One of Scotland's top textile and design schools is putting the focus back on the Scottish Borders' rich and diverse textile heritage by hosting its annual fashion show at the home of Sir Walter Scott.
Students from Heriot-Watt's School of Textiles and Design in Galashiels are set to launch their 2014 collection at Abbotsford House on May 31, where a catwalk will be erected in a marquee in the grounds of the 19th century house overlooking the River Tweed.
The show will celebrate the innovation, technological expertise, craft skills and cutting-edge design displayed in the work of students, including Harris Tweed floor length gowns and a sports collection that uses specialised knitted fabrics which keep athletes cool.
As well as the fashion show, The Degree Show exhibition (showcasing the work of all graduating students of the School of Textiles and Design) will be held within the historic High Mill building at Heriot-Watt's Scottish Borders Campus. It will include work from the first graduating Scottish Fashion Communication students. This year alongside the degree show there will be a tribute to the late Galashiels-based textile designer and artist, Bernat Klein. Students have taken inspiration from Klein's distinctive use of colour and texture to create a highly visual display.
Fiona Waldron, Head of the School, said, "We've previously held our Graduate Fashion Show in Edinburgh but this year we wanted to return to the Scottish Borders, the heart of the luxury textile sector. Much focus is coming back to the Borders with Chanel recently purchasing the Barrie cashmere mill and Bernat Klein's enduring influence.
"We're incredibly proud to be based in Galashiels, which is world renowned for its cashmere, weaving and textile industries made famous by big brands such as Pringle, Belinda Robertson and Lyle and Scott. We're excited to have the beautiful Abbotsford House as a backdrop to the fashion show this year, mixing cutting-edge style at the forefront of the fashion industry with history, culture and of course those stunning views over the River Tweed."
The students selected this year to display their degree work to a host of influential industry experts will feature a collection by up and coming designer Melissa Zofia Devine. The Fashion Technology student experimented with Harris Tweed fabrics to create stunning floor length gowns. She has combined its traditional patterns and weave of the tweed with a more rebellious and theatrical style inspired by Alexander McQueen.
Fellow fashion technology student Abbie Spence, who interned with leading designers at Nike HQ in Holland, created a youthful women's sportswear collection. Abbie used an exclusive CoolTech knitted fabric that helps athletes to remain cool even as they exercise.
Fashion student Aimee Paget will showcase a skirt and headdress she designed for up and coming singer-songwriter Yadi. After being contacted by the student on social media, Yadi agreed to wear Aimee's design saying it was 'incredibly flattering'.
Design for Textiles student Nilufer Islam will showcase her 'A Bird's Tale' fabric at The Degree Show exhibition. She became the UK representative for the 2014 BEMZ design award after receiving almost 6,000 votes from members of the public. Her textile design is in production and will feature on sofa, chair and bedcovers, as well as curtains and be sold alongside designers including Marimekko and Designers Guild.
Work by Fashion Communication student, Fraser Moodie, who has been shortlisted for fashion graduate of the year by modeconnect.com, will also be on display.
Fiona Waldron added, "The School's end-of -year show has previously featured students who have gone on to make their names in the textiles and fashion industry including William Chambers, Judy R Clark and Jade Rodgers, who went on to secure a job with Victoria Beckham's Ready to Wear production and development department in London. We hope this year's graduates enjoy the same success."
The Graduate Exhibition is free and open from 3.00pm to 5pm on Saturday, 31 May and 10.00am to 4pm on Monday 2 June and Tuesday, 3 June.
The Graduate Fashion Show is Saturday, 31 May 2014 at 6.30pm, priced £10.