Quick! Designer Pop-up Shop This Weekend

What are you doing this weekend? If you’re not heading down to the Designer Pop-up Shop at Princes Square, Glasgow then you should be! Seven of the brightest and best Scottish designers will be selling one off editorial samples and seasonal stock at discounted prices for one weekend only.

Join womenswear designers Rebecca Torres and Joanne McGillivray, jewellers Georgia Wiseman and Rene Walrus and accessories designers Bebaroque, Rosie Sugden and Karen Mabon for an evening of fashionable bargains sponsored by Rekorderlig cider (my favourite!).


You already know all about Joanne McGillivray from my feature on her recent Spring Summer 2014 collection launch. The Scottish Fashion Awards Graduate of the Year 2012 makes figure flattering womenswear that’s impossible to resist. Her equally esteemed peer Rebecca Torres makes super slinky dresses that are most definitely guaranteed to make you look good on the dancefloor. Both ladies are, incidentally, taking part in another pop-up opening at House of Fraser, Glasgow in the coming weeks.

For the sparkle hunters, get yourself in on the Georgia Wiseman and Rene Walrus action. Both ladies are lovely and more importantly absolute jewellery geniuses – check out their websites and see for yourself.

Last and by no means least a trio of amazing accessories designers that make me happy in very different ways. The girls from Bebaroque have officially made hosiery (and the super tight body) cool. With Lady Gaga and Katy Perry on their customer database the Accessory Designer of the Year winners are definitely doing everything right. Whilst you’re snapping up some tights why not prep for the snow ahead with a scarf and bobble hat from Rosie Sugden, her silky smooth Cashmere is irresistable, snuggly and keeps you toasty warm.

Miss Karen Mabon is another creative whizz that you won’t see on the high street. Her perfectly illustrated silk scarves are cute and sartorial in equal measure. Race you to the checkout to bag one of these beauties!

Pop up Princes Square

Go on – support local independent fashion designers this weekend by visiting their pop-up shop on the Ground Floor of Princes Square, Glasgow.


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….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.

10 Questions With….Emma Kerr from Elkbi

web Jumper and Skirt

1/ Tell everyone what you do.

As two recent graduates from Grays School of Art, Robert Gordon University, we set up Elkbi. Elkbi is a Scottish fashion label with a focus on locally and ethically produced and locally inspired fashion that is  hand screen printed and hand dyed. Elkbi was created to stand up against the swash of plain high street fashion garments. We stand for individuality and the art of producing one of a kind or limited run clothing editions.

2/ What prompted you to design clothes and why ‘Elkbi’?

We see creating clothing as an extension of producing art. We are living our dreams through our passion for exciting fashion prints. ‘Elkbi’ is an amalgamation of our owners names, ELK coming from Co-Owner Emma’s initials and BI a shortened version of Bison which exists in the surname of the other co-owner Michael Harbison (both pictured below). Also elks and bisons were two powerful animals that lived during the ice age in Scotland. This unique name goes well with our brand ethos of bringing something new to the market.


3/ Talk us through your first collection and share your future plans?

Our first collection was our humble beginning, testing the waters with what we like in fashion and seeing if others liked our take on the market. Thankfully it’s gone down better than anticipated so it’s all go for the future.  Our first collection launched in Spring of this year with featuring hand illustrated Scottish nature, flora and fauna. Moving on from this we have created a set of designs which are due to launch on the 8th June. These designs are a lot more elaborate and graphic with a strong emphasis on trends and a striking monochrome series for summer.

4/ What are the best and worst things about working as a duo?

Best: Two minds are better than one, especially two creative ones. Worst: Narrowing down the huge wealth of good ideas a team can create and running with the best ones.

5/ What’s the most pressing challenge facing new Scottish designers?

Besides the obvious economic downturn in the UK as a whole the availability of assistance and start up help, particularly in more rural spots such as ours in Dumfries & Galloway, is a huge difficulty. We have been lucky to find a few helpful hands but it has been a fight to get out there and known.

6/ Which designer do you most admire and what would you ask them over dinner?

Vivienne Westwood. She has become an icon and a true fashion innovator by keeping Scottish fashion alive. She proactively uses traditional Scottish textiles and combined with her unique eye and passion she creates something very memorable. If we had the chance to talk we would love to ask her what makes her so passionate about fashion and at what point in her career did she finally realise she had ‘made it’.

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

I’m a bit of a walking clothes hanger and am often found wearing too much charity shop vintage at once. I think my friends will definitely agree with this. I think it is important to stick to your own style though. I Iike to adapt trends to my own style, collate and combine my own pieces. Fashion is such a personal thing.

8/ What’s your biggest pet peeve?

People who jump on our success. We have been approached by many people who would like to use our hard work for their own gain. We really appreciate what we have because we have worked hard to get here. We believe people should use their own initiative not ours – “A lot of people never use their initiative because no-one told them to.” – Banksy

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

Our friends and family have been amazing, and have really supported us. We can’t thank them enough for this and we certainly wouldn’t of made it this far without them. “Life is what you make it, be different.” 

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

Even though we met at university most people don’t know that we grew up only 5 miles apart. However it took 200 miles to Aberdeen for us to actually find each other and cross paths again.

For more information about Elkbi visit www.elkbi.com,  www.facebook.com/elkbi  or email info@elkbi.com

FASHION – ASOS Marketplace champions Scottish designers

ASOS Marketplace recently celebrated its 2nd birthday, thankfully I can’t see any sign of the terrible twos here. Infact the website is expanding very quickly. Following their visit to Scotland I had a chat with the ASOS team to find out more about their successful Marketplace concept and their favourite Scottish designers.

Chou Chou Couture

Why did ASOS create Marketplace?

The idea for ASOS Marketplace had been kicking around at ASOS for quite a while. We wanted to offer a platform where anyone and everyone can sell fashion within a true fashion environment. We turned two recently and we can’t believe how much we’ve grown in two years. There are just so many products available on the site now which means we can offer our customer more choice than ever. The photography coming through now is beautiful and gives us lots ways to feature boutiques in different ways across the site.

What’s the very best thing about ASOS Marketplace?

It’s a platform where anyone who loves fashion, anywhere in the world, can sell fashion to anyone who loves fashion, anywhere in the world. The site is made up of vintage boutiques, independent labels, multi-brand boutiques and wardrobe recyclers. By shopping on ASOS Marketplace you are supporting independent labels and the growing businesses which is lovely. Plus, your item is likely to be a little more unique, particularly if it’s vintage or a smaller label. That’s the beauty of ‘boutique’ shopping.

Which designers/boutiques excited you during your visit to Scotland?

We loved visiting Scotland not only to meet potential sellers but to visit our existing boutiques. We are super excited about what’s in store for Jennie Loof and are so impressed by the time and detail that goes into all of her pieces. We had a lovely meeting with both ChouChou Couture and Once Upon A Time Vintage and fell in love with the passion for their collections as well as the ladies themselves. We also got to visit Circa Vintage’s gorgeous store and meet the lovely ladies behind the beautiful imagery we see on our site. It’s always a treat for us to see the products we have been lusting after in the flesh!

Tell us more about ‘The People’s Runway’

The People’s Runway is a showcase of the best photography from across the site. The photography rules state that the image must be shot on a real person in a real setting. This is what sets us apart from other selling platforms and avoids any over-edited imagery. It’s where we look if we’re in a style rut and need a little outfit inspiration. Our boutiques aspire to appear on our People’s Runway as the images are hand selected by our Editorial team – it’s only the best!

Find out more at ASOS Marketplace. Image: Chouchou Couture

FASHION – Launch of Design Collective Scotland

Pictures by Ann Russell

4 designers – Marc Ross, Iona Crawford, Emily Lamb and Di Gilpin; 1 ambition – to collaborate and promote Scottish fashion talent through Design Collective Scotland

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.