The rising stars from Glasgow School of Art’s textile department
New fashion talent emerging from Glasgow
Glasgow School of Art’s textile department fashion show is always a good opportunity to spot new talent. Kirstin Innes talks to the stars of the future about the architectural inspiration behind their collections.
Glasgow School of Art’s Newbery Tower is one of the highest points in the city: a grim, grey beacon to 1970s architecture. Its scheduled demolition this summer is set to change the city’s skyline dramatically, which is why for this year’s annual fashion show (the last to take place in GSA’s legendary Vic Bar, too) the textiles students who have made the Newbery their home for over 30 years are paying tribute to the tower block in their capsule collections.
21, Third Year Print
I’m from Shetland, and it’s always had an influence on my prints: an idea of the landscape, or drawings of fish and boats. I like the idea of my home, and the landscape, reappearing within a city environment.
The Newbery Tower means a lot to us. Of course, it’s dingy, dark, old-fashioned and a lot of things don’t work, but it’s got charm, still. I’ve taken a drawing from the outside of the building – something I’ve seen every day for three years – and tried to use the lines and the structure to create architectural print designs, which will recur across my menswear collection. My main influence is Burberry – that very tailored trenchcoat that’s become so iconic – but I also love Alexander McQueen and Tom Brown.
21, Third Year Embroidery
When I left school, my parents wanted me to do something very academic, but I wasn’t sure. So I went and taught in Malawi for three months, and travelled to Zambia, Kenya and Tanzania. I also visited Hong Kong and Vietnam, and the bright colours and crazy patterned fabrics I saw in those countries helped inspire my interest in textiles.
The Newbery Tower studios are so high up they have really gorgeous light: it’s one of the best things about them. I photographed the shadows and patches of light on the ground on a really sunny day and from that found motif shapes, which I’ve placed over my collection. I’ve worked in sequins, different qualities of threads and appliqué. My colour palette is partially inspired by the Tower, but I’ve managed to work maroon and bright, jaded turquoise in there – I love combining those bright colours with neutrals.
20, Third Year Knitted Menswear
I know it’s unusual for a boy who’s 20 to knit. I still live at home in Airdrie, and sometimes when people ask what I’m doing at uni, you see their faces go ‘what?’, but I’m doing what I want to do. My great grandmother crocheted and knitted and left a lot of her pieces as heirlooms; my mum and gran’s houses have always been full of them, and although I didn’t really notice when I was younger, I’ve grown up with them.
I looked at the machinery we use in the Newbery Tower, and tried to translate the structures of the machines into the structures of the knit: a contrast between delicate lace-like work and chunky, heavy knits that I really like. And I’ve gone with quite a feminine colour palette: nude colours, with bright yellow details. Menswear is usually all grey and boring blacks!
Glasgow School of Art Fashion Show, Vic Bar, Renfrew Street, Tue 8–Wed 9 Mar, 7pm & 9pm. £7 (£5)