Bringing a sense of style to the Borders, BRETT MUNRO lead the way in Scottish textile design with ideas for the woolly minded.

me Wmds: Ellie Carr P"otogra;:*‘: Steve Reid

THINK OF FASHION HOTSPOTS AND PEEBLES IS NOT THE first place that springs to mind. Better known as a mecca

for Sunday drivers and .»\merican tourists in search of cut- price golf sweaters. the pretty Borders town hears few " similarities to Milan. L'ntil now that is. Tucked away in the town’s March Street Mills is an independent design studio whose client list stretches from fashion hiin priest Yves Saint Laurent to current couture darlings llelen David liceentries. l’or (ialashiels’ Scottish (‘ollege ofTestiles graduates Shona Brett and Lachlan Munro. however. such gold-plated contracts simply pay the rent. Their 'real work‘ is with the progressive knitwear designs of their own label. Brett Munro. ‘ldeally we'd like to he putting our own collection together all the time.‘ admits Brett. who took voluntary redundancy from her job as a senior designer at l’ringle last year to set up business with Munro. 'But at the moment we're happy to feed the business with our freelance work. because doing your own collection has huge financial implications.‘ One year down the line. the pair have gained a serious thumbs-up from the ['K fashion industry by becoming the first-ever Scottish finalists of the prestigious Jerwood l’ashion Prize. As The List went to press. they were kissing goodbye to the ten garments they hope will gain them a prize package which includes studio space for a year. ‘lt would just be fantastic if we won.’ says Brett. slightly hleary-eyed from working round-the-clock to meet the competition deadline. The business partners (and just good friends) insist they will not take tip the Loidon Illlt s ace i;

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u -. toys.Hii.f“".g07‘r§5£19517»:militia”; ‘We might use it as a showroom but wencertainly-w wouldn‘t uproot just to use it for a year.’ says Munro. ‘There‘s a great skills hase in the Borders and we’re trying to use that to iush things forward. , ,

There aren'tI many in London It s 3 lat to who have those skills and the do overheads are vast.‘

It is tempting to see this as a texture' victory for New Caledonia. hut COIOUT BHd the pair insist it Is. simply balance. The practical. Ihere is a sense of _ inheritance though. Knitwear has fabI'ICS we long been a key industry in the produce take economical|\'-tt'ouhled Borders _ and a love'of knitted fabrics. on a "re 0f cultivated while studying textiles their own.’ in (ialashiels. still forms the cornerstone of Brett Munro’s LaCh'a" M“"'° design philosophy.

‘lt’s a lot to do with texture. colour and halance.~ agrees Munro. "l‘he fahrics we produce take on a life of their own and naturally lead to ideas for a silhouette or shape.’

The ultimate goal is to sell their lahel direct to the public. 'lt would he lovely to have a shop.‘ concedes Brett. ‘But it's way down the line.~ Looks like the ladies of Peehles will have a longer wait hefore they can stock up on cutting-edge British fashion while getting the messages.

Brett Munro, The Case Room, March Street Mills, Peebles, 01721 722 267. The winner of the lerwood Fashion Prize will be announced on Wed 10 Feb. See StyleList, page 100 for more Scottish fashion.

14 THE lIST ‘1 18 lot; 1999