The Scottish Academy of Fashion, which includes Heriot-Watt University, held an exclusive preview, showcasing the achievements of its first full year.
Four designs from the Academy selected by Mackintosh for their London flagship store were unveiled, and the audience included industry, academia, Showcase partners Creative Scotland, Textiles Scotland and the Scottish Funding Council which provided initial funding for the Academy.
The event featured a salon show and exhibition of industry projects, research collaborations and the pick of fashion collections of the Academy's partner universities.
Project Manager and Chair of Scottish Textile Industry Association, David Breckenridge announced new research areas: Scottish Textile Archive, Molecular Imprinted Textiles, Emotional Engagement and Digital Print, and a major commercial research project with leading cashmere yarn spinners Todd & Duncan, The DNA of Cashmere, which could revolutionise the Scottish cashmere industry.
Todd & Duncan also awarded a prize of £1,000 each and a two-week internship with the company, to the best three student collections in the showcase.
The Scottish Academy of Fashion showcase is at Inspace, Edinburgh University's appropriately innovative and creatively designed Informatics centre.
Scotland is "a hub for fashion"
David Breckenridge said: "Fashion in Scotland is a serious business worthy of investment in research and development. Both the fashion and textile industries rely on innovation and the Scottish Academy of Fashion is helping drive that innovation by generating commercially relevant research and knowledge exchange with industry.
"We are a hub for fashion in its broadest sense, a route into the interdisciplinary knowledge base in Scotland's leading universities, whether directly fashion-related or in complementary areas of textiles, interior design, engineering or informatics."
The design students reinterpreted designs from our 200 year heritage. We were so impressed with the high standard of the work produced that we selected four designs to go into production for our flagship store in Mayfair
Daniel Dunko, Managing Director of Mackintosh, explained why he became involved in the Scottish Academy of Fashion: "The design students had access to our archives and reinterpreted the designs from our extensive two-hundred-year heritage. We were so impressed with the high standard of the work produced that we selected four designs to go into production for our flagship store in Mayfair."
Scotland has a proven track record and worldwide reputation in education and the international fashion and textiles industries. In fashion and interior textiles Scotland operates in markets worldwide. The textiles sector alone is an important contributor to the economy, with an annual turnover of £876 million. Over 640 companies directly employ 9500 people across Scotland. Export values remain high despite the recent economic downturn; Scottish textile products bring £331 million into the Scottish Economy.
This inaugural event also marks the launch of Textiles Scotland's new three-year strategy which outlines the ambitions of this vibrant industry.
Over the past number of years Scotland has proved time and time again it can deliver quality, luxury products to world-wide markets and is capable of competing with the best. A host of loyal customers, which are leading global brands, regularly snap up couture, designs, leather and fabrics. With this continued enthusiasm for our industry Textiles Scotland continues to capitalise on the ever increasing interest in products from Scotland.
"Delivering quality, luxury and innovative products"
Cathy Black, Head of Textiles for Scottish Enterprise said: "It is fitting that we launch our new strategy at the Scottish Academy of Fashion's first anniversary showcase. As the lead organisation linking our forward-thinking education institutions and the many cutting-edge textiles manufacturers in Scotland, the collaborations in progress demonstrate the joined up thinking which sets the industry apart from the rest.
"Adding to this useful research and development, the Scottish textiles industry continues to show a dedication to delivering quality, luxury and innovative products demonstrating why designed in and made in Scotland remains a highly desirable USP to customers world-wide."
Developing Scotland as a global centre of excellence
The Scottish Academy of Fashion is developing Scotland as a global centre of excellence in fashion-related learning and commercially relevant research. It aims to attract the best national and international talent through collaborative industrial and academic research, knowledge exchange and networking.
It is combining the collective strengths in teaching, knowledge and research in Scotland's Higher Education Institutions to create this hub, and is working on a range of fashion, design and technology-led projects with industrial and commercial partners.
Current academic partners include Edinburgh College of Art, Glasgow Caledonian University, Heriot-Watt University and Robert Gordon University.
The Scottish Academy of Fashion's successful collaboration with Mackintosh has resulted in a collection of four coats going into production, and on show in the flagship Mount Street store.
The four designs selected by Mackintosh for the capsule collection are:
- A single-buttoned brown coat with citrus lapel, designed by Edinburgh College of Art's Qi Zhang, a graduating Fashion student (modelled by Katie McNicol)
- A green caped coat with a tie-belt with eyelet detail, designed by Lisa Leisos and Jett Sweeney, both graduating in Fashion from Edinburgh College of Art (modelled by Charlotte Turner)
- A pale grey coat with accentuated tail, designed by Pamela Aitken who is studying fashion at Heriot-Watt University School of Textiles & Design (modelled by Zoe Stern)
- A bronze coat with concealed front fastening and draped collar, designed by Eliza Borkowska and Isabel Wong, who are graduating in Fashion from Edinburgh College of Art (modelled by Sara McLean)