Upcycled fashion inspired by the late Dame Vivienne Westwood and designs inspired by nature are part of a new exhibition in Galashiels by Heriot-Watt School of Textiles and Design.
The show, called ‘Future Design Talent,’ runs from 9th to 30th September at the Old Gala House near the centre of Galashiels, and will feature examples of work from all six of the school’s undergraduate programmes.
These are Bachelor of Arts degrees in Fashion; Communication Design; Fashion Branding and Promotion; Interior Architecture and Design; Design for Textiles and a Bachelor of Science degree in Fashion Technology.
We hope this exhibition connects with the wider local community and showcases the variety of programmes and education we are offering at Heriot-Watt School of Textiles and Design.
Bruce Roberts, Programme Director of Studies for Fashion & Fashion Technology at Heriot-Watt School of Textiles and Design and organiser of the exhibition, said: “People often think of our school as just focusing on textiles and fashion. But our programmes also cover subjects like interior architecture and design and fashion branding and promotion. For example, the exhibition showcases the work of the Interior Architecture and Design students who designed a new nursery concept called ‘Little Roots.’
“We hope this exhibition connects with the wider local community and showcases the variety of programmes and education we are offering at Heriot-Watt School of Textiles and Design.”
The Vivienne Westwood project was run in collaboration with the local British Red Cross charity shop in Galashiels, which donated clothing to the School that it was unable to sell, for example because it was damaged. Students were given sealed bags of these clothes, which they had to then upcycle into a brand new garment.
“The project happened just after Vivienne Westwood passed away, so the brief for the students was to create a new garment which was influenced by her designs,” Assistant Professor Roberts explained.
Dame Vivienne, who was an Honorary Graduate of Heriot-Watt School of Textiles and Design, was a pioneering fashion designer accredited with bringing modern punk and new wave fashions into the mainstream. She passed away in December 2022 at the age of 81.
Sustainability is a fundamental theme throughout the exhibition.
Assistant Professor Roberts said: “Around 87% of materials used in clothing end up in landfill. That's about one truck load every second. And only about 1% of clothes are actually recycled into new garments.
“So we have a major issue in the industry with regards to sustainability. Every programme we are now delivering at Heriot-Watt School of Textiles and Design is underpinned by sustainability practises.”
Other work in the exhibition includes a third year fashion project on biomorphism, which involves modelling artistic designs on naturally occurring patterns or shapes in nature.
“The students were tasked with creating or manipulating fabrics which were influenced by the study of nature, and that has resulted in some really interesting garments,” ,” Assistant Professor Roberts said.
Prize-winning textile design students will be among the other students showcasing their work.
Heriot-Watt School of Textiles and Design is staging the exhibition after the Old Gala House asked the School to showcase some of its student work.
The Old Gala House is a historic building dating back to 1583 that is now a museum and gallery operated by local charitable trust, Live Borders.
Shona Sinclair, Curator from Live Borders said: “We are thrilled to be hosting this fantastic exhibition of student work and also exploring some of the rich history of Heriot-Watt School of Textiles and Design, which has its roots in the thriving 19th century textiles industry of the Scottish Borders.”
Heriot-Watt School of Textiles and Design was named Fashion University of the Year in the 2022 Scottish Fashion Association Awards, an annual awards ceremony that honours Scottish designers, photographers, models and fashion industry leaders.
The School is a centre of excellence in design and dates back to 1883, when classes in weaving, dyeing and chemistry were introduced to train workers for the local textiles industry.
The Scottish Borders is at the heart of Scotland's luxury textile and design industry and is home to manufacturers including Barrie, one of Scotland’s oldest cashmere knitting manufacturers. It was acquired in 2012 by French luxury fashion house Chanel.
The Future Design Talent exhibition opens on Saturday 9th September and runs until Saturday 30th September between 10am and 4pm Monday to Saturday at the Old Gala House, Scott Crescent, Galashiels TD1 3JS.