• Glasgow born and bred

    Why did you start working in the Scottish textiles industry?

    My ambition was always to study clothing design and manufacture and I went to Cardonald College and then Glasgow Caledonian University. However, I felt the university course didn’t suit me and I left after eight months. Shortly after that I launched G69. As well as studying, my goal was to launch and build my own clothing label.

    'There's a wealth of talent in the Scottish creative industry'

    What do you think is so special about the industry?

    I am fortunate to have met and collaborated with various creatives throughout my time working on different projects. There’s a wealth of talent in the Scottish creative industry. It takes a lot of determination to build a brand or career and I’ve met numerous people with that trait. For me, the success stories of others are a huge inspiration.

    Name one (or more!) Scottish textile designer/manufacturer you admire.

    I would have to say jewellery designer Ruth Morrison. Originally from the Isle of Harris, Ruth combines precious metals and genuine Harris Tweed to create original pieces for both men and women. 

    We’ve collaborated with Ruth on our online store, showcasing some of the best designs from her men's range including cufflinks and tie pins. I was lucky enough to see some of the work in progress in her Glasgow studio.

  • What is the most valuable thing you've learned? 

    Don't be afraid to ask questions. Whether that is when you need advice or you have an idea which you would like to explore. I’ve been able to work with some great people by making initial contact – who knows what would have happened otherwise.

    Also to appreciate how far things have progressed and enjoy any success no matter how small it may seem at the time. I've been guilty of not appreciating this in the past and only looking ahead to what's next. Only when you step back and look at what you’ve achieved can you truly appreciate how far things have come.

    Any upcoming projects or plans?

    We have recently launched our own online store. We took time to make sure we got the look and feel of the site right. Our aim now is to build on it.

    A special feature is our collaboration section which will bring on board specifically chosen independent brands to sit alongside our own. These brands will specialise in different areas such as jewellery and accessories which we feel will complement G69. Eventually, we want to have a platform where people can come online and have their needs met through our various product ranges. Our winter 16 collection is well underway too. We will be producing garments, mainly outerwear, aimed at a slightly higher-end, premium market due to the fabrics and techniques being used.

  • What do you think will have the greatest impact on the industry in the next ten years?

    There are a number of strong independent brands as well as retailers coming to the forefront and with the right support this can only be good for the industry.

    I see production coming back home as opposed to overseas, which is important to me personally. There are a number of small organisations who have listened to the needs of independent designers, such as cost effective local production. I’ve always kept in mind that I was taught in college by tutors who had spent their earlier years as part of massive operations, producing garments for some of the biggest brands which was then taken away completely and left many people unemployed. I work with a small team dotted around Glasgow to produce our clothing and bringing them together and growing from this is important to me. 

  • Do you have any other interests outside textiles?

    I’m interested in learning more about photography, which obviously goes hand-in-hand with the fashion business. Having worked with some amazing photographers, I know that the right style of imagery can define your brand.

    Any advice for the next wave of upcoming talent?

    Take all advice on board. Listen to opinions but remember they are not always right. Everyone is entitled to theirs, but early on whilst studying there was times when I was told I wasn’t the creative type. I feel I’ve proven otherwise. I never gained the required marks to gain entry to the university course I originally applied for. Ironically, after I launched G69 and achieved some success, that same university approached me to sit on a panel of independent Scottish designs set up to offer advice to their students.

  • And finally...where do you see yourself in five years?

    Hopefully G69 will have progressed to the point where we are mainstream. That’s the dream for independent brands. Long-term, I visualise adding more stockists, opening our own store, and building a successful online platform that collaborates with the best independents around. For me, if you’ve got the right attitude and work ethic then the sky’s the limit.