen to check out the new trends for Spring/Summer 2014. I had two particular highlights amidst the shows today.

The first was Bora Aksu who was celebrating his 10th year at London Fashion Week. He opened proceedings at 09.30 this morning with a wonderful collection of Turkish inspired palette of blues, off-whites, bright yellows and fuschia pink. The designers heritage was palpable as the audience shared in his memories of Summer days spent on the Aegean Coast. The combination of a long fuschia gown and some clever musical accompaniment made the tent fizz with excitement. We all know that when editors and bloggers echo a collective nod the designer has shown something special.

After my emotional experience at Aksu I had another happy moment in the front row at Felder Felder when a series of shimmering ocean blue foamy fabrics floated past me. The watery wonderland that Annette and Daniela Felder created had mermaid-like models and oceans of reptile print. Smiles from celebrity fans Laura Whitmore, Donna Air and Made in Chelsea’s Rosie Fortescue sealed the approval for this body confident collection. Visit the blog tomorrow for more London Fashion Week highlights.
Felder FelderFelder Felder

My London Fashion Week Diary No.2


If you’re following @FrockTrade on Twitter you’ll know that my weekend was filled with shows and presentations at London Fashion Week. I wrote about one of my favourite Scottish designers, Holly Fulton via my Fashion Spy blog for The Herald. If you missed it here’s a wee peek at some of the review to keep you in the know….

“Cheers for Holly Fulton echoed around the main tent at Somerset House this afternoon as the Scottish designer showcased her spring/summer 2014 collection on the second day of London Fashion Week.

The show opened with a sea of blue denim dresses embellished with Fulton’s signature art deco motif. Models glided down the runway stopping only to pose against a pillar covered in deco wallpaper, the perfect backdrop for Edinburgh-born Fulton’s pastel and citrus colour palette.”

Read the rest here

My New York Fashion Week Highlights


It’s here. A whole month of international fashion shows! Check out my  highlights from New York Fashion Week below – thumbs up go to Victoria Beckham, Alexander Wang and J.Crew.

Despite Harper stealing the limelight, Victoria Beckham’s show was a hit with the fashion crowd as she continues to boost her status as a credible womenswear designer. Her monochrome shirts, jackets and cropped trousers were punctuated with fuchsia pink as VB moved away from her trademark body-con dresses to show roomier silhouettes.

Pastels are a major trend for 2014 so hold onto some of your wardrobe from last season. Alexander Wang opened his show with pinks and blues and Prabal Gurung defied logic by making lavender look cool. Designer of the moment Wang (who splits his time between his own label in New York and Balenciaga in Paris) had a celeb-filled FROW with Kanye West, Courtney Love and Solange Knowles all excitedly awaiting his new collection. Plus his adorable niece Aila Wang sent street style photographers into overdrive as the first person to wear his ‘Parental Advisory’ t-shirt complete with a tiny custom made leather skirt. These fashionable kids are taking over!

At Jenny Packham a whole collection of glamorous skirts and dresses floated down the runway with perfect peaches and blues all ready for Kate Middleton’s wardrobe. However, the most wearable collection of the week came from J.Crew, the masters of Californian cool. Their surfer inspired collection was full of Hawaiian florals and relaxed sweatshirts. And don’t get me started on those yellow and orange print shift dresses! Love is an understatement. I also spotted J. Crew’s shoe collaboration with amazing British designer Sophia Webster. A savvy business move now that J.Crew have announced the imminent arrival of their first non-American store on London’s Regent Street.

As New York Fashion Week comes to an end, I’ll be travelling to London Fashion Week tomorrow. Share in my favourite fashion moments here on Frock Trade and on Twitter and Facebook. (Picture above: Sunnyside Social Media)

Friday Fashion Film – Fendi & Wonderland

This week I can’t get enough of two fashion films. The photography, scene and subject work so well that it’s hard not to be spellbound by the Fendi film. Fendi collaborated with image-maker Ruth Hogben on the fashion film to show off their underwater-themed Pre-fall 13-14 collection.

‘Drawing inspiration from the fashion house’s Roman roots, Hogben aimed to capture the essence of a true Roman woman – a strong, confident female. ‘The Roman woman does not perform, she is performed to,’ explains Hogben.’ Take a quiet moment to watch the film and be momentarily transported into a luxurious palatial world….

I’m also liking the pink trend for Autumn / Winter that was shown by Jonathan Saunders, Miu Miu and Roksanda Illnic amongst others at fashion week. As the weather starts to get colder we’ll be snuggling up in cosy pink knitwear and counting the days till Christmas. Check out this video by Wonderland for Winter wardrobe inspiration….