Scotland Re:designed plot return to Scottish fashion scene

20 March 2019

Photograph: Dominic Martin

Scotland has a very diverse fashion scene that is often overlooked, usually only receiving attention from the select few who believe that their local designers and heritage is worth more than what high street fashion brands can offer.

SR:D, otherwise known as Scotland Re:designed, has been a leading light for Scottish fashion despite the lack of attention in the last year.

Their event in 2017 was the biggest fashion event I had ever attended and the space was buzzing with the excited chatter from Scotland’s top bloggers, influencers, interior designers, textile designers, jewellery makers and everyone else who received an invite or contributed their designs.

The venue, the runway, the music were all in perfect harmony, showcasing Scotland’s talented designers and proving Scottish fashion can keep up with the London Fashion Week.

Chris Hunt, founder of SR:D and owner of Genuine PR wanted to give the Scottish fashion scene a space to showcase their collections on the catwalk and an opportunity to sell their wares. Hunt said: “Fashion students and graduates used to say you had to leave Scotland to be successful, as aside from studio space etc, there was just no network or infrastructure, and I wanted to bring people together to change that.”

Hunt fronted the Glasgow Design Collective, a not-for-profit project and brand started in 2005 to give designers the chance to showcase their collections just like they would at London Fashion Week. “Early participants included Christopher Kane and I recruited partners such as Whyte & Mackay and Glasgow City Council.” Said Hunt.

The project morphed into Scotland Re:Designed in 2012. The aims were annual awards, stores, shows and showrooms in New York, Glasgow, Chicago, Paris, London and Hong Kong.

The SR:D runway and awards in 2017. Photograph: Dominic Martin

Up until 2017, SWG3, in the West End of Glasgow, was home to showcases and award ceremonies, while storefronts in New York and Chicago allowed people living across the pond to see the latest and best of Scottish designs.

The SR:D calendar for that year included photo shoots, talks, exhibitions, runway shows and awards. The runway featured clothes from Cats Brothers, CrossCashmere, Laura Ironside, and jewellery from Lynne MacLachlan whose 3D-printed pieces are also part of the permanent collection at the V&A museum in Dundee.

Their last event, the SR:D fashion show and awards two years ago had a record number of participants and attendees. They welcomed Pam Hogg and Holly Fulton, Scottish designers who presented the awards after a fashion show that showcased Scotland’s top design talent. This was certainly a highlight for Scotland’s fledgeling fashion credentials.

Then it all stopped.

In 2018 Hunt turned his attention to something different, but just as exciting, to keep SR:D on top and allow the Scottish fashion scene to develop into something bigger and better.

“2018 was Scotland’s Year of Young People, and a major priority for me was to support Shauna McGregor who has worked freelance with me on and off on the project in recent years through all the events, funding applications and sponsorship proposals, and to take the project on to an independent organisation,” said Hunt.

After the extended break, SR:D is plotting its return with something that will pull the Scottish fashion scene together and give it the attention it deserves.

Their upcoming projects are currently top secret, but a mailing list on the SR:D website is open for those who want to know the news first.

Although SR:D’s future projects are being kept hush-hush, Hunt gave me an inside look at the coming changes during our interview. The biggest announcement was shared with the world on 8 March, International Women’s Day, this year.

Hunt took to Instagram to break SR:D’s year of silence, saying: “*NEWS* Thrilled to celebrate #internationalwomensday by announcing @shaunamcgregor as new Director & sole Owner of @scotredesigned – a fully registered independent Community Interest Company.”

SR:D announcement on Instagram

McGregor said: “Plans are underway for SR:D and are very much in the initial stages. We hope to eventually have enough support and funding to bring SR:D events throughout the year in various venues and destinations, catering to a wider audience.”

McGregor is excited to share everything Scotland has to offer when it is time for SR:D to open its doors again. She is also excited to take over from Hunt. “I’m ecstatic. Chris has left such a legacy and built SR:D up to a phenomenal standard and I am absolutely in awe of everything he does. So taking on this role is such an honour.”

After converting to a Community Interest Company in 2018, the project relies on funding and their events depend on investment from all over the world. When asking McGregor about support from the Glasgow City Council she said: “it would be fantastic.”

SR:D is invested in “developing a successful design community,” says McGregor. The feedback from the public has been very positive and past events were highly recommended to everyone with an interest in fashion, textiles and interiors. SR:D is aiming to support Scotland’s growing fashion scene and encourage young people to support their own heritage.

Photograph: Dominic Martin

“SR:D is inclusive and welcomes all. It’s so great to see such a bustling scene of young entrepreneurs, influencers and movers and shakers come to the limelight now and to see people working towards their passion,” says McGregor.

There aren’t many places in Scotland where you can buy the latest collections from top Scottish designers, but if you are keen enough there is always a pop-up shop in the Lighthouse, the Colab store just opened to let local designers showcase and sell their products or you can find a few pieces in the Scottish Design Exchange stores in Glasgow and Edinburgh.

Shopping from local Scottish businesses ensures their continued operation and is good for the Scottish economy and sustainable fashion. Local support is essential to keeping Scotland’s outstanding creative scene operating.

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