10 Questions With….Joanne McGillivray

Joanne Mcgillivray wearing her own label with Model (Right) wearing her winning design _4

1/ Tell everyone what you do.

I am a fashion designer and own my brand called Joanne McGillivray. 

2/ Take us through the steps involved in creating your new collection and what makes it special.

I will normally start with a theme. Something that I find interesting or has caught my eye. I then collect loads of images related to that theme and basically filter it down to find out what exactly it is I like about those particular images. It can be a lengthy process but worth it as I understand the collection more. 

3/ What sort of woman would you like to see wearing your latest designs?

Women who are classic, feminine and stylish. I don’t like labelling my brand with an age limit. If you feel great in my clothes then I’ve done myjob! 

4/ Where or from whom did you find inspiration for autumn/winter 2013?

My new collection is called The Russian Revolution. The inspiration was taken from a recent trip to St Petersburg, Russia. I loved the city and the details in all the buildings. When I came home I couldn’t wait to start the design process.  (A piece from Joanne’s new collection is pictured below).

Joanne McGillivray

5/ What specific challenges do designers face in Scotland and what forms of assistance are most needed?

I don’t think designers in Scotland face any specific challenges differently to designers anywhere else. It is tough to make yourself known within the industry as a new designer. One thing I would say is Scotland needs to more forward thinking about manufacturing and fabric. 

Tell us about a time when you were surprised by an unexpected personal success.

Has to be winning the 2012 Graduate of the Year at last years Scottish Fashion Awards. The standard in the category was so high it genuinely was a shock when they announced my name. (Soon after graduating from Heriot-Watt University in 2012 Joanne won Graduate of the Year from the Scottish Fashion Awards.  As a result, Joanne worked with Marks & Spencers to put her winning garment design into production. The dress she designed is pictured below and is now available in stores).

Model wearing Joanne Mcgillivray M&S dress_1

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

There isn’t really one particular fashion disaster. I think from about the age of 13-17 was all pretty much a fashion disaster. It did take me a while  to fall into the style I have developed now. 

8/ What’s your biggest pet peeve?

Long evening dresses what don’t touch the ground! Every women should try their heels on with the dress before buying. 

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

Dress for yourself, not for anyone else. 

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

I actually started my degree in Textiles then moved over to fashion in 3rdyear. Thanks goodness I did!

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FASHION – Street Style Today with Photographer of the Year Jonathan Pryce

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The popularity of street style imagery has meant some photographers have taken their eye off the ball. They’ve forgotten about capturing the man and woman on the street in favour of chasing the latest IT girl in an offensive but equally eye-catching outfit. When looking at street style images we want to see the fashion choices of real people. Isn’t that why we call it ‘street’ style?

I still believe street style photography is a wonderful vehicle for the documentation of evolving fashion tastes without a studio or film set in sight. In addition there are still street style photographers who are inspired by the ‘Average Joe’ and appreciate the self expression of the man on the street.

Cue Jonathan Pryce, a street style mastermind who won ‘Photographer of the Year’ at Scottish Fashion Awards 2012, and still finds interest in the style choices of the everyday man.

Jonathan, how has street style photography changed since you took your first picture?

I took my first street style photo in January 2007 so in the past 5 or 6 years things have really evolved. There was a quiet revolution happening with blogging in the end of the 2000’s and a large part of this was street style photography. As with all things organic it was raw, a little rough around the edges and done by people out of love. Now, as with most things, it’s become far more commercial and more of an ‘industry’. I don’t think that shows much sign of slowing.

How has the growing culture of celebrity affected street style photography?

The influence is most present at fashion week. It’s interesting to be standing outside a large show with a mixture of bloggers, fans and paparazzi all trying to get shots of different groups of people. One of the major reasons for the celebrity photos is the demand from glossy magazines like Heat.

What inspires you about fashion on the streets?

The simple fact that it’s real people. Fashion week can often be tiring because it’s obvious that you’ll see someone who is dressed well – they either work in the industry or are dressed by people who do. Street style is exciting because someone sat at home and thought ‘hmm…what will I wear today’.

Do men and women respond differently to being photographed?

Drastically. Men are far more reserved and tend to be a bit embarrassed. I think it’s more acceptable for a woman to be proud of what she’s wearing or her looks.

When you’re looking for subjects to photograph what kind of style catches your eye?

It’s always that ‘je ne sais quoi?’. It’s about personality. Standing out for the right reasons. Confidence. Other than the beard project, I rarely try to seek out particular styles.

If you approached someone who was camera shy how would you put them at ease?

The best way is to chat to them for a bit. It’s great to learn about the people I photograph anyway so I can usually tell when is best to go for a bit of banter.

What’s the cheekiest thing you’ve done to get a good picture?

I think the only thing that could be cheeky is a bit of flirting. It’s always good to win the subject over and the relationship between the photographer and subject is usually quite charged – a bit of a wink always helps things along.

Image: Jonathan Pryce. Jonathan’s book ‘100 Beards:100 Days’ is out now www.lesgarconsdeglasgow.com

FASHION – EXCLUSIVE look at AW 2011 shoe collection before Fashion Week

Scottish Fashion Awards nominee Emily Lamb gives Frock Trade an exclusive peek at her AW 2011 collection and talks about her upcoming debut at London Fashion Week.

As her London Fashion Week debut edges closer we assumed the nervous butterflies would have begun to flutter but Scottish shoe designer Emily Lamb can hardly contain her excitement.

“Being involved in London Fashion Week is incredibly exciting! Although it’s my first time exhibiting I’m not apprehensive (yet!). I’m showing in collaboration with Design Collective Scotland so I’m not on my own. There’s four of us involved and we’re helping each other by collaborating and showcasing our work together”.

Emily (pictured right) became involved in the collective after she was approached by fellow Scots designer Iona Crawford. They plan to gradually include more Scottish designers in the group with the intention of promoting their work internationally.

International acclaim was a distant daydream for a young Emily who admits to doodling shoes in the margins of her school notebooks:

“Shoes have always been something I’ve loved but I hadn’t realised I could make a career out of them until in turned 16 and someone told me I could actually study shoe design. I was probably quite lucky that I discovered my passion early on as I guess it can be quite difficult for young people to choose a career path at that age”.

Little did she know her chosen path would lead her to design shoes for celebrity fans Shirley Bassey, Claire Danes and Kelly MacDonald. Despite this early following Emily admits she gets more anxious when designing for her friends and family:

“The most daunting thing is designing shoes for people I know. I’m making the shoes for my best friend’s wedding and I’m feeling the pressure. I hope she likes them!”

Emily designs the shoes from her Scottish base using materials mainly from the UK with leather sourced from Barrhead. She returned to her native Glasgow following post graduation training with bespoke wedding shoemaker Emmy because she wanted to start her own business and avoid steep London rental costs. However, upon her return to Scotland she was frustrated by the lack of support for emerging Scottish designers:

“I was on a programme with the Centre for Fashion Enterprise but couldn’t continue as I wasn’t based in London. I found this really frustrating and wondered why there wasn’t more help for fashion designers in Scotland. I really feel there is a distinct lack of Scottish Government funding for fashion designers which is a shame because there are so many exciting things happening in the industry at the moment. Ideally in the future the Government will support fashion designers in the same way that they support artists.

Despite the lack of funding I would advise new designers coming out of college to get as much experience as they can. An internship whilst still studying is fantastic but I would definitely suggest graduates get as much experience after university as possible. There’s only so much you can learn from your course and getting practical industry experience is invaluable.

However, they should keep in mind that there’s no nine to five. My typical day involves getting up at six o’clock and finishing work around nine o’clock. Some days I work later and it’s pretty hard to switch off. I have to be really involved in the manufacture of the shoes and work in close partnership with the factory to ensure the finished pieces are exactly what I want. But I do think I’ve struck a happy balance between taking a back seat and showing a keen interest in the whole process”.

Despite the long and irregular hours Emily has had numerous business successes including nominations at the Scottish Fashion and Scottish Variety Awards.

“Setting up a business has been incredibly hard work. At first I wondered why people said business was so tough but now I realise it’s a constant juggling act that you have to get just right. You put your trust in other people to deliver on time and there’s a lot of admin and marketing work in the background. It’s nothing like I expected but it’s also the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done.”

Emily’s focus for the remainder of 2011 is to increase stockists across the UK and internationally. Visit www.emilylambshoes.com for more information.