The ladies behind Glasgow Tunics are feisty, fearless and not afraid to kick ass and we love them for it! Never before have we met two people in this industry who design primarily based on what they think is lacking in the womenswear market and stand up proudly to explain exactly why they know their market and what’s needed in the support of emerging design talent. Why has our collaborative partnership worked so well to date? We think trust, respect and a mutual understanding of what it’s like to have to fight for your place in the creative industries with minimal support, especially when you’re not fresh out of education or under 30. Welcome to the world of making it on your own.
Marie-Claire and Gill are the brains behind the brand and when we met them it was because we were supporting G69 Clothing at a fashion show they were also featuring in at The Berkeley lounge in early 2015. Runway shows can have a varied output depending on the end result the hosts are aiming for; do they want mean and moody? Are the models professionals or friends roped in for a favour? Do they want audience participation or awed silence? We’ve been to every style of event but never one like this. The G.T. models were whooping, clapping and having as good a time on that runway as anyone of their target customer audience would in one of their designs. This wasn’t a chance outcome either - they know exactly how they want to navigate the fashion community in Scotland and it’s by encouraging you to let your guard down with your clothing and reconnect with the reasons why we are drawn to certain colours, designs and styles we love.
Very active in the Glasgow community, we arranged to meet the team at another local event, this time a designer sample sale in Hillhead Book Club. They introduced us to the models for their next campaign shoot and these models have turned out to be two of our closest W.E. colleagues; Ada Konkolska and Karen Bennie. Both are excellent communicators, active in the creative community and simply gorgeous people to surround yourself with and it’s not surprising. As we said, Glasgow Tunics are all about positivity and don’t suffer a fool!
We spent the next few months meeting up with the team to support them at various shows and events and we continued to fall in love with their originality and refusal to try and fit in with whoever is flavour of the month. If something doesn't work for them they accept it, adapt it and move on. They don't look for a scapegoat and they don’t waste time whinging. A breath of fresh air in what can be a rather catty industry to develop a business in!
When we ran the Princes Square #8daysofshopping event, we surprised a few people by insisting that Glasgow Tunics had to have a presence as there was an incorrect belief that Princes Square was only the home of simple, safe clothing and wasn't the place for originality and fusing art with design. Princes Square is the home of Scotland’s flagship Vivienne Westwood store - need we say more? Unsurprisingly, there were comparisons from customers between the brand and the punk ethos of Westwood and one of the first G.T. designs to sell was their signature tartan riding coat.
In addition to their growing customer base that loves comfortable, well designed clothes that aren’t trying to match teenage fashion, the G.T. team are well connected on the creative scene and regularly work with Ashely Cook, using a selection of her designs as prints on their fabrics.
The results are always striking and by working with a prestigious artist who has collections exhibited in such wide ranging locations as Kelvingrove Museum & Art Gallery, The Vaasa Museum, Finland and Galeria Otra Vez, Los Angeles, the creative element is significantly strengthened and a wider audience for both is opened up.
When we were invited to run a winter popup concept boutique back in Princes Square, Glasgow Tunics were included without hesitation and, while it ended up extending from an initial 3 months to an epic 9, we were thrilled for the brand that they sold continuously and ran a profit almost immediately. This is actually quite difficult to do early on for a brand in managed retail as there are essential costs that have to be paid before sales are calculated and, as we all know, a sale is never a guarantee; customers are spoiled for choice and may admire your designs but not necessarily buy.
Some brands would pick their brains and even a few support agencies called them to ask how they were progressing and we were thrilled that they had no hesitation in shouting out their support for our continuous hard work and suggesting those people did the same. We’ll love them forever for that!
Completing the concept boutique popup in June, we needed to take the pedal off the gas a little to recharge our batteries but a month in theory was only two weeks in reality as Marie Claire was back in touch with some very intriguing news. Those art world contacts, her far-reaching creative pull in the Glasgow community…she insisted we met with someone who was eager to discuss an offer with us and so, we agreed. What happened next is soon to be revealed as we prepare to announce our most exciting and creative festive popup event yet.
Thank you Marie Claire and Gill, you have embodied the definition of teamwork and we look forward to the next event with a firm nod to your involvement in it’s inception. We look forward to the future of this superbly creative brand and appreciate their embodiment of our tagline to ‘Be Your Own Story’.