Joanne McGillivray headshot

Joanne McGillivray – Russian Revolution

The contemporary, eponymously named womenswear label Joanne McGillivray is one of the key things that is right with the fashion industry right now.

Glasgow born Joanne McGillivray is home-grown talent. A graduate of Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, she won the prestigious Graduate of the Year award from the Scottish Fashion Awards and has this season launched her debut collection – ‘Russian Revolution’.

“My inspiration for the first collection was from a trip to St Petersburgh,” Joanne told The Style Edit. “I found the city very inspiring and particularly loved The Hermitage museum. I especially fell in love with the Russian tapestry which actually inspired my signature print for A/W13.”

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What makes Joanne McGillivray unique is her dedication to her roots. Her studio is in the city centre of Glasgow; “The walls are covered in mood boards, colour boards and any image I find inspiring. I have three illustrations done by Barbara Hulanicki, I love her and her work and I find her very inspiring.”

Her dedication to Scotland, and the UK doesn’t stop there; “I source all of my fabrics from around the UK, every season I will do a big trip to London. I also get all of my prints digitally printed in the Centre for Advanced Textiles within Glasgow School of Art.” The decline of the British manufacturing industry has been a much discussed topic in recent years, with so many brands and designers choosing to outsource the production of their garments to overseas manufacturers.

I source all of my fabrics from around the UK, every season I will do a big trip to London

However the Russian Revolution collection is made in Alloa, Sterling. “Britain has such a fantastic history of manufacturing in fashion and textiles and I have always wanted to support the industry. By using a manufacturer in Scotland, it makes it a short travelling distance for me and allows me to be involved in every aspect of my brand from design to production.” Joanne continues;  “As a young designer it is really daunting to hand your designs over to someone else to manufacture, as it becomes your baby! So manufacturing in Scotland is hugely important to me as I can keep as much control over the process and build a good relationship with the manufacturers.”

The Russian Revolution collection is designed for women who are classical and feminine in style, but also still incorporates many of AW13’s most popular trends.  “In the studio we have a customer persona on the wall, outlining exactly what the ideal Joanne McGillivray customer is like, her name is Sophie. We see Sophie as an independent woman who is working her way up the career ladder, but after a long day at the office likes to chill with a cocktail. Any decision we make on the brand we ask ourselves, ‘What would Sophie do?’”

We see Sophie as an independent woman who is working her way up the career ladder

This personal attachment to the brand is plain to see in the collection. Contemporary work wear such as shift dresses sit side by side with more playful edgy pieces such as the burgundy leather tank and skirt. The digital print which weaves its way into various items, including the most incredible lounge pants is just beautiful. The print is of the moment, yet classic. Every woman has something in her wardrobe it will go with – even if it was just simply jeans and a white tank. “I love the ‘Iona’ and ‘Oksana’ dresses” Says Joanne. “They have definitely been the most popular garments in the collection, I think its because they are really flattering and so easy to wear.” The success of the collection is indeed borne out in that statement, each piece is easy to wear and the shapes flattering and transitional from day to night.

Before our time with Joanne came to an end, we couldn’t resist asking what SS14 had in store; “The theme is ‘Under the Sea’. The collection has some elegant silhouettes and the fabric plays huge part is this collection. We have used some gorgeous printed silks, neoprene and PVC for a mac raincoat.”

Joanne McGillivray SS14

Joanne McGillivray SS14

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