Sunday, 17 June 2018 17:56

An Interview With Multi-Award Winning Kilt Designer Siobhan Mackenzie

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An Interview With Multi-Award Winning Kilt Designer Siobhan Mackenzie Siobhan Mackenzie

Fashions Finest were excited to catch up with Siobhan Mackenzie following her recent collaboation with the premium Scottish gin Caorunn. 

This is what she told us.

1. How did this collaboration come about?

Caorunn already had their own tartan designed but hadn’t really done anything with it yet which is where I saw an opportunity for us to work together. The more I learnt about the Caorunn brand I realised how much our brand ethos’ echo each-other in championing Scottish Craftsmanship in a contemporary way and what a fantastic brand alignment it would be, it was the ideal match.

2. Gin and Kilts, quite a combination, How does the Gin compliment the Kilt and the Kilt the Gin?

It’s an unexpected combination but that’s what I like- I think many people were expecting me to work with a whisky brand but my brand is very much about stepping outside of the boundaries. Both brands originate from the Scottish Highlands and reinvigorate perceptions of Scottish produce- we use local heritage and skills but with an innovative injection.

I’m passionate about using local materials and craftsmanship and promoting a sustainable fashion outlook and Caorunn source local ingredients and produce in small batch quantities so it’s been fantastic to show how two ends of the spectrum- fashion and gin- can come together with two different products channeling the same message.

3. What was your creative process in designing the Kilt for this collaboration ?

I started with the Caorunn Tartan which uses a classic colour palette with grey, red, black and white and drew inspiration from there. I came up with various design solutions, pulling colours from the tartan to use as contrasting materials. Looking at the designs as a whole the black contrast is what stood out the most and is what made the designs the most aesthetically impacting.

4. Gin is a clear but flavour infused drink and in your designs you use a lot of multi color fabrics giving contrast to each piece. How did you incorporate color and fabric to express the flavor and taste of Caorunn Gin?

In the final designs we used a black wool contrast with the grey Caorunn Tartan, the style uses a classic colour palette fused with a bold design. The Caorunn Bottle is very striking and instantly recognisable and I wanted to replicate this idea into the Caorunn Kilts too.

5. The kilt is such a strong part of the Scottish heritage how do you through your designs keep this cultural heritage alive in this Millennial age?

The kilt is so iconic to Scotland and it’s important to me to keep our heritage alive therefore experimenting with new styles and innovating the traditional piece as we know it is crucial to keep it current and stylish. I was trained in traditional kilt-making as a fashion student and this has been imperative to allowing me to redesign the kilt correctly as I fully understand the construction and what can and cannot be done with it. It’s been a risk to change something so traditional- it’s playing with fire as you could upset a lot of people if it isn’t done with respect to the original craft!

6. Gin is a very fashionable drink these days, are you a lover of Gin and how do you enjoy your Gin?

The perk of working with a drinks brand is that Caorunn have taught me well so I enjoy a gin with tonic, lots of ice and garnished with red apple.

7. You have won multiple awards and now this collaboration, what is next for the Siobhan Mackenzie brand?

The brand was stocked in Bergdorf Goodman in New York and I’m very much trying to replicate this with other retailers across the globe therefore I show bi-annually at Paris Fashion Week and so my current focus is on growing the wholesale model of the brand and getting Contemporary Scotland out there.

www.siobhanmackenzie.com

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