Wed 18 Jun 2014 / Blogs

Fashion Struts Its Stuff At goNORTH 2014 by Ruth Walker


As former lifestyle editor of Scotland on Sunday, Ruth Walker interviewed everyone from David Gandy to Sir David Steel, getting a few suspect beauty treatments along the way - all in the name of work. Now editor-in-chief of Crave, a fashion tech start-up, that makes Ruth Walker a bona fide digital entrepreneur. Here are her thoughts on our 2014 fashion strand...

This year's goNORTH put fashion firmly on the map by placing Highlands & Islands designers front and centre of the whole festival shebang - with a full-scale runway show at the opening party in The Ironworks on Day One.

Black Isle-born Karen Mabon’s subversively illustrated silk scares shared a catwalk with Fort William-born Judy R Clark’s exquisite Harris Tweed frock coats and showstopper dresses that feature inserts of MYB lace.

gonorth opening party and fashion show 2014

Karen Mabon, Judy R Clark

Kirsteen Stewart’s photographic-prints inspired by the landscape of her Orkney home followed quirky knitwear from Hilary Grant, and delicate silk and chiffon layering from Catriona MacAllister. Plockton-based Gilly Langton showcased her bold, beautiful jewellery - oversized bangles and multi-layered necklaces made from brightly coloured elastic. There were feminine, sexy, individual pieces from Nonchalant’s Gemma Carver, and sweetly nostalgic textiles from Shetland’s Jen Deschenes.

Kirsteen Stewart, Hilary Laing,Catriona McAllister

Gilly Laing
Earlier that day, fashion insider Anne Ritchie had given an informative round-up of the autumn/winter trends – including brights, texture and masculine tailoring – with direct reference to the fashion week calendar while, in a second hour, the UK Fashion and Textiles Association’s Laurian Davies advised designers and brands which trade shows might be best for them – and, crucially, what government assistance is available to take part.

Anne Ritchie
On day two of goNORTH, Patricia van den Akker of The Design Trust took creatives through a workshop of thought-provoking, interactive questions including ‘What does success mean to You?’ and ‘What gets in the way?’.  Delegates were encouraged to get out of their seats, talk to each other and inspire each other. The result was dynamic. A highlight of the strand was a panel of some of the country’s most influential players brought together by design platform Scotland Re:Designed. Chaired by SRD’s Chris Hunt, the panel advised designers from the Highlands and Islands how they could compete in the increasingly competitive industry.  Anne Ritchie and Patricia van den Akker returned to seats that had barely had a chance to cool down, and were joined by Karen Radley. Born into the famous handbag family, she has worked with Celia Birtwell, Ossie Clark and Betty Jackson. These days she runs the prestigious biannual trade show Scoop International. If that’s not fashion royalty, I don’t know what is.

Patricia Van Den Akker

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