Thursday, 16 June 2011

The Scottish Fashion Awards 2011

It might not be on par with Milan, Paris or even London, but Scotland is a fashionable place, don't you know. (And I'm not just saying that because I am Scottish). The tartan was out in force at the only annual celebration of Scottish fashion yesterday- the world-renonwed Scottish Fashion Awards 2011, held at the Glasgow Science Centre (because apparently, science is the new black).

Sam Cam & awards founder Tessa Harman
Scotland's leading reputation in the textile industry is unchallenged worldwide- it has, since the Industrial Revolution, been the premier home of quality manufacturing of cashmere, wool, tweed and of course, tartan. Scotland's long heritage of textile manufacturing is absolutely intrinsic to Scotland- there are even museums dedicated to it. From the Highlands and Islands right down to the Borders, every area of Scotland has a history of manufacturing. Fashion is in our blood.

The Scottish Fashion awards celebrate the use of Scottish materials in fashion, which considering that Scottish textile exports are currently valued at over £300million, is quite more than you'd expect. Fabrics are produced right here in Scotland that aren't anywhere else- in fact, only two countries in the whole world produce finely knitted cashmere for sale to the international high-fashion couture brands- Italy and Scotland. You probably own something produced in Scotland without even realising!

Represented on the tartan carpet yesterday were some of Scotland's most prominent fashion designers. A personal favourite, Christopher Kane, may not have been at the awards in person but his creations were seen on a number of people- most significantly Samantha Cameron, wife of British Prime Minister David Cameron. As an ambassador for the British Fashion Council, Sam Cam has been representing prolific British designers through her wardrobe recently and her choice of Scottish designer Kane was quite a sartorial success. She acknowledged the importance of Scotland to the fashion industry saying- "These awards celebrate the very best in Scottish fashion and remind us that Scotland is home to not only inspirational designers but also a very important textile industry."

Jonathan Saunders
The highest accolade of the night- Scottish Designer of the Year- went to Jonathan Saunders for the second year in a row.  The Glaswegian designer has soared to success pretty quickly- he only graduated (from Central Saint Martins, of course) in 2002. Since then, his designs have been shown at every London Fashion Week since 2003 and his clever use of graphic prints and (Scottish) materials have been commemorated. 

Scottish Young Designer of the Year went to Henrietta Ludgate, a celebrated luxury womanswear designer from Inverness who says her background is the cornerstone for her company. "On launching my own label, my priority was to illustrate a sense of my Scottish heritage."

One of my favourite designers, Henry Holland (see my post below), picked up the International Designer of the Year Award for best use of Scottish textiles. His House of Holland label frequently uses authentic Harris Tweed, one of the most globally recognised Scottish exports and Holland himself sported a blue Harris Tweed suit to the event.
Dame Shirley Bassey

Tali Lennox, daughter of fashion pioneer Annie Lennox, was awarded the Scottish Model of the Year award, but couldn't be there to pick it up in person due to modelling commitments. A silly mistake considering it was presented by the beautiful David Gandy!

Everyone's favourite Scotsman, Gerard Butler, was pipped to the post for the Scottish Fashion Icon 2011 award by up-and-coming actress Freya Mavor. The Edinburgh-born 17-year old played Mini McGuinness in the last series of ground-breaking teenage drama, Skins. Her outfits on the show were often provocative yet always fashion-forward- she was wearing cycling shorts under skirts and shorts before the catwalk. She wore Pringle Scotland to the ceremony.

Us Scottish fashionistas are no stranger to brave and slightly quirky outfits. There were several dresses and accessories branded with the Saltire flag, and one model even sported a skirt entirely made from newspaper. However, if there had been an award for the most outrageous use of tartan (there wasn't) it most certainly would have went to Dame Shirley Bassey, who rocked an exclusively-made tartan dress by Graeme Black and accompanying sporran-style handbag. 

The biggest fashion event in the Scottish calendar, sometimes dubbed 'the Scottish Oscars', turned 6 years old and truly was, in the words of David Gandy "more lavish and bigger than last year." The awards, quite honestly, made me proud to be Scottish.

The other award winners: 
Fashion Ambassador 2011- The Telegraph's Fashion Director, Hilary Alexander
Accessory Designer of the Year- Bebaroque
Retailer of the Year- Jewellery label Rox
Communicator of the Year- Casting director Angus Munro
Scottish Textile Brand of the Year- Harris Tweed Hebride
Scotland's New Face of 2011- Caitlin Jamieson
Fashion Innovator 2011- Professor Pamela Gillies
Scottish Fashion Graduate of the Year- Campbell Dunn
Hall of Fame Award- Photographer Rankin

Freya Mavor, Fashion Icon 2011
Henrietta Ludgate, Young Designer of the Year

Henry Holland, International Designer of the Year
Graduate of the Year, Campbell Dunn
Angus Munro, Communicator of the Year

Fashion Ambassador, Hilary Alexander
Prof. Pamela Gillies, Fashion Innovator
New Face award winner, Caitlin Jamieson
And some of the (award-less) best dressed:

Fashion Icon nominee Laura McMonagle
Singer Yasmin, who performed at the event
Scottish models arriving at the ceremony

(All photographs by Getty Images, from Metro)


  1. Great article! I didn't know Scotland was known for textiles. I learned something new today =) Hooray for Gerard Butler! He's one of my new favorite actors since "Law Abiding Citizen."

  2. hmmm i like the new face award winner... she seems sweet..
    kisses love

  3. i loved sam cam's dress - i can never resist a bit of christopher kane!

  4. How funny, Angus Munro used to pretend to everyone he was Welsh and always denied his Scottish roots. But then again he used to say (and still does) that he was an F1 racing car driver,fighter pilot, got scouted to play for Man U,hosted MTV America,owned a model agency...oh and is best mates with Posh and Becks.If he ever wants to change his name a good Scottish name would be Wayne Kerr!!


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