The Scottish collections at London Fashion Week
Christopher Kane, Holly Fulton, Alexander McQueen and more fly the flag in London
For a small country with an estimated population of just over five million, the volume of creative talent that Scotland produces is astounding. This season at London Fashion Week, it was the Scottish designers who stole the limelight. Christopher Kane is still the name on everyone’s lips and for a boy from a wee town near Glasgow, it means a lot that people from Tokyo to New York know his designs. The usually bright and frivolous vision seems to be taking a more mature turn, with this season’s techniques – weaving and crochet – reminding me of a mix between vintage Missoni and Prada. Obviously working with an Italian fashion house is having a lasting effect. Holly Fulton is also a Scot making waves. This season it was great to see she returned to the Highlands for inspiration, the same place where Chanel first got her fascination for tweed. This influence may not be instantly visible in her collection of graphic prints, but it seems she has merged her London aesthetic with the Scottish core perfectly, to create what she calls ‘Chanel on LSD’.
Scottish design had a strong presence in the menswear shows of AW11. Topman Design continued its work with Harris Tweed this season, supporting one of Scotland’s oldest textile producers, with a series of designs, which would happily sit on the shoulders of any diner at Balmoral Castle. JW Anderson pushed the envelope too, as the models walked down the catwalk with shoes covered in what looked like Highland Cow hair and a uniform of wool jumpers and buttoned shirts. This preppy look is a trend I see more and more in Scottish street style – slick hair and buttoned shirts.
The concept of looking back to move forward is nothing new to fashion, but it’s the appeal of Scottish heritage that is really making a difference in fashion today. Alexander McQueen, House of Holland and Mulberry all paid homage to our home country in some form, creating a street style littered with plaids and tweeds. There wasn’t a day that went by at Fashion Week when I didn’t spot someone with a tartan scarf on.
Scotland seems to be the place to get inspiration, whether a native or visitor. It’s the place to learn and grow. I’m proud that our small country can act as such a muse to so many, as well as offer sustainable, fair trade production such as the Macintosh factory which works with international brands like Louis Vuitton and Gucci. As I capture the most interesting trends I find on Les Garcons de Glasgow, I’ll be interested to see how this seasons catwalks will be reflected in people on the streets. And after such a successful year for many Scottish designers across the fashion world, there really is a question mark over who will win the prizes at this year’s Scottish Fashion Awards in June.
See www.LesGarconsDeGlasgow.com for more and check out Jonathan’s independent styling event Bold Souls at Subclub on Sat 5 Mar and monthly thereafter.