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


10 Questions With….Mohna Linton from The Chic Boutique

Mohna Linton The Chic Boutique

1/ Tell us about your career journey to date.

I graduated with a Masters last year and whilst at university I was gaining invaluable work experience interning for Harvey Nichols, The Scottish Fashion Awards and Good Housekeeping magazine. Working within these established businesses has given me skills and insights that will help to make my business a success.

2/ You recently lauched an online clothes shop. What makes The Chic Boutique different from other online retailers?

The Chic Boutique sells brands that are not currently stocked in the UK or Europe. To stay ahead of competitors I plan to source brands which are new in the UK or just emerging because I like to support new businesses.

3/ How has your business education helped in the launch of your website and what have been your main challenges?

My business education taught me the fundamentals of how a business should operate. I undertook a large research study on ecommerce and luxury branding which definitely helped me understand the industry and what consumers are expecting when they shop online. The main challenge has been finding new and unusual brands which are exclusive therefore I am always keen to make contact with new designers.

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Fashion – Best of the Fest at Judy’s Vintage Fair, Edinburgh Festival Special

Are you a vintage fan? If so you’ll know all about Judy’s Vintage Fair. You may even have been spotted at the HMV Picture House during Judy’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival Special. I had a great time photographing vintage fans whilst soaking up the festival atmosphere and thought I’d share some of the people, clothes and finds that made my day special. (Were you spotted?! LIKE the Frock Trade Facebook page to see all the latest Judy’s Vintage Fair pictures.)

Judys Vintage Fair Edinburgh Festival

Judys Vintage Fair Edinburgh Festival 2





Fashion – In Pictures: Oliver Bonas

Oliver Bonas is the latest fresh face to hit the capital’s high street offering womenswear, furniture and home accessories. It has the sort of cutesy charm that’s impossible not to like and is merchandised in such a way that makes you want to part with hard earned cash. I took a wander around the branch at 45a Hanover Street, Edinburgh and here’s what I found….

Oliver Bonas EdinburghRetro telephone Oliver bonasRetro Armchair Oliver BonasWork hard Oliver BonasMoose Oliver Bonas
Oliver Bonas Edinburgh

Fashion – Behind the scenes on a photo shoot in London

Last week I had the great pleasure of styling a shoot in London with gorgeous model Abi Rose, photographer Jemima Marriott and team. It was great to be in the capital again and we had some scorching weather. Here’s a sneak peak at what we got up too….

Photo Shoot LondonPhoto Shoot LondonPhoto Shoot LondonPhoto Shoot London

10 Questions With….Scottish Fashion Designer Carolyn Baxter

Carolyn Baxter

1/ Tell everyone what you do.
I’m a dress designer and Boutique owner based in Edinburgh. I’m also a Stylehaul partner with Youtube.

2/How and why did you make the transition from designer to boutique owner?
It was a natural progression. After two years of working from a small one bedroom flat. Storing patterns in my kitchen cupboard and climbing over dresses to get to my bed. I decided it was time to have my own studio space. I started looking at studios and realised a shop would be just as practical. A hub for the dresses to be designed and manufactured along with a little showroom shop front.

3/Tell us about your biggest challenges from initial launch to present day.
Money is the obvious hurdle with many designers. I did not want to borrow or bring in an investor so had to work from what I had. My Mum and Gran gave me £1000 to start and off I went. The good thing about the made to measure approach I made each order as I went along which means no big investments or risks. Personally the biggest hurdle was not having my Dad alive to ask business questions and advise. He was an amazing business man who passed away when I was 21. There are many times I have wanted his opinion but had no one to ask.

4/How does your shop cater for women of different sizes and shapes?
We offer made to measure in the store along with fittings which means we shape the dress around your body.

5/Talk us through the layout and feel of the shop. Why is it unique?
When I started looking at shops I know I wanted a interactive studio which shows the dresses taking shape from the front of the shop. However I realised that putting a big glass panel between the studio and the shop would cost a bomb so we have an open studio which you can peer in through the door and see what’s going on. This does mean we have to keep it cleaner than usual though!

6/What are your likes and dislikes of the job?
I love designing new dresses and seeing them being worn by some very inspirational ladies such as Katie Piper. Also when a customer comes to collect their dress beaming with happiness after they try it on. The down side is that there is SO much responsibility on your shoulders. If i’m ill or have to work until 1am I HAVE too, there is no one else to lean on. I also struggle to give the control to other people. Although I have seamstresses I still find it hard handing dresses over to someone else to make them.

7/What do you feel Scottish fashion designers need to succeed?
The internet and some unbelieveable passion and desire for success. The internet and social media has done wonders for my business. My dresses have been shipped to America and Europe due to my Youtube channel reaching global audiences.

8/Tell us about your biggest fashion disaster and how it shaped your personal style.
I went through a Goth stage at 15. I used to wear black constantly and hated wearing dresses or skirts. I guess I was a girly girl at heart but hiding. On my prom I wore a black full length dress and from there I realised it wasn’t so bad.

9/What’s your biggest pet peeve?
Being tied to the shop now and not being able to just pop to the post office or go a walk for a break. I also get really frustrated when celebrities and stylists request a dress or two and you spend the whole night making them for them not to be worn. That is hard to take sometimes!

10/Share something most people don’t know about you.
I can moonwalk! Also I take my business mind from my father who had me out selling caravans and helping him at the markets when I was 9 years old. I learned a lot from him growing up and have taken his fighting desire for success into adulthood and my business.

To find out more about Carolyn visit her ‘One Stop Glamour Shop’ here.

Fashion – Behind the scenes in the North of Scotland

Last week was spent styling a campaign for a Parisian client in the North of Scotland. I was lucky enough to assist a very well known international stylist and had a really valuable experience, plus lots of fun working with some beautiful luxury designer clothes! I can wait to share the final images with you but at the moment I can’t say too much more on the who/what/where so in the meantime here’s some scenic snaps I took along the way to feed your curiosity….

ScotlandScotland ScotlandScotlandScotlandScotlandScotland

10 Questions With….Cally Russell from Mallzee

Cally Russell Mallzee

1. Tell everyone what you do.

I run which is a new way to shop online. We allow you to only see clothes that suit you from your favourite stores. We like to think of it as bespoke shopping. You take a short style quiz, pick your favourite stores to add to your Mallzee account then only see the clothes that suit you from them. To create a great experience we also let you shop with your friends via live chat, interactive polling and browsing together.

2. What prompted you to launch a style website and why ‘Mallzee’?

I think the Internet has changed the way people do a lot of things over the last couple of years but the way we shop online hasn’t really evolved. It’s a massively growing industry but apart from daily deals its not really changed since the early 2000s. I’ve always been blown away by the choice online. Mallzee searches over 750,000 clothes to only show you what suits you – that saves a lot of time.

3. How does Mallzee differ from other online retailers?

We’re a one stop shop. We bring together over 200 stores in one place but only show you what suits you. Our system is totally personal as well so you won’t get the same recommendations as your friends like some other sites.

4. What advice do you give shoppers that struggle to find clothes online?

We’re working on tools to help with finding the right fit online. As a starting basis we look at the shape of clothes to really help find items that suit you.


5. What’s the biggest challenge facing fashion entrepreneurs in Scotland?

That initial early traction, it’s vital to be taken seriously and is harder when you’re in a small country but I think we’ve proved that it can be done.

6. What was the latest thing that inspired you?

I love reading blogs so get inspired by others on nearly a daily basis. The most recent was the quote on the wall at Facebook ‘Get Shit Done’ I think it’s a great mantra and one more people should embrace.

7. Tell us about your biggest fashion disaster and how it shaped your personal style.

It’s not really a fashion disaster but I once messed up with a bottle of hair dye and ended up with jet black hair. I like to think of it as my goth phase!

8. What’s your biggest pet peeve?

Bad train manners. I commuted to Glasgow from Edinburgh for a year when setting up Mallzee and I used to hate people who didn’t know how to behave on trains.

9. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

‘Don’t let others tell you what you can’t do’ It’s so true and I would much rather fail trying than regret not.

10. Share something most people don’t know about you.

I’m terrified of snakes. I mean absolutely terrified. I can’t even see them on TV without freaking out.

To find out more about Mallzee visit or check out Mallzee on Facebook and Twitter.

Fashion – Summer shopping in the rain

It’s pretty tough to know what to buy at the shops this month because the seasons have become so similar, especially in Scotland. Rain, rain and yet more rain. Retailers are releasing their Summer lines with shorts, bikinis and sandals taking over but good weather is so hard to predict that customers are staying away from the high street until they see more sun.

Retail therapy was the name of the game for me this weekend and I braved the rain to visit one of my favourite high street shops, Zara. I couldn’t resist picking up some Summer separates but tried to choose pieces that can be layered up until the weather improves. There’s just no point buying a new pair of denim shorts whilst its blowing a gale outside.

Lets face it, unless you’ve got a fortnight abroad planned your shorts probably won’t be worn much. Nevertheless that won’t stop us buying pretty Summer clothes in a bid to entice the sun from its hiding place! Here are my most recent finds. What do you think?

Floral thirst Zara

Pink trousers Zara

Denim shirt Zara


Denim shirt detail Zara

Floral skirt Zara

FASHION – Top 10 Fashion Rules


Victoria Beckham shared her favourite fashion rules with Grazia magazine this week as she launched her new e-shop. Vikki B told Grazia that her past style choices don’t make her cringe. Does following a set of fashion rules make her so confident? I think so. Here’s ten of my favourites that  fit in with Mrs Beckham’s polished personal style.

10 Favourite Fashion Rules

  1. An oldie but a goodie – show legs or cleavage NEVER both.
  2. Wearing opened toed shoes? Always get a pedicure or at least decorate those nails with some colour.
  3. Goosebumps are not fashionable. Wrap up in cold weather even if your coat covers your favourite dress. You’ll be glad for those extra layers in the taxi queue.
  4. A trench coat never goes out of style. Neither does a simple pair of black trousers paired with a white shirt. Fact.
  5. Invest in good quality jeans. They’re a wardrobe staple and will see you through weekends with the kids, lunch with the girls, walks in the park and all manner of other activities.
  6. Always carry a spare pair of tights in your handbag. There’s nothing worse than arriving at a meeting with a tell-tale snag.
  7. Experiment with accessories. A new handbag in a bright colour can instantly update a staple outfit.
  8. Keep a pair of sunglasses with you at all times, especially when suffering the morning after the night before. A VB favourite.
  9. Invest in good underwear. It’s amazing how many great outfits are ruined by ill fitting bras. Getting properly measured is your top priority.
  10. Last but not least – avoid cheap leggings. Inevitably the fabric will turn see-through and you’ll reveal a bit too much of that new underwear.

What are your essential fashion rules? Share your style secrets below or on Facebook and Twitter.