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Fashion, textile and design students in Galashiels to showcase their work – Scottish Business News



AROUND 150 students from more than 15 countries are to showcase their work in the 2024 Degree Show at Heriot-Watt University’s School of Textiles and Design.

Fashion garments, textile designs, interior design projects, digital designs, fashion marketing and design management work will be among the final year projects on display at the High Mill building, a converted textile mill in Galashiels in the Scottish Borders, where the school is based.

A spiky silver jacket and other fashion items around the theme of men’s mental health; an immersive room that introduces visitors to Lagos in Nigeria; fabric designs inspired by Scottish landscapes and folklore and interior designs for a community arts hub in Perthshire are among the projects on display.

The 2024 Degree Show will launch with a private showing for industry, staff and friends and family on Friday 31 May, before opening to the public between Saturday 1 June to Friday 7 June.

Students from countries including Italy, India, Egypt, Spain, Scotland, Hungary, Croatia, Nigeria, Poland and Ireland are taking part in the event.

Matea Mandarić, 22, from Croatia is in the final year of her Bachelor of Arts (Honours) degree in Fashion at Heriot-Watt School of Textiles and Design. Her Degree Show project has involved creating a series of fashion garments around the theme of men’s mental health and with the slogan, ‘Boys don’t cry.’ Her centrepiece outfit features a silver puffer jacket with large fabric spikes on its hood, worn with partitioned tartan trousers linked together with metal chains.

“There’s this idea in society that men are meant to be macho and not cry,” Matea says. “It’s particularly prevalent in the Balkans region where I’m from. So I wanted to start a conversation around men’s mental health and use menswear as a sort of protection against society’s expectations.  I’ve created a jacket that’s protective and soft on the one hand, because it’s filled with very soft stuffing. But on the other hand, it still looks quite fierce because of the spikes.”

Matea has designed and stitched all her Degree Show outfits from scratch over the last year, despite never having threaded a sewing machine before starting her course four years ago. She now hopes to study an MA in costume design for performance at London College of Fashion.

“Heriot-Watt has really helped me build the skills I need to feel more confident in my design practise,” Matea says.

Eguvwe Yugbovwre, 36, from Nigeria is studying a postgraduate Master of Arts degree in Digital Design and Innovation. Her final year project is an immersive room where visitors can experience some sights and sounds from the city of Lagos in Nigeria. The project uses interactive video, audio and projection mapping – where video projectors are used to beam moving images and light onto surfaces like walls and floors.

“The idea is to introduce people to the rich life and culture of Lagos, where I’m from,” Eguvwe explains. “I carefully selected iconic buildings, places and cultures unique to Lagos to be featured in the space. These include the city’s iconic yellow and black buses and buildings like the National Theatre in Lagos. This was built in 1977 during Nigeria’s military regime to celebrate African arts and culture and, interestingly, is shaped like a military soldier’s cap.”

Eguvwe has a background in animation and would now like to develop her project, called Lasgidi Streets, into a “fully immersive cultural experience that can be enjoyed by people worldwide.”

Kai Parker, 24, from Glasgow in Scotland is completing a Bachelor of Arts degree in Design for Textiles. She has developed a series of textile prints based on Scottish landscapes and folklore, using different printing techniques including screen printing and digital printing.

“My collection is called ‘Cianalas,’ which is Scottish Gaelic for a sense of longing or belonging to a place,” Kai says. “I’ve used watercolour to reflect Scotland’s natural beauty. My designs are inspired by Scottish heritage and include quirky animals, organic shapes and joyful motifs. My animal motifs were inspired by Scottish folklore tales about creatures like Kelpies and Selkies, which take form as seals and horses in my prints. I’ve also used playful illustrations of birds, inspired by Scottish crossbills and robins. I remember learning about these sorts of folk tales in school, which evokes a sense of nostalgia.”

After graduating, Kai will be taking her work to New Designers, an annual graduate design show in London that showcases emerging design talent.

Fourth year Bachelor of Arts in Interior Design student Laurent Meharry, 24, grew up in Glasgow but has family roots in France and Italy. His Degree Show project is a proposed community arts hub based at Perth Art Gallery in Perthshire.

Laurent said: “Designing a studio and exhibition space has always been a dream of mine and my Degree Show project is my vision for a new sustainable art hub in Perth and Kinross. My goal is to create a space that promotes sustainability, attracts visitors to help boost the local economy and strengthens international ties with artists. The space would showcase various disciplines including painting, sculpture and fashion. I wanted to breathe new life into the Perth Art Gallery building, which was constructed in the early 1800s.”

After graduating, Laurent is interested in pursuing a career in museum curation and exhibition design. “I would love to work with historic landmarks, revitalising their interiors in a sustainable way to bring them into the 21st century,” he says.

Other students showcasing their work at Heriot-Watt’s 2024 Degree Show include:

  • Reema Baagagah, 22, from Yemen, a BA Fashion student who has designed a garment called Sitara, a two-sided embroidered cape that can be worn over the head or as jacket.
  • Lucy Parnell, 37, from Dumfries and Galloway, a Bachelor of Science (BSc) Fashion Technology student whose Degree Show project explores how clothing can adapt and contract with us as we age.
  • Anam Waqar, 35, from Pakistan is a postgraduate MA Digital Design and Innovation student. Visitors to her immersive installation can use iPads to project their own work onto the floor.

The show opens to the public on Saturday 1 June with a Degree Show Open Day. This includes a live fashion show and academic-led workshops, including ‘Abstract Collage Creations’ and ‘An Introduction to Embellishment through Creative Stitch’ and behind-the-scenes facilities tours.

Fashion students at the Degree Show will model some of their work in walk-through pods with interactive lighting. At Heriot-Watt’s campus in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates,  School of Textiles and Design students will also showcase their work.

David Cavallaro, Head of Discipline and Project Lead for the Degree Show at Heriot-Watt School of Textiles and Design, said: “The Degree Show is a vital part of the year, where students get to showcase all their hard work and also how they’ve evolved and learned. It’s an important stepping stone in their career journey, whether they’re continuing their study or going into industry. Students and staff start preparing for the show months in advance, so it’s very exciting for us to see it all preparing to launch.”

Julian Malins, Executive Dean at Heriot-Watt School of Textiles and Design, said: “We are consistently amazed by the talent of our students across so many different disciplines, and our 2024 Degree Show demonstrates that. What’s particularly remarkable about our cohort this year is their diversity, with so many countries and backgrounds represented. This says a lot about the appeal and status of our degrees – and also the commitment of our staff, who work incredibly hard throughout the year.”

Heriot-Watt School of Textiles and Design is regularly named as one of the best places in the UK to study fashion and attracts fashion brands, textile companies, design agencies and other industry scouts to its degree shows.

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.

Honorary Graduates include the late British fashion icon Dame Vivienne Westwood.

The Heriot-Watt School of Textiles and Design 2024 Degree Show takes place at:

Heriot-Watt University, Scottish Borders Campus, High Mill Building, Galashiels, TD1 3HE

  • Friday 31 May 2024, 2pm-4pm – private viewing for industry and press.
  • Saturday 1 June to Friday 7 June 2024, 10am-4pm – show open to the public.
  • To confirm your attendance at the Degree Show Open Day 2024 and to sign up for workshops on the day, please register here.

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