With Cathy Owen
Over the last few months I’ve highlighted great fashion buys from many high street stores, but this issue I’m singing the praises of our local designer heroes.
Many of you may be familiar with our Scottish fashion industry big hitters, such as Christopher Kane, Holly Fulton and Jonathan Saunders, but on this occasion it’s about showcasing emerging talent who are creating beautiful fashion, reviving traditional skills and using heritage fabrics with contemporary design.
Kicking off with a personal favourite, Strathberry is Edinburgh-based luxury brand that design the most exquisite bags. From the practical and stylish Strathberry tote to the cute MC mini, all have amazing colour options, the signature bar closing and enduring quality and style. At almost £500 for a large tote it is an investment buy, however I have a past season MC case that carries my laptop and every other essential and I can testify it’s a keeper. Put it on your Christmas wish list!
Next up is Elizabeth Martin Tweed. Elizabeth creates pieces that span the ages. For the more daring, you can wear the lace bell skirt and top with just lingerie, for a more conservative look a slip takes it down a notch. Her coats are classic, which is NOT code for boring when so beautifully made from heritage tweed and in flattering cuts. The Gordon Military Jacket (£499) will be amazing with tailored trousers for a business meeting and just as good at the weekend with jeans and boots.
Okay, thus far my favoured Scottish designs are investment shopping, in comparison to a quick fix from the high street, so let’s consider less expensive accessories. Helen Ruth designs digitally printed scarves that are hand finished in Scotland, but look a little closer…depictions of fairytales and childhood memories come together in surprising designs. Jeans and a shirt will instantly be elevated when worn with one of Helen Ruth’s stunning designs.
Statement jewellery is my ‘go-to’ to give a simple look more appeal and Euan McWhirter knows how to make a statement! A signature piece is the Liberty LB ring, I always get compliments when I wear mine. I also love massive earrings, and right now I’m coveting the Rani design, which will look so good when worn with a plain strappy dress, hair up and a pop of fuchsia lips to complement the colours of the stones (and if you want fuchsia lips it’s got to be Gigi by Sara Hill, a Scottish make-up brand).
We Are Rushworth do great ‘weekend’ clothes for all the family. You can of course wear them anytime you want, but for me their designs evoke thoughts of autumn walks and cosy knits. The brand is based in the Borders and was inspired by the founder’s own children and their individuality. I’ll be getting the Seaside Kids Merino Tanktop for my boy (£50), the Blues Merino Tanktop for Mr (£65) and I must have the Upstart Cashmere Hat (£110) for me, the name and the colour are perfect!
My brother is expecting twin girls next month and given I’m always shopping for the male species I’ve taken the opportunity to indulge myself in shopping for ‘the girls’. MYB Textiles baby blankets are so soft and I also love how traditional they look, I don’t think I can resist adding a couple of Bear & Bow blankets in pink (£41) to my stockpile.
Scotland has a wealth of talented designers, and not just those dominating international runways. Supporting our talent is a great way to dress more individually and to help sustain the emergence of new designers. Yes, it is way more expensive than a quick high street fix, but if you buy intelligently these investment pieces will last for years, rarely going out of fashion and will become treasured items in your wardrobe.
Cathy Owen is a freelance creative with 15 years’ experience in PR, fashion show production, as a photoshoot producer, art director, model agency manager and casting agent. Her greatest achievement to date is managing to style a shoot with kids, animals and a hot air balloon! Cathy has one son, Dylan, who is five going on 21. Find Cathy’s blog at cathyowencreative.wordpress.com
or follow on twitter @cathyocreative