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Under the Sea

29 November, 2013

Written by Andree Latibeaudiere in Ones to Watch

Joanne McGillvray

Scottish designer Joanne McGillivray is definitely a designer to watch having already won awards and during her internship at Marks & Spencer impressed the design team so much that her design for an LBD hit the stores. For such a young designer she already has a strong aesthetic and point of view for her eponymous brand. Following a successful Autumn Winter offering. Fashion Fox sits down with Scottish Designer Joanne McGillivray to find out more about her label and what lies ahead for the young designer.

Joanne McGillivray recently launched her ‘Under the Sea’ inspired Spring Summer 2014 collection to two hundred stylish guests, in Glasgow’s East End showcasing what is now to be known as her signature style: easy to wear, elegant and practical pieces made to fit seamlessly into the modern woman’s wardrobe. The collection inspired by the colours and textures of the seas, features separates and dresses in simple, clean silhouettes with a heavy focus on the rich fabric and shades of blue. The stand out piece is the dramatic, floor-length dress with a gorgeous wave-like pattern is reminiscent of the way sunlight hits a turquoise blue pool. There’s always an air of practicality to Joanne’s pieces and this collection features a stylish orange-trimmed raincoat as a tongue-in-cheek reminder of Glasgow’s notorious weather. Joanne McGillivray’s previous (and debut) collection is set to be stocked in retail giant House of Fraser’s Glasgow store this Christmas (an amazing feat for a new designer) so Fashion Fox had to sit down with Joanne to find out more about her vision and where this amazing brand is heading.

How would you define the 'Joanne McGillivray' woman?

The Joanne McGillivray women is someone who is looking for classical silhouettes with an edge. She wants to stand out from her friends, doesn't mind paying a premium for her clothes as she knows she is getting something unique.

What specifically about the sea inspired you to create this collection?

I went deep sea diving last year in Egypt and I got some amazing pictures under water. In my living room one of my walls is full of scattered picture frames and a lot of the images from the deep sea diving. So I started to brainstorm the idea and fell in love with the concept of how fabric act underwater. The idea started to grow arms and legs, my choice of fabric reflects the theme. Lots of floaty silk, Neoprene and some PVC.

Shades of blue seem to feature heavily in both your collections. Is this your signature colour?

Subconsciously yes. It is the colour that I am naturally drawn too. Its wasn't until the S/S14 collection was designed, I sat back and realised that both collections did have a lot of blue in it. Different tones on blue and other accent colours but I have consciously not made blue the main colour in the AW14 collection.

The garments are all very elegant, easy to wear and best of all, practical! Do you design with this practicality in mind?

There is nothing worse than when you try something on and then realise when you've bought the garment wearing it out and about its a nightmare tugging and pulling at it. There is nothing in the collection that I wouldn't wear, and I feel that’s important because if I don't feel comfortable in the clothes how can I expect my customers to?

Your AW13 collection featured a beautiful tropical print and this collection yearns to be worn whilst sipping a cocktail on the beach. Was this escapist element a deliberate rebellion against the Scottish weather?

No, not really. Yes the Scottish weather is very unpredictable and doesn't follow seasons very well, but we are very resilient and go from A to B so the fashion shouldn't suffer from our bad weather. The S/S14 collection does have a holiday feel to it, walking on the beach, going for dinner but still feeling comfortable and fabulous.

What's next for your brand? Will you venture further into accessories?

Yes, I have a big vision for the brand to venture into accessories and menswear. However, I don't want to be distracted until the womenswear collections are fully established. Don't worry, there is still lots that can be done - maybe collaborations next season!

Following the pop-up shops at Christmas, what's next for your brand commercially?

We hope to be stocked in boutiques and retailers worldwide. Initially, we are targeting the UK market but want to be stocked alongside our competitors from London to Tokyo.


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Under the Sea - Joanne McGillvray

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