The BBC’s Clothes Show is coming to Scotland live for the ﬁrst time, gliding onto the catwalk at Glasgow’s SECC with an army of international and Scottish designers, hairdressers and models. As Britain’s television sets switch on to the fashion extravaganza, The List puts Scotland’s design scene in the spotlight. We ask whether Scotland is up there with the world’s best and speak to some of the nation’s hottest talents.
enswear as a lucrative fashion business is fairly new. Edinburgh clothes meisters Walker Slater have effectively grown up with it since the turn of the decade. Acquiring a reputation for some of the classiest attire in Britain is a triumph of endurance for the husband and wife partnership behind the business. Paul and Frances Walker. Frances -— ne’e Slater. hence the name — began designing printed shirts while still a student in textile design at Dundee’s Duncan of Jordanstone Art College. The hobby soon
5 The List l6-29 Jun 1995
Former punk Jacqui Burke has retreated to a quiet corner of Scotland with a drawing board and a mine of ideas. The Scottish fashion designer tells Ann Donald why.
ondon. Paris. Milan . . . Dunbar? The Edinburgh may not trip off a Vogue editor’s tongue as easily as the other three epicentres of catwalk couture. but one thirtysomething upstart is remedying that.
One glance at Dunbar designer Jacqui Burke and three job profiles spring to mind - pop star. artist or fashion worker. The neon orange fake fur coat threatens to swamp her frame. the bleached white hair (curlers just out). the PVC trousers and CAT boots all scream rock chick. [I is no surprise to discover Burke’s designs are just as eclectic. Previous collections have included gargantuan-sized coats embedded with gargoyle heads. More recent work includes fake sheepskin hotpants. skating skirts. waistcoats and tartan mohair/silver kilts and jackets.
Behind Burke's bright demeanour and clothes is a seriously driven woman who knows exactly what she wants and has worked flat out to achieve it. As ‘a bit of a punk’. the tledgeling designer embraced the movement’s DlY ethos by creating her own customised wardrobe. However. in a decade when most of the supermodels were still sucking their thumbs and Tlte Clothes Show was just a twinkle in Jeff Banks’s creative eye, the concept of being a fashion designer was alien to the majority. ‘l was good at art. fashion and fabrics at school.’ says Burke. ‘1 went to the careers officer. but she suggested I become a secretary.’
A true Clash fan. Burke rejected this prospect and headed off to the Scottish College of Textiles in Galashiels where her final year collection netted first prize. After graduation. employment
Walk on the style side
blossomed into a career as she and Paul opened up a Highland factory unit in Lagganbridge. The going was tough — they launched their businessjust before the recession kicked in. Hard work paid off. however. in the form of plaudits and orders. Originally supplying jumpers and shirts to kitsch fashion shops. the couple opened up their Candlemaker Row ()dd Man Out store in 1992. It was founded on a simple fashion philosophy — to sell well-designed. quality garments at reasonable prices. ‘We are looking to make garments that have a classic element to them,’ says Frances. ‘They’re not so
small. east coast town just south of
with a host of fashion houses. including Annabella Pollen. beckoned. but Burke was intent on setting up her own business. With a grant from The Prince’s Trust and the SDA she made up a limited number ofclothes and headed off to London’s Sloan Street in search of designer pavements of gold. In true just-do-it style. she spotted famed designer Joseph in the middle of window-dressing. politely press- ganged him into looking at her work and hey presto. the man was bowled over. From 1989 onwards her workshop — a refurbished joiners’ hut on Dunbar golfcourse — proceeded to supply clothes to Joseph. Hyper Hyper. Prince. Cher. Fish and an anonymous television star from Knots Landing.
Though featured in a fistful of international fashion shows. Burke’s collections are now sold strictly wholesale to buyers as far apart as New York and Japan. with only one retail outlet in Edinburgh — Corniche.
As a designer who has opted for the unconventional but ultimately successful
decision to stay in Scotland. Burke is outspoken about the nation's position in the fashion world. ‘There’s a Scottish designer in every design house in the world, yet Scotlandjust doesn’t encourage the young fashion industry here at all. she says. “It’s maddening. Ireland and Wales both help their designers but what’s Scotland got? F—all.’
Old punks clearly never die — they become innovative fashion designers in Dunbar instead. Cl Jacqui Burke 's collection will be shown on the Fashion Stage and in the Designer Pavilion throughout the Clothes Show Scotland event. C all the Clothes Show Scotland ltotline on 014] 248 9999for details.
outrageously trendy that you wouldn’t be seen dead in them in six months’ time.’
Walker Slater’s emphasis on quality of fabric and design is rooted in Frances’s education as a designer and the inspiration derived from the Highlands. ‘lt’s fantastic up here. so wild and full of beautiful colours.’ says Frances. ‘I try to put that across in my clothes.’ (Philip Dorward) C] Walker Slater clothes are sold in Odd Man Out, 62—64 C andletnaker Row, 0131 220 0477 and in Walker Slate); 20 Victoria Street, 0131 220 2636. The company plans to open a London store by 2000.