Lucy Ash talks to some of Scotland’s promising young designers, as they take on London fashion.
London. Paris. Rome. . . . .(ilasgow‘? As yet Scotland boasts few important resident fashion designers. but is the potential here properly exploited'.’ the Scottish Dey'elopnient Agency is now focusing on the new breed of talented young designers who are creating an alternatiye haute couture inside the country's art schools. ‘Scot Free in 24 l lours' is an immense design project inyolying the fashion. textile and jewellery students in the colleges of lidinburgh. (ilasgow. (iallashiels. Dundee and Aberdeen. The ltltlstudents takingpart will design to a brief with a 2-1 hour theme - (ilasgow kicksoff with breakfast time - and the results w ill be shown at a gala ey'ening extrayagan/a in London's(‘ommonw‘ealth Institute this July. .lean .‘yltiir. who heads an
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advisory panel of style gurus such as Paul Smith. Jeff Banks. Andrew Logan and Suzy .\Ienkes. is ‘tremendously excited about the project and feels the ‘rather fay creatiy'ity Scots hay'e' desei'yes more attention.
()ne of the most interesting tip-and-coming designers is a 23 year old graduate from the printed textiles department of ( ilasgow School of A rt who w'orships .loan ('ollins and ('ruella De Ville. Spencer Railton is not the sort of person who gropes in the dark for a Pair of trousers. ‘( ‘lothes are yet)" important to me.....l lie in bed for ages deciding what to wear. men it I‘m just going shopping.‘ When it comes to dressing other people he is already fairly well established.
l making hatsand belts for.leaii .‘yluir.
designingcollections foi'('riiise ('lothesand workingon pi'iyatc commissions from the basement of his parents house in l’artickhill. 'l‘he desigiiei'shai'es his room with a group of elegant w hite torsos. heads and full-length dummies. (iold clierubs adorn the walls. couches are di aped in y el\ ct and sparkling sarees and gloy ed hands dripping necklaces pioti'iide from
eyery surface. .\lost striking of all are
the hats. from a lopsided unicorn turban to a basket head dress piled high with plastic fruit. 'l’hc sly le is reminiscent ol Seliiaparelli w ho
made hats w hicli looked like shoes or
frilled lamb cutlets and w how famous l’ai'isiai‘. salon boasted a sofa made by l)a|i in the shape of a pair of bright red lips. Spencer admits her brand of ‘\\‘itty clue' and a fascination with l‘l51ls kitsch are important influences.
Although he plans to mount an exhibition entitled ‘.\e\\ lises for l lotiseliold ( )biects‘. which w ill feature hats made of caiiieia bo\es. l‘lts of telephone illltl toilet tolls. Spencer also keeps an eye on the
tamer motlier-in-law wedding market. t'nlike many designers with /any ideas. he has a keen understanding of the practical side of the business. '.-\ lot of people come to me with nice designs btit hay e no idea of how much a garment w ill cost to make wholesale in a giy'en tabric.‘ says.lune ( iibson. ow tier of the two (‘rtiise shops in ( ilasgow and lidinburgh. ‘.'\lso. Spencer. you see". she adds. holding tip a ruched yelyet suit. ‘understands womens' bodies. the way this is cut a si/e lb can look like a 13..
(‘ominercial pressures aside. Spencer’s own taste is in a continual state of flux. “things I wore si\‘ months ago I wouldn't be seen dead in now . . .l had this fake marble and tulle stage and then it was L‘lllltl/. lle squirms uneasily on the couch. Since the first items he sold to ( ~i‘uise were leather braces. I wonder if he w ill branch into menswear btit he seems reluctant e\cept on a one-off basis. ‘.\len may not know w hat they want to wear. but they we got a damn good idea of w hat they don‘t want to wear. . .lo dress well you liaye to l