Scottish Brands

An Ode to Feroce Magazine

Daina Renton is a bloody creative genius. Quite literally bloody when it comes to some of the more witchy and vampiric fashion shoots we’ve done together. Daina Renton, the fabulous female joker, creatively directs and expertly curates Edinburgh-based Feroce Magazine, my new favourite fashion magazine, unlike any other. Feroce comes out twice a month in print and digital, filled to the brim with editorial campaigns from the world’s most innovative fashion photographers, stylists, make up artists and models. Read on to find out why I love Feroce magazine so bloody much….


Why I’m Dropping Beauty from the Blog

  Girl in Black Dress
Last week I met up with Ann Martin from celebrated Scottish fashion blog Style Stamps for a little street style shoot, as I wanted to show off my new items from Glasgow designer fashion brand Birds of Prayers, a hugely oversized black smock dress with deep pockets and a flouncy skirt, and a giant jersey tote bag with enough room in it for the kitchen sink.
While chatting about the current state of blogging with Ann over a cappuccino at Round Square coffee house,  we touched upon the  issue of over-saturation of beauty bloggers right now, and how neither of us really prioritised writing about hair and make-up. I’ve been blogging less and less lately about all things beauty, so I’ve decided its time to narrow down my niche and drop it from the blog completely. Read on to find out why…


Simone Murphy in SDX Fashion SS17

I thought it was about time I showed my lovely readers the latest fashion shoot I’ve directed for my work, The Scottish Design Exchange (SDX), an arts collective supporting Scotland-based creative talent. The purpose was to create a lookbook for SS17, showcasing clothing, jewellery and accessories from Scottish fashion designers that sell their products at SDX. I was lucky enough to collaborate once more with Britain’s Next Top Model contestant Simone Murphy just before she moved to London, along with a bunch of other fabulous Edinburgh folks.
Here are the details:
Model: Simone Murphy
Photographer: Marisa Bruce
Wardrobe Stylist/Creative Director: Ruth MacGilp
Make Up Artist: Naomi Baxter-Moore
Hair Stylist: Senay Taormina
Read on to see the full editorial….


Ladyboss Collective #girlgang

Since opening in May 2016 in Edinburgh’s old town, Ladyboss Collective, founded by Amber Vermeulen, has gathered a reputation for being the local go-to for locally, female-made art and fashion while creating the coolest nail art in a totally kitsch atmosphere (with Beyonce blasting in the background of course). I popped in yesterday night for a chat with Amber and a quick gel manicure, and left totally inspired by the creativity and the aesthetic. A young, independent business that supports not only other young independent businesses, but also homeless women, LGBT rights and female creative empowerment.

Amber grew up in Edinburgh, and always dreamed about opening her own little boutique. She studied fashion marketing at Northampton  before finding her calling in DIY nail art. While working in hospitality she realised there were so many talented creative people that had nowhere to sell their work, so after a pop-up stint over Christmas, the time, location and demand were exactly right to launch Ladyboss Collective.

Its great to see that smaller shops are taking the lead from the likes of experiential retail experts Anthropologie, Topshop and Harvey Nichols, and adding a central element of service to their offering. Ladyboss Collective is focussed around a cornucopia of nail polishes, glitter and stickers where they offer gel manicures and custom designs using new and independent nail products from all over the world. I got myself some Chrome Nails, the latest trend amongst art aficionados. The stuff is magic- a layer of special black nail varnish, then a sparkly silver powder is rubbed over with a soft brush, creating a unique metallic surface.

I love the DIY, crafty feel that the store embodies. Displays are made from lollipop sticks, glittery string, wire baskets and cute pastel coloured everything. Some of my favourite Scottish fashion brands including Dreamland, Yellow Bubble and Thrifty Little  are stocked at Ladyboss, as well as adorable homemade clay earrings (got myself a pair of grey marbled studs…couldn’t resist!). cards and prints from talented illustrators like Alice Carnegie, Japanese gifts and Korean beauty. Loads of the products on sale are up cycled, reworked or remade, which is fabulous for sustainability snobs like me.
Amber has exciting plans for the brand’s future, including an online shop, regular girl gang meet ups,  artist collaborations, music festival stalls, and very excitingly, press on fake nails with creative custom designs, and other product lines like nail decals and cuticle oils. Keep your eyes peeled for news and events, and be sure to follow the Ladyboss instagram @ladyboss.collective.

 Ruth @ Urbanity xxx

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Nu Blvck on Sustainability and Transparency

Yesterday I took a trip to Many Studios in Glasgow where women accessories brand Nu Blvck is based to shoot some street style looks with photographer Holly May Wesley alongside Hannah Louise Baxter (the designer of Nu Blvck’s latest collection, Icon Revived) and famed Scottish fashion stylist Kirsty Halliday of I’ll Be Your Mirror.

 In the freezing cold Barrowlands we had an absolute ball taking pictures with the gorgeous bags and scarves, which of course ended up being a prosecco party back at the office. I can’t wait to see the results, but for now I thought I’d post a little bit of the conversation I had with Rebecca Flory and Andrew Vincent, founders of Nu Blvck, focussing on their sustainable business model, and their plans to change the fashion industry for good.

How does your business model differ from the standard way the fashion industry operates?

RF Our business model is completely different from any fashion brand we know, and thats what sets us apart. Constantly working with new designers means we’re always going to have something different for people. Its a seasonal cycle with regular new collections but with a slow fashion philosophy.
AV The traditional retail model would go from design to production in a very corporate, detached kind of way. The result of that is large stockpiles of clothing, made cheaply as each collection is a risk, so it can then be heavily discounted when it doesn’t sell. This produces masses of waste in the supply chain, with clothing ending up in landfill as it no longer holds any value. A lot of the cheap clothing that is being produced is encouraging people to buy more and more instead of buying better. Our model flips this on its head by not making anything until its purchased, a demand-based model which involves the customer in the design process to an extent, eliminating waste products. 
How important is transparency in the supply chain, and is that something today’s customers demand?

AV Massively so, people are demanding transparency, throwing out the old model and bringing in the new. I guess every trend in nearly every market, even thing like banking, shows that people, particularly the millennial consumer, want to have information from around the world at their fingertips. In the information age people finally want to know the origins of their £2 Primark t-shirt. The internet has definitely helped to bring about that change in attitudes, the world will become much smaller. Becca and I have travelled to and seen the squalor where these fast fashion products are made, we know what goes in to making something, and documentaries and films like True Cost are helping to highlight that, which was really the inspiration to start Nu Blvck.

What’s your opinion on ‘greenwashing’? (brands jumping on the hype of being sustainable and making claims just to appeal to a new market, not considering the actual environmental and social impact, such as H&M promoting their organic cotton collection while still continuing to use sweatshop labour) and is sustainability being hijacked?

RF I think big brands are realising that there is a shift in consumer perception and are adapting their business to suit that, whereas smaller businesses like ours are just genuinely trying to do things differently and make things better in the world, knowing that the consumers will follow. It wouldn’t be possible for companies like H&M and Zara to grow so rapidly without compromising the environment, but we definitely have ambitions to be a big brand, growing in a more sustainable way. To get to that level we would have to fundamentally change the way we operate; its a business choice based on values.

The traditional fashion cycle, trickle-down trends and retail models have changed dramatically in recent years. Do you think that fashion weeks and the seasonal cycle still apply today?
RF Because fashion is so global now and people buy online from all around the world with different climates and cultures, so seasonal collections from big brands are not really relevant anymore. In terms of the see-now-buy-now thing, I actually had a twitter argument with Susie Bubble over this, because I didn’t think that Burberry’s new model was actually that revolutionary, it just makes more sense. 

AV Every brand makes something, and then tries to sell us it instantly. Like, welcome to the 21st century! Fashion is very slow to innovate. What we are doing shouldn’t be unusual but it is. Going down to London fashion week, the elitism is just the oddest thing ever; 100 people sitting in a room deciding what the world wears, it shouldn’t be the case. What we’re doing is creating products in a collaborative way from the bottom up.

RF At the same time, trends are still relevant, and thats unlikely to change. Our current collection was completely conceptualised by Hannah (Baxter, the designer) but the colour palette and the stripes just happened to fit with current trends, so the products have been popular, especially the pastel pink leather grab bag. But trends aren’t the basis for the design, its quality. There is definitely a consumer trend at the moment of buying into ethical fashion, but this genuinely came from a place of wanting to recognise and celebrate independent, artisan craftsmanship.

What does sustainability in fashion mean to you?

AV We see ourselves as sustainable because we use only the highest possible quality of materials to produce products that people actually have demand for, made by skilled artisans who are paid a fair wage. Fast fashion in its current state is basically just enslaving working and killing craft, so we are trying to help bring it back to life, while building a community with connections between people in the industry, eventually worldwide. The world’s biggest resource is people at the end of the day, and I think thats lost a lot in other so-called sustainable brands. In Bangladesh the average garment worker is being paid about a quarter of a reasonable living wage, theres a real issue there. We want to operate as sustainably as we can but by creating collections that people want to buy, not because its sustainable but because of its great design; bridging that gap. Thats how you change the world!






Ruth @ Urbanity xxx

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