The Fashion Foundry: helping Scottish designers to grow

4 May 2019

The 2019 exhibition. Photograph: Fashion Foundry

Another string to the bow of Scottish fashion

The Fashion Foundry has been an incubator for the Scottish fashion and textile scene since opening its doors in 2012. The talent centre was designed to support creative and commercial development in the Scottish fashion industry and provides commercial support for Scottish fashion and accessory designers.

Scotland’s world-renowned Art and Design schools have been cultivating fashion designers who continue to impress on the global stage, working at some of the largest fashion companies, retailers and manufacturers. London, Paris, New York, and Milan, the traditional hubs of fashion. But, owing to the rise of online shopping and the Instagram runway, the customer base is becoming increasingly global, and so individuals have more freedom to start up on their own elsewhere, and the Fashion Foundry is part of the reason why Scotland is a good choice for talented designers to enter the market.

According to their website, the Fashion Foundry has supported the development of 21 brands through five other well-known designers in their Emerging Designer studio residency programme and their Changing Gear programme.

As part of the programmes, emerging designers are paired with creative mentors and coaches to help provide tailored support programmes that give designers time, space and industry expertise to grow their brand and build their business.

Nadia Studio, Hayley McSporran and Rosella May, graduates of the programme this year showcased their work in an exhibition and screening curated by Clubhouse Paradiso on 25 April.

Video: Ke Deng

Image: Fashion Foundry

The Fashion Foundry commissioned Clubhouse Paradiso to create three short video presentations featuring the work of this year’s emerging designers, each of whom expressed a different aesthetic through their work. Wooden frames and unique music in the background complemented the exhibition of the designers’ work.

Ralph McClure, the designer of Clubhouse Paradiso, said: “We started preparing for this event three months ago and I am very satisfied with today’s exhibition. Especially the few bags hanging, I like their colours very much.”

Accessories from NADIA – STUDIO. Photograph: Fashion Foundry

At the event, NADIA – STUDIO showcased the strong expressive power of their brand. It is an accessory brand that aims to create soft, luxury goods with an industrial edge.

It represents a forward-thinking design process that uses colours, lines and shapes to create unique pieces for any occasion.

In terms of design standards, NADIA – STUDIO draws on industry experience to ensure that the materials and processes used meet the highest standards. They handcraft each product in their design studio in Glasgow.

According to  their website, they are a socially engaged brand that is committed to breaking through the boundaries of fashion accessories, seeking different personalities, and ultimately aiming to provide something different.

Dresses by Hayley McSporran. Photograph: Ke Deng

Hayley McSporran, had graduated from the Glasgow School of Art with a master’s degree in Fashion Design after winning the John Mather Rising Star Scholars Award, part of the Glasgow School of Art MDes Fashion Promenade 2015.

Her dresses on show at the Fashion Foundry exhibition displayed her simple and elegant design style. McSporran’s style is low-key femininity and functionality, that produces beautiful work inspired by the sculptural form. Contemporary tailoring, volume and fun elements form the basis of the collection.

Denim from Rosella May. Photograph: Fashion Foundry

Rosella May presented three exhibits, including denim and printed skirts. She has a fresh and pioneering style that bridges the gap between creative and social issues through denim-focused lenses. Rosella May’s is a unisex brand. Her design style focuses on the balance of clean contours and innovative textured fabrics.

May said: “In the past eight months, incredible products were selected for the screening preview of Clubhouse Paradiso. We were excited as you are to watch the production.”

This young designer founded her brand during her time as a denim designer for Calvin Klein in Amsterdam and has worked with the Scottish Mental Health Association to develop the “Stigma” collection.

Through her design work, May has tried to highlight the stigma surrounding mental health and how to break down negative perceptions and misunderstandings.

After May’s denim graduate series and her work at Calvin Klein Jeans, the brand naturally follows the path of denim.

Outfits by Rosella May. Photograph: Rosella May

Mairi McDonald, a designer at the exhibition said: “The preview finale event was lovely to go to, as always, and celebrate the designers of 18/19 and their creative concepts. I love working with the designers on their journey and seeing their amazing final results.”

The Emerging Designers will be based in the Southside of Glasgow, sharing resources in a bright, airy design workroom. The team will meet with experienced industry experts every month.

Fashion Foundry is a cultural business office project funded by Creative Scotland.

In addition to Emerging Designers, Fashion Foundry also supports FF AWARD and offers Masterclasses in finance and branding. If you want to know more, click here.

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