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Scotland’s Top 10 Fashion Designers

Scotland boasts an array of fabulous home-grown designers. From traditional kilt designers to the edgier fashion week crowd, we aren’t short of talent. Today the lovely Cara from Freja Designer Dressmaking is sharing 10 of the best Scottish fashion designers and brands you need to know about right now!

1. Howie Nicholsby

Howie Nicholsby is the man behind the awesome 21st Century Kilts, located on Thistle Street, Edinburgh. The designer boutique is dedicated solely to the creation of bespoke kilts. Nicholsby’s goal is to ultimately set free the kilt from its formal ties and unleash it into everyday clothing.

Nicholsby’s collections do boast traditional plaid designs, however he is better known for his amazingly eccentric and unconventional kilts which are made of an array of different fabrics such as leather, gold, denim, pinstripes, and even camouflage, for the more inconspicuous Scots man! Nicholsby has a huge celebrity following and has designed kilts for the likes of Vin Diesel, Robbie Williams, Lenny Kravitz and Mario Testino. His staggering success had gained him praise from Vogue Italia, GQ and the New York Observer.

2. Samantha McCoach

Following a similar path is Edinburgh born Samantha McCoach, who is the founder and designer behind Le Kilt. With a family heritage of kilt-making, Samantha decided to put a modern spin on the traditional garment so that women could incorporate it into their everyday wardrobe.

The kilts range in colour and style, and all feature beautiful buckle and button details. Samantha has shown at London Fashion Week, had exclusive designs launched in Harvey Nichols London, and is now expanding the brand to include cashmere garments such as polo necks. Le Kilt is truly going from strength to strength.

3. William Chambers Millinery

William Chambers opened his first hat shop in Glasgow city centre in 2014. However, Chambers began growing his exquisite and unique brand long before this. He won accessory designer of the year at the Scottish Fashion Awards in 2010, 2012 and 2014.

Chambers creates fabulous handmade bespoke hats and headpieces for every occasion. His most recent collection for Spring/Summer 2017 is inspired by beautiful gardens from all around the world. The pieces in the collection all have vast flower detailing, resulting in some seriously stunning creations! Chambers is stocked in all of the country’s top department stores and exhibits at London Fashion Week.

4. Christopher Kane

A designer I am sure that many of you have heard of and love, Christopher Kane. Kane hails from North Lanarkshire and first emerged onto the fashion scene in 2006. He is a firm favourite on the catwalk and the high street!

In Kane’s earlier days he received the Harrods Design Award for his MA graduation collection, which attracted the attention of Donatella Versace and helped catapult him to where he is today. Since then Kane has been twice named Scottish Designer of the Year. His signature style is creative and playful; this teamed alongside extraordinary skill makes him a true powerhouse in British fashion.

5. Judy R Clark

Judy R Clark is an award winning designer, famed for her exquisite hand tailored womens-wear designs. Her garments comprise of Harris Tweed, Scottish lace and antique fabrics. Her eccentric edge to design and signature tailoring has given her a credible name in the fashion industry. Clark has been named Designer of the Year at the Scottish style awards and best new designer at the Scottish Variety Awards.

She’s worked with a host of brands such as Levi’s, Ford, Nespresso and most recently the rebranding of the Missoni Hotel Edinburgh. Clark’s designs are dramatic and beautifully romantic. She garnered great praise from Vogue Italia, with her work being noted as “Romantic Art” after the cultural editor visited her Edinburgh studio.

6. Holly Fulton

Another huge name in the fashion industry and an Edinburgh native is Holly Fulton. She established her label in 2009 after gaining industry experience in London and Paris! Fulton has a strong global following and has won a host of awards including Elle New Designer 2010 and Scottish Young Designer 2009 and 2010.

Holly draws all of her own prints by hand and says it’s the part she finds most enjoyable during the design process. She places a huge importance on research and believes it’s paramount to her collections. Holly ultimately designs for confident women who are not afraid of attention or adventure. Her designs are perfectly feminine with just enough edge to express every woman’s wild side.

7. Rachel McMillan

Herriot Watt fashion graduate, Rachel McMillan has created a contemporary streetwear fashion brand based on her fascination with conscious and subconscious states, and the anatomy of the human body. Bizarre as it sounds, McMillan has gained significant recognition from Vogue Italia and showcased at off schedule London Fashion Week.

Her designs are contemporary and comfortable, many featuring superbly quirky prints. McMillan has recently been announced as one of Scotland’s emerging designers that will be supported by Fashion Foundry and has also partnered with Topshop and Topman.

8. Jonathan Saunders

Born and bred in Scotland, designer Jonathan Saunders is regarded as one of London’s design luminaries. He has been thought of as one of the most exciting and captivating fashion designers on the London showcase! Saunders graduated from Glasgow School of Art in 1999 and then proceeded to study at Central St Martin’s in which he graduated in 2002.

His brand is largely focused on prints, patterns and exquisite craftsmanship, as well as the use of bright and exciting colours. Saunders’ creative understanding of fashion has also led him to many exciting collaborations with dancers, artists and interior companies. Saunders unfortunately decided to close his label after spring/summer ’16 due to personal reasons, but despite this his iconic fashion status still lives on.

9. Hayley Scanlan

Dundee born Hayley Scanlan learned the craft of dressmaking as a child under the direction and supervision of her grandmother. Hayley then burst onto the fashion scene in 2009, when her degree show collection caught the eye of not only Vogue, who named her Scotland’s coolest young designer, but also actress Erin O’Conner.

In her early days, Scanlan interned as a print designer with Jeremy Scott, who is now director of Moschino. Her designs are modern and edgy, with a focus on graphic prints. She won Scotland’s New Young Designer of the Year in 2012 and has collaborated with the Victoria and Albert Museum. Scanlan has also developed a strong celebrity following with fans including Pixie Lott, Foxes and Talia Storm.

10. Tens

Tens is a very new and exciting Scottish accessory brand, largely focusing on sunglasses. The designers behind the brand are three Scottish students, Kris Reid, Marty Bell and Tom Welsh, from the University of Edinburgh. They are filmmakers and photographers and have a love for adding rich warm colours to their work and wanted to add this concept to real life.

With this in mind they created a range of sunglasses which allow you to see in a rich hue, just like a photograph. The boys established the idea for their brand on a road trip to the Scottish Highlands in 2014. They have already won Accessory Designer of the Year at the 2016 Scottish Fashion Awards and to add to this they have also secured funding from none other than Richard Branson, in order to allow them to go global. Their design concept is the first in their market and the style of the glasses are bang on trend.

Yup – Scotland is pretty much awash with fabulous designers… spied one of your favourites? Alie x

Cara Rice is currently studying Fashion Management at Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen and is on a work placement with Freja Designer Dressmaking in Edinburgh. She loves everything to do with fashion and is extremely interested in the marketing aspects of the fashion industry.

Images – fashion designers’ own