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O Flower of Scotland! Why Scottish fashion is having a moment

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O Flower of Scotland! Why Scottish fashion is having a moment

Last week saw Anya Taylor-Joy, Jennifer Lawrence and Rosamund Pike descending on Drummond Castle in Perthshire, Scotland, for a fashion extravaganza the likes of which has not been seen since 1955. The occasion? Dior’s cruise 2025 show, which nodded to Scotland’s sartorial heritage via tartan, leather, kilts and tweeds. Dubbed the “Versailles of Scotland”, the venue was a fitting location to pay homage to France and Scotland’s historic alliance (Mary Queen of Scots was raised in exile at the French court, with the two countries sharing a fondness for the Pope), with a parade of pipers closing proceedings. Creative director Maria Grazia Chirui even enlisted the help of Scottish artisans and designers, including Le Kilt, Harris Tweed and Johnstons of Elgin, lending authenticity to the affair, with a nod to Mary Queen of Scots’ love of embroidery in the collection.

jennifer lawrence, delphine arnault and anya taylor joy at the dior cruise 2025 show held at drummond castle on june 3, 2024 in perthshire, scotland

Saira MacLeod

preview for Dior collaborates with Harris Tweed for cruise 2025

Dior’s highland fling is just the latest piece of evidence that points to Scottish fashion enjoying a bit of a “moment”. Take kilts, for example. Never have they been more in demand than at the beginning of this year, when searches for them soared by 92 per cent following Claudia Winkleman’s patronage of them for her Scots-set reality TV show, The Traitors. For many street stylers, Winkleman was just proving what they already knew: pleated, tartan and school girl-ish, kilts are cool. We’ve got London Fashion Week wünderkind Chopova Lowena to thank for that, as she made the skirt style à la mode back in September 2022, consistently featuring them in her collections ever since. As Maria Grazia Chiuri noted backstage at Dior, the real appeal of the kilt is that it is punk. “The kilt is part of Scottish tradition but also the punk moment in fashion, Vivienne Westwood and Alexander McQueen worked with this before me so it was a big responsibility. In some way the Bar jacket and skirt is an interpretation by Mr Dior of the kilt and its jacket.”

model on the runway at chopova lowena

WWD

model on the runway at chopova lowena

WWD

But it wasn’t just kilts that Winkleman made trendy. Her entire clan-esque wardrobe, of argyle knits, polo necks and wader boots, was Scotland personified, and gave a real boost to local brands like Le Kilt, Barrie Cashmere and Johnstons of Elgin, inspiring a million “get The Traitors look” pieces. And with summer yet to make an appearance, it’s perhaps unsurprising that we’re currently still opting for that tried-and-tested formula of mini-skirts with knee-highs and knitwear: a look popularised by our north-of-the-border cousins. Factor in the current penchant for Nineties fashion, and it is easy to see why the Buffy Summers look reigns supreme.

Another thing driving our love of Scottish fashion is undoubtedly the sustainability of the brands, many of which focus on traditional craftsmanship, rather than fast fashion. Iseabal Hendry, who designs hand-woven leather accessories, believes consumers want pieces that they can feel good about owning. “Customers are increasingly interested in the provenance behind the work,” she explains. “Luxury has a responsibility towards the preservation, celebration and evolution of craft in Scotland, and I feel passionately about my place within that. I wouldn’t be creating the work that I do had I not grown up in a Gaelic speaking community where traditional crafts, stories, music and culture were very much part of my day-to-day life.”

Hendry is far from alone when it comes to cool luxury brands up in Alba, with contemporaries including handbag designer Strathberry, womenswear brand Siobhan Mackenzie and menswear Kestin. When fashion PR Lucy Johnson decided to leave her job at Chanel and move her young family to the Scottish countryside, she hadn’t gambled on the amount of local brands who might need her help. “At a glance one might think Scotland is so raw and rustic that luxury doesn’t really exist – but this could not more wrong,” she shares. “Having lived here now for over two years, I am continually discovering that there is a whole world of luxury I was never aware of. There are plenty of beautiful brands, hotels, restaurants, and major luxury events spread over Scotland.”

If you need any further evidence of Scotland’s cool factor, then look to the small screen. The final series of The Crown, which saw Kate and William’s love story played out, was predominantly set north of the border at St Andrews University. Meanwhile, One Day, another Netflix hit, all started (and ended) in the university town of Edinburgh. Then there’s Richard Gadd, the star of the phenomenally popular Baby Reindeer, whose dulcet tones hail from Wormit in Fife. Hoteliers have been on to the trend for some time now, ever since Iwan and Manuela Wirth (of art gallery, Hauser & Wirth) opened The Fife Arms in Braemar back in 2018 (which stocks Iseabal Hendry). And while plans for a Glasgow Soho House have been nixed, that might even add to its appeal. All the cool kids are hiring country piles and having wild Saltburn-esque parties anyway: just ask Lady Lola Bute, whose raucous 24th birthday celebrations created endless Instagram and TikTok fodder.

a model presents a creation for dior during the 2025 dior croisiere cruise fashion show on june 3, 2024 at drummond castle, in crieff, in scotland photo by andy buchanan  afp photo by andy buchananafp via getty images

ANDY BUCHANAN

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