take risks - you tread a tightrope between looking fabulous and looking a fool.‘ Spencer is now busy designing his summer collection. a mixture ofjungle fatigues and earth coloured silks. which he describes as ‘Tenko meets the Andrew Sisters.‘
Catwalk is not a platform for the outrageous or a modelling agency but a four woman design co-operative in the Argyll Arcade which aims to provide What Every Woman Really Wants. It was set up in December by Agnes Mc(‘olligan. Jenni Taylor. Pauline McQuade and Dianne Murray. all experienced dress designers who feel that the customer often gets a raw deal. Some preliminary market research revealed that many Glasgow women are disenchanted with the monotony and inflexibility ofchain stores. but are equally put off by the prices and intimidating atmosphere of some designer shops.
Catwalk's co-owners. three of whom trained on the clothing technicians course at (‘ardonald College. think women should talk about their ‘fantasies and hang-ups‘
before choosing an outfit. 'l‘heir ‘client lounge” with comfy sofas and coffee is designed to release (ilaswegian inhibitions. ‘We don’t want to exploit women‘. says Jenni. ‘we believe in giving honest opinions.‘ Great emphasis is also placed on originality and designs are limited to a few copies. The clothes on display. all products ofa collective design process. range from sober trouser suits to brightly coloured cotton rainwear and glittering evening dress.
Another new (ilasgow co-operative. (iraven Images. set up by two designers and an architect. will focus on clothes. accessories. furniture and graphics. ()ne ofthe partners. Adele Patrick. a graduate of the art school‘s MA design course. is particularly interested in the importance of gender in fashion and the way in which women are exploited by the industry. She designs slinky ‘feminine' garments. but injects a strong dose of feminist irony - the thinking woman‘s glam - as llarpers and Queen would put it. ‘I used a print on stretchy lycra ofa
lady smiling which distorts when the body is moving - it parodies the eager to please smiles always expected of women.‘
New Association run by Scott Young in Virginia Market provides a valuable retail outlet for local designers. such as 21 year old I’eter McUraith. Peter. who began by making clothes for his sister’s dolls. is self-trained and feels art schools are for the ‘sheep-like‘. llis style varies from bulky androgynous romp suits to wildly theatrical get ups like the see-through plastic ballgown he designed for Miranda in a university production of'l'he 'l‘empest.
Some Edinburghers. dismissive of (ilasgow's brazen style. feel the old indictment - ‘all fur coat and no knickers‘ - applies more to the West (‘oast than to the capital as far as fashion is concerned. ‘Edinburgh‘s still a wee bit ethnic'. gently explains Fraser 'l‘aylor of'l'he (‘loth. the highly successful London fashion and print eo-operative run by former Scottish art school students. But Jay Kirkland of the Ivy League. a shop similar to (ilasgow’s New
Opposite Page. Top Left: Agnes, Dianne, Jenni and Pauline oi Catwalk wearing some at their designs and showing the little gold number worn by Roslyn Taylor in ‘Gallas'.
Bottom Left: Judy Simpson and Fawns Reid — lrom Helter Skelter back to the sitting room in Leith.
Right: The brazen pirate look by Judy Simpson - ‘black is always in fashion.’ This Page, Leit: Peter McGraith’s utility blanket chic— ‘I like to use lunny shapes}
Above: Spencer Railton surrounded by lady-friends — ‘you have to use professional models—you are selling a dream.’
Association. is determined to expose the city to the talent of young Scottish designers and is holding a fashion show in the Queen's l lall on January 28th. lack of public awareness of designer's work forces many to move South. but there is a market for innovative clothes here.‘ l-‘awns Reid. Io. one of the designers stocked by Ivy League.
used to have her own shop next door
but had to close down a few months
ago. Although she castigates
lidinburgh's lack ()l‘tlilfllig - ‘too cool
Q for it's own good' - she chiefly blames crippling commercial rates which
rose no less than it) times in her three years ofownership. She now works from home with fellow designer Judy Simpson who used to run the shop with her. Whereas l-‘awns uses subtle tones. pearlized leather and re-cyeled materials. Judy's flesh exposing outfits celebrate the colour
5 of witchcraft and punk - 'as long as
it‘s black. I like it.’
'l‘iekets for the Ivy League fashion show are available from the shop at 41 West Nicolson Street. lidinburgh tel ()3 l -oo7 8200. Price £3.50.
The List 24 Jan — (J Feb 47