An Interview with Tom Handley, PR Professor at Parsons


Back in 2015 I was lucky enough to recieve a crash course in fashion PR from Tom Handley, fashion industry expert renowned professor at Parsons School of Design in New York City as part of the Fashion Communication and Promotion short course run by Central St Martins. His golden nuggets of advice have stuck with me ever since, so when Tom approached me I was honoured to interview him all about his career, albeit over a fuzzy Skype call. Read more to see the a video of our wonderful chat and some highlights I’ve picked out for any aspiring fashion business bosses.


SDX Textiles


Last Thursday I launched a brand new textiles department at my work, the Scottish Design Exchange, supporting Scotland-based print designers for textiles and wallpapers. I am really excited to finally be able to add some of the country’s most talented textile designers to our community of local creatives. Huge thanks to Edinburgh musicians Jack Hinks and Sean Munro for kicking off the party with a brilliant acoustic set, and for everybody who came to celebrate with me!


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Scottish Design Exchange Anniversary

Today marks my 1st anniversary of working for The Scottish Design Exchange (SDX), and so much has happened in that year, I thought it deserved a blog post. For those that don’t know, SDX is a collective of over 120 artists and designers, from contemporary jewellery to fine art and everything in between, all living and working in Scotland. 

We’re a not-for profit enterprise that opened in August 2015 as a retail space that benefits independent brands by giving them 100% of the profit, and showing customers a huge variety of unique products, knowing exactly where are coming from. 

I joined as an intern to help open the fashion department, and now manage over 25 designers Glasgow, Edinburgh, and beyond as well as running all the social media activities for the company.

I’m so excited for what is to come in 2017 for The Scottish Design Exchange. From a brand new textiles department supporting up and coming designers and manufacturers of fabrics for fashion and interiors, and tonnes of ongoing charity and community projects, to potentially expanding to more stores within the city and eventually nationwide, we have the potential to really make a difference this year.
My favourite moments from the past year working at SDX have definitely been the events I’ve organised to help celebrate our projects. Back in February we launched the #SDXLoft fashion space with a huge party in our Leith store, and since then we’ve hosted blogger and press events, music nights, style tutorials, social media workshops and monthly meet-the-makers days. I love meeting customers, whether loyal regulars or completely new to our concept, who have been so supportive and enthusiastic.

Another highlight has definitely been seeing many of the emerging and entrepreneurial creatives gain confidence after getting the opportunity to be part of a supportive like minded community, and really succeed in their business. Mark Vice, Sally Fisher and Alexander Jackson certainly stand out, as well as labels Made In Leith, Birds of Prayers, Objectified, Yellow Bubble and Hidden Stag. I feel such a sense of pride for my designers and constantly seek out more opportunities to get their names and products out there. Scotland is full to brim with creative talent that is not being recognised for its full potential, and that needs to change; we hope that The Scottish Design Exchange can push that change.

For more information, and to stay updated on the latest comings and goings at SDX, visit our website, or follow us on Instagram @sdxfashion and @sdxedinburgh.

Ruth @ Urbanity xxx

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Crafted by Catherine Aitken


Recently I’ve started doing PR and social media for Edinburgh-based accessories designer Catherine Aitken, and have totally fallen in love with her huge range of products for men and women. From cosy mohair snoods to classic Harris Tweed handbags, quality and integrity outweigh fashion fads for Catherine Aitken. 

In particular the Easy Hobo Grey Herringbone bag from her new collection caught my eye, so I thought I’d do a wee street style outfit shoot on a rainy day, photographed by Daina Renton. The bag is available to buy here on Catherine’s website, for £105.oo. 

I styled the bag with a long black wool coat from Zara, a grey midi pleated skirt and black crop top from a charity shop (thrift queen!), black ankle boots from River Island and my new favourite necklace from Kakao by K.

Ruth @ Urbanity xxx

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Creative Brew Interview

Here is an interview I did with Creative Brew, a new website based in Glasgow showcasing the work of local creatives, innovators and entrepreneurs.

“For fashion blogger Ruth MacGilp, following your creative passions is crucial. Ever since she was a young girl, Ruth has channeled her love of fashion into everything she does.
From choosing to study fashion textiles at university and setting up her own fashion blog, to playing a crucial role in the Edinburgh-based Scottish Design Exchange, Ruth has utilised every opportunity to carve out a career in the industry she adores.
Here, Ruth discusses her professional career so far, her zeal for fashion blogging and how the innovative Edinburgh-based Scottish Design Exchange has offered her a myriad of exciting opportunities.

Introduce yourself

I grew up in Birmingham and have lived in Edinburgh since 2013. I’m a fashion and lifestyle blogger over at and I work for The Scottish Design Exchange.
Creative Brew Interview: Ruth MacGilp - Urbanity Fashion Blogger

What are you studying at the moment?

Currently I’m studying a BA in Fashion Communication with Heriot Watt University, at the School of Textiles and Design in Galashiels.

Have you always had a love of fashion? 

Since I was very young I’ve loved dressing up. For me, fashion is fantasy, it’s all about experimenting with visual identity.
My Grandma was a dressmaker and taught me to sew, and in my teens I became addicted to reading glossy magazines and blogs. Biographies of legendary fashion designers and subscriptions to Vogue were always on my Christmas list!

You’re a fashion blogger yourself, so do you have any tips for those writers just starting out?

Urbanity has been running for a year and a half now, and its been pretty much non-stop. I would advise any new bloggers that if you want to be successful, you truly have to put the hours in.
Other than a few bits of advice, like do a coding course, go to networking events and post regularly on social media, the rest is up to you.
A personal blog is a totally unique entity; choose a niche, stick to your guns and focus on producing quality content.

What do you enjoy about blogging?

I use my blog as a portfolio of sorts. It’s a visual documentation of many different parts of my life and my career. It’s a platform for me to promote what I’m truly passionate about, like supporting local fashion brands and encouraging mental health recovery.


What bloggers have you got your eye on at the moment?

In Edinburgh there is a plethora of amazing bloggers and it’s a really supportive creative community.
At the moment I’m following Wardrobe ConversationsLittle ThingsThe Edinbugand Love From Lou Lou.

Tell us about the Scottish Design Exchange?

The Scottish Design Exchange is a not-for-profit design collective that supports artists and makers living in Scotland. It was founded by Lynzi Leroy last summer and has gone from strength to strength. Our flagship store in Leith is home to over 100 local creatives.

Creative Brew Interview: Ruth MacGilp - Urbanity Fashion Blogger

How did you get involved with the Scottish Design Exchange and what makes it so important to the contemporary design scene?

At the start of the year Lynzi hired me to set up the new fashion department at SDX, which opened in February. Now I manage around 30 fashion and accessories designers and take care of the company’s social media.
The Scottish Design Exchange is unique because unlike most boutiques and galleries, we charge zero commission to allow independent fashion designers- who often have a hard time gaining support after graduating from art schools- to keep 100% of their profits.
The Scottish Design Exchange offers designers specialist help with branding and marketing, with potential moves into micro manufacturing in the future.
The vision for SDX is to foster a thriving fashion industry right here in Scotland without the need to rely on imports and exports. It aims to establish a strong circular economy that encourages creativity first and foremost.

What opportunities has the Scottish Design Exchange opened up for you and what can it offer other creatives?

From great networking opportunities and endless blogging inspiration, to being awarded real responsibilities for fair pay (so rare at a young age!), the skills, experience and friendships gained from my work are immeasurable.
For local creatives, we provide a welcoming community and aim to show the public that shopping local is much better for the economy and the environment than high street fast fashion and mass produced design products

Creative Brew Interview: Ruth MacGilp - Urbanity Fashion Blogger

What have been your highlights of working at the Scottish Design Exchange so far?

One of my favourite parts of the job is organising events. The launch party for SDX Loft, our fashion department, was a really proud moment for me. Since then we’ve hosted blogger events, social media workshops, art exhibitions, regular meet-the-makers days and styling events.

What advice would you give to those looking to break into the fashion industry?

Put your self doubt aside and aim high. See rejection as an opportunity for feedback. Don’t let your age, appearance, experience or education set you back or put you back; you’re worthy of success.
Postscript: We’d like to congratulate Ruth on becoming a finalist for the Blogger of the Year category of The Herald Scotland’s Scottish Fashion Awards. We’ll be rooting for you! Don’t forget to check out Ruth’s work on FacebookInstagram and Twitter.

Creative Brew Interview: Ruth MacGilp - Urbanity Fashion Blogger
By Jonny McIntosh of Creative Brew. Head to their website to get involved!

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