Louise Carnegie Giuseppina Magazine Photoshoot

So excited to share this photo shoot! The pieces are of my graduate collection, shot by Louise Carnegie, a photographer whose work I’ve been admiring for a long time. I love how she has used colour to create mood, and I love the styling and hair.


Check it out on Giuseppina Magazines tumblr page here:

Photography by: Louise Carnegie (http://www.louisecarnegie.co.uk/)
Makeup Artistry by: Chloe Watt
Hair Styling by: Peter Mellon
Model: Amy Chong
Shoes by: New Look.


Scottish Designers at London Fashion Week.

Exciting news for Scottish brands Bebaroque, Iona Crawford and Belinda Robertson Cashmere, who are all showing during London Fashion Week for the first time at a combined luxury brand showroom.

The labels all correspond well with each other, despite each having it’s own identity and unique charm.

The showroom is open at Hardy Tree Gallery near London St Pancras from February 10 until February 25, where they will exhibit their autumn/winter 2013-14 collections.

Aberdeen Art Gallery// Selling Dreams: 100 Years of Fashion Photography

“I always thought we were selling dreams not clothes” Irving Penn on his role as photographer at Vogue magazine.

Aberdeen Art Gallery has a new exhibition, “Selling Dreams: 100 Years of Fashion Photography”, due to run until 20th April. It is a fascinating collection of historical and contemporary fashion images by photographers as diverse as Edward Steichen, Irving Penn, Richard Avedon, Helmut Newton, David Bailey, Corinne Day, Rankin, Tim Walker and Steven Meisel. They are seperated into different periods of time, and each photo encapsulates the essence of that time perfectly – whether that be Lisa Fonssagrives, elegantly posed and put together, an image of femininity, or Twiggy upon a moped grinning wildly and full of freedom and excitement.

For more information on the exhibition, visit the Aberdeen Art Gallery website here: http://www.aagm.co.uk/Exhibitions/Current/Selling-Dreams-100-years-of-fashion-photography.aspx


White Sleeve, photograph taken by Horst P. Horst for Vogue in 1936.



Harlequin Dress, photograph taken by Irving Penn in 1950. The model is Lisa Fonssagrives,who Penn later married.


Twiggy on a moped, shot by Ronal Traeger 1967.


Women in the Bath House, photograph taken by Deborah Turbeville in 1975. This was actually one of my favourites from the exhibition, though from what I understand it was of some controversy at the time as it was so different from traditional swimwear photography.

New Designers Favourites// Sarah Rivett

Sarah Rivett produces beautiful pieces of embroidery by hand. Delicate and romantic, the pieces are very tactile and intricate. Time is a factor in her collection for so many reasons – not only do the pieces reflect a time of long ago, whilst remaining totally modern, they also take so much time to make. When you see all the stitch techniques she has used, such as satin stitch, french knots and bullion knots, you know it is not just an aesthetic you are looking at. You are viewing a beautifully, carefully crafted piece of work. Her collection and her methods are like works of art.

Early inspiration stemmed from embroidery pieces from the Victorian era. Rivett says “As I researched deeper into [embroideries] history it gave me a lot of insight into the significance and meaning of embroidery which compelled me to start my own embroidery work”. Challenging herself to learn the different stitches and techniques, Rivett’s work takes traditional methods and aesthetics and develops them into contemporary pieces. Researching 16-18th century jewellery pieces, woven textiles, Victorian era embroidery and the Haute Couture embroidery of Francois Lesage all influenced her final designs.

Her graduate collection, ‘In It’s Imperfect Setting’, came from studying the poverty that many female embroiderers live through today and throughout history. Those women struggled to keep the techniques of embroidery alive. An admirer of the work of photographer Tim Walker, she took inspiration from his images which Rivett explains “captures beautiful models in Haute Couture dresses against an ‘imperfect setting'”. These ideas came together and Rivett used these inspirations to create embroidery work “reflecting women of poverty who created beautiful pieces of work with their every stitch”, which are contrastingly intertwined with an imperfect setting to “capture embroidery and have it recognised as an art”.

Rivett used some thoroughly modern techniques of her own to convey a worn, deconstructed look. She used teabags and frayed the edges to make the pieces seem more vintage. This is combined with 1920-30’s era and an art deco aesthetic, adding another element to her work. It compliments her embroidery pieces and really enhances the glamourous, precious side to them. Golds and white were used to “capture richness and purity”.

Of course, hand embroidery is a very long process, especially when you are sewing to this level. Rivett found the pressure and time limit to be the most difficult thing about creating. She worried she may lost her creativity if she was to rush through her pieces. However, hand embroidery is definitely her passion. Rivett says “Since discovering my ability to embroider it has become a very important journey in my life in discovering who I am as a person”.

Rivett intends to continue to make individual, unique pieces to be sold. She wishes to continue designing, embroidering and to make a collection of accessories. She would like to create one off garments, for example bridal wear.

These images are all from the following website: http://deimantemeilune.wordpress.com/2012/06/05/fashion-shoot-in-an-imperfect-setting/


New Designers Favourites// Dawn McColgan

Specialising in embroidery, Dawn McColgan is a textile graduate with a bold, geometric aesthetic. Her final collection displays a real love of colour, shape and pattern, applied to fabric with a unique tactile approach that really gives her edge. Inspired by the South of France and the distinctive architecture she researched there, McColgan also discovered in Monte Carlo the shapes and cool pastel colour palettes which would later provide her with a starting point for her project.

McColgan begins by using the collage technique before she creates pieces, allowing her to experiment with ideas on a small scale. Of this process she says, “As I specialise in embroidery, I feel that this benefits my design process greatly as my main focus is shape selection and manipulation.  Working in collage seems to begin my thinking and consideration of shapes I really like and want to use from an early stage in my projects, which definitely helps further on”. She enjoys the work of collage artists Jacob Whibley, Louis Reith and Tom Moglu, and though this is echoed in her visuals they are still very much her own. Underneath the bold style is a quiet romanticism and her collage pieces create a successful stand-alone body of illustrative work.

However, it is her embroidery that lets her really come into her own. Having been interested in the technique from a young age, McColgan has really had a chance to experiment and learn, especially in the last year. She discusses a technical file she built up of samples and time dedicated to “experimenting in translating techniques, using as many materials as possible”, before she astutely selected what worked and what didn’t. These small scale technical samples and collages are vital to her development before she upscales her designs. Sometimes, samples are developed from one another, creating different versions of one idea.  When I ask how McColgan decides on which textures work with each other, she says “I use whatever I am instantly drawn to from my research work and begin experimenting, and again, technical sampling is a great way to experiment in mixing textures, techniques and colours before actually producing finals”.

McColgan translates her collages onto delicate, sheer silk and organza. “As the shapes I am attracted to and like to work with are bold already, the subtle backgrounds seemed to be more appropriate, contrasting alongside my embellishment.  The sheers were also a direct representation of the muted textures of the buildings in Monte Carlo”. For her final collection, McColgan also used a variety of different materials, showing her passion for experimentation, including leatherette, beads, gros-grain ribbon, velvet, satin cord, silk/ viscose delta cord, silk georgette, lining fabrics and heavy cottons. Much of the process was done by hand. McColgan’s favourite embroidery technique is hand stitching, though she has also developed a love for hand beading this year, and she has dyed her own fabric. McColgan says “I always seem to like the intricate fiddly techniques best! I much prefer hand skilled work”.

Though this year she did not make fashion garments, she has had experience of fashion design in the past, creating a capsule collection for the Glasgow School of Art fashion show in her third year. Though I can see her work being used in interiors, I feel it would make a really successful fashion collection, as was its purpose. I enjoyed the small repetitive pieces, but I also love the underlying minimalism and the warmth from a colour palette that could so easily be cold. I appreciate that taking inspiration from a place is very difficult as the temptation is to translate it literally, but McColgan has worked and reimagined the shapes to suit garments so that it is not obvious where the inspiration came from, and the collection benefits hugely from this as it looks contemporary rather than tacky.

McColgan would rather re-make pieces than sell her collection which she has understandably become attached to. She is exhibiting her collection at The Festival of Quilts in Birmingham, so you can go see her work up close! She is also excited to complete an internship in London this year. I wish her all the best and hope she has a successful, fun time in England.

ArtsThread: http://artsthread.com/p/dawnmccolgantextiles
Tumblr: http://dawn-mccolgan.tumblr.com/
CargoCollective: http://cargocollective.com/dawnmccolgan

New Designers Favourites// Danielle Lisseman

Danielle Lisseman doesn’t graduate until September (well done!), yet she is already in the process of designing a collection of bespoke pieces to be sold exclusively online. With a keen expertise in digital print and a cool minimal aesthetic, Lisseman designs classic pieces that are constructed to last a lifetime.

It was Lisseman’s subtle but pretty butterfly print that first attracted me to her work. She is essentially inspired by her environment, from the grittiness of urban living to the organic beauty of insects. Lisseman admires the character of places “whether that be in the form of graffiti or from being worn down by the people living in or around it”. The combination of quality from the digital print technique and her skill in manipulating repeat patterns from street lights, flashes of colour and structures result in beautiful fabrics reminiscent of one of her greatest inspirations, McQueen. She has also experimented with laser cutting, a technique with the potential to “instantly change the whole concept”.

Though Lisseman stresses that she is a fan of vivid colour, it is the minimal, almost bleak black and white palette of her final collection that I find to be one of her strongest aesthetics. More subtle than her bold butterfly prints, her innovative use of pattern allows you to see animal skins and butterfly wings but is also demonstrative of a more contemporary vision.

My questions were based on the mistaken belief that Lisseman specialised in textiles. However, Lisseman specialises and wishes to pursue a career in the fashion industry, concentrating on the structure and quality of garments. She says “I will always be more interested in the fashion side of the industry and definitely see myself sticking with the fashion industry throughout my career. I am lucky to have the textiles experience for the future and it will always be a possibility to combine the two to create more bespoke pieces”.

I wish her all the best and look forward to seeing the sophisticated, chic pieces she is sure to design in the future.

Fashion Show at Grays.

Here are some fantastic images of my final project on the runway! The show was organised by a committee, of which I was a member, and held in a marquee at the RGU Grays carpark. It was a hectic few days, but I’m very proud of what we achieved as a class when we came together and worked as a team.

A huge thank you to photographers Mike Fraser and Sarah Takahashi for capturing the excitement on the day and to the models Tako, Samantha, Kelly, Christiana, Sophie and Caitlyn for doing an amazing job.

New Designers.

I’m just back from my trip to London, where my university, RGU Grays, was showcasing at the New Designers Exhibition. It was pretty chaotic at times and very demanding, but we had an awesome time meeting other students with similar goals to our own and also getting some exposure. I went to a few of the talks and they were really beneficial, they were really focussed on advice for business start ups. In all, it was a really fun trip.

Here are some lovely photos of our stall.

(L-R: Megan McKinnon, Natalie Anderson (myself), Piyumi Liyanage)

(L-R: Owen Knowles, Megan McKinnon, Natalie Anderson (myself), Piyumi Liyanage)

My catwalk show on screen.

A selection of portfolios and sketchbooks alongside the RGU Grays catalogue.

RGU Grays Fashion Catalogue.

The catalogue has arrived! It’s so exciting to think this chapter in my life is at an end. I get my results tomorrow, and before I know it I will have graduated. Having this catalogue feels like a souvenir. If you would like your own catalogue, filled with information on all the graduating fashion design students at Robert Gordon University Aberdeen, make sure you come to one of our fashion shows (tickets available here: http://graysfashion.bigcartel.com/) or the new designer exhibition this June! (More info here: http://www.newdesigners.com/).

The cover of our catalogue was designed by illustrator Libby Walker. You can find out more about her work here: http://www.libbywalker.co.uk/index.htm