As the year draws to a close I thought it might be nice to look back some pictures from every month , to tell the story of the year. Some are of things I've made to measure for customers . I've got some great memories of making them , we had some laughs and good chats over the fittings and I love the collection appointments when I can surprise you with the finished article . Sometimes I get quite emotional as off you go with your dresses for your special occasions.😚 Ive also added interesting events I've participated in , and some garments that for one reason or another have just pleased me . theres too many so I have split it into two blog posts.
I'll start at the beginning
At the beginning of the year I received this picture from Lisa , dancing at her wedding , in the gorgeous res slipper satin and guipure lace dress I made her. As you can see she looked amazing. I loved making this dress for her , shes so gorgeous and has an individual style . the dress was halter neck , and had a low back embellished with lace motifs which were placed , and sewn by hand. a real couture finish which gave the dress a very elegant look.
For February , another red couture gown. This one for Marie , who wore it to the Academy awards . This dress had a lovely long removable train over a columnar skirt. The train also had pockets , which added a quirky edge. The one shoulder look is a particular favourite for Marie , who is a regular customer.
I finished the dress with a diamante buckle, which added a bit of glamour and sparkle.
February also belongs to the gorgeous Ellie , who , although had received her jacket previously , sent me the pictures at that time of year , as she lives in Australia and had to wait for the weather to cool down before she wore a wool tartan jacket . Ellie chose her 1970's inspired jacket from a sample in store , and had it made in her own family Tartan , which is a service I do a lot of. She was only in Edinburgh for a short while , so originally I made a mock up , or toille , of the garment , fitted that on her and then made the garment after she had left . as you can see it was a perfect fit. it also has a belt , not shown , to give it another look.
Quite a lot happened in March , as that was the month of the R Sustainable fashion show ,in which I was delighted to take part . The stipulation was that everything had to be ... well... sustainable ! . This was a challenge which I rose to gladly , as I have always employed sustainability into my work. particularly in the way of recycling old clothing and fabrics. I use a lot of 'found' fabrics , e.g , remnants from charity shops , and pieces I find in my travels. I always let the fabric talk to me and it tells me what it wants to become. ( not literally , just incase you were getting worried lol )
I got a lot of great pictures from this event , and found it hard to chose , but settled on the group picture , and this one of these two absolute babes xx
March is also , this fab picture of Ali from Heilan Quine tours , at a charity ball she attended. looking , ust gorgeous in her custom made corset and skirt set, embellished with white lace florals cut out and sewn in place by hand as a couture finish.
There is also a picture of gorgeous Wendy , in a similar outfit , ready for an International Womens Day do .
One last thing for march which I am proud of , was this article in the Edinburgh Evening news
here it is , its a great big full page full colour spread about the sustainable fashion show , and has no less than 4 of my pictures on it ! delighted wasn't the word . coverage like that is rarer than hens teeth lol.
April saw the start of a new adventure for me , which was hosting a pop up in the iconic Avalanche records store in Waverly Mall, which I still do . you can buy fab t shirts there as well as all sorts of vinyl , jewellery and art works by Gerry Gapinsky. I have one rail , with a collection of recycled , upcycled and second hand garments ..... all in the realm of sustainability which is becoming a theme in my work.
May was a relatively quiet month for me , so I concentrated on making stock for the upcoming busy summer season. I've selected this skirt to show you , as , made of linen its slightly different from the wool I usually work with , and I thought it had a good effect , as well as being a plus size item , which is sadly often neglected in designer collections. All 3 sold very quickly so I think it was a good idea to continue to include plus size in the rail stock. obviously , I offer made to measure for any size .
I'm leaving it there for now , and will do June to December in my next post
I hope you have enjoyed looking back over the months with me.
Much is being said about the fashion industry and it's massive polluting effect on our environment . Coupled with the knowledge that some of the poorest and most vulnerable people in the world are exploited , underpaid and even forced into labour in order to create the fast fashion fix we have come to expect in our shops .Collectively , we seem to have an enormous problem on our hands .
The big producers and sellers have been slow to react , or seem to pay ' lip service ' only to the problem with half hearted efforts such as small ranges of clothing made from organic cotton , or using a percentage of recycled fabric etc. It can seem that they are simply jumping on a bandwagon and that all this concern about the environment will pass and is a fleeting concern.
These 2 pictures are of Shaolei in 1993. in both she wears items from a very successful 100 % recycled and overdyed range , with which I opened my first shop.
Here is Shaolei again , wearing a costume I designed 100% recycled for a fashion show at St. Andrews university, back in the 90s
This was a costume I designed for Glinda the Good witch, form The Wizard of Oz ,a project by Nicola Keegan MUA , photo by Steve Allen . This was again 100% recycled
This costume was for 'Venus' a project by Duncan Holmes photography
As designer I have always tried to reuse fabrics , and make my impact on the environment a small as possible. I search for remnants , remake old clothes , upcycle , and use Scottish and British fabrics as much as I am able.
This recycled outfit was part of my collection for Nightwalk in 2013
I often I make one off costumes and show pieces from recycled items , To draw attention to the subject.
more recently a collection for R Sustainable social enterprise 2019
As a consumer of fashion we might feel that our small contribution may be lost or unimportant in the greater scheme of things, and it feels as though our voices are unheard, but the truth is that collectively our spending power makes us heard.
Consider how things have changed in our lifetime in supermarket shopping , all the things that are available now that were not , 10, 20 , 30 years ago and longer. The big players in the market bow to consumer demand.. The same consumer demand that is fuelling fast fashion and ultimately the destruction of the planet. If enough of us change our habits then the sellers will have to also to cater for our demands.
We can make a start.
here's a few suggestions
1 / make your clothes last longer. you can do this easily .. Use the tumble dryer less, mend small holes before they get bigger , re- sew on buttons etc
2/ buy better quality clothes that last longer anyway. just a few pounds more can be the difference between a piece of junk that will look good for a few wears and a better quality piece that might last a few years.
3/ Buy second hand. as we all know there is a wealth of second hand and vintage pieces which cost next to nothing. Make a point of trying to find what you need second hand before you go and buy a new one. you might just save yourself a small fortune into the bargain.
4/ Alter to fit . have adjustments made to second hand stuff , as well as those items lurking in the back of your wardrobe that just don't fit properly.
5/ Consider a wardrobe remake. You probably have a few items , at least, kicking around that you have because you like the fabric , or they have sentimental value. Here in the shop , I can transform them into new garments , breathing new life into them or recreating them all together.
6/ When you buy new , chose smaller local makers who are making less of an impact on the environment with their practices. Locally sourced fabrics such as Scottish wool , and recycled fibres. Expect to pay a little more but remember you will get much more use out of them , as well as supporting the local economy.
I have a facebok group called 'Sustainable clothing for everyone ' and I invite you to join. here is the link. The idea of the group is to share our experiences around the subject and keep it accessible for literally everyone. so you dont need to feel daft if you have a question , or to share a simple sewing technique , or a great charity shop look you found. Myself and other businesses share our goods and services to it , so you can find new ways to shop.
I will be making a lot of new recycled projects very soon. this is an example of garments I currently sell in my shop
A few months ago I was delighted to be asked by the amazing Kobe Fashion Museum in Japan to take part in an exhibition they were putting together about the history of tartan , and its modern use.
My work was to feature as one of only 6 current fashion designers selected , as an example of how we wear and use the fabric now.
I was greatly honoured to be asked to take part.
Here is a picture of the amazing Kobe Museum , which looks like the star ship enterprise ( Another bonus as I am a bit of a Trekky )
I was asked to create 2 unique outfits , and given free reign of the colours and details. I was also asked to write a short piece for the catalogue , which would describe my work , my personal journey in fashion and how my work now fits in with the use of tartan.
Here is the page of the catalogue which features my work
As you can see, its in Japanese ! so here is the translation
Psychomoda , which means ' Crazy fashion ' is located in the heart of Edinburghs historic old town, an area , steeped in Scottish history and Culture.
On the premises I designs and create couture garments for women of all ages, with a distinct British and Scottish influence. As well as a ready to wear selection.
Tartan , and other traditional fabrics feature prominently . The designs however are a break with tradition.
Fabrics , colours and patterns are combined in an striking way to create an adventurous and bold look. New , old , recycled and modern fabrics are thrown together in a bright display of colour , pattern and texture.
The traditional use of Tartan in Scotland is that each family , or Clan as they are known, has their own pattern , and should wear only that design. However, more frequently now , people chose which one they prefer, breaking with that system . Also , now tartans are designed and created for other groups. Sports teams for instance , or geographical
It is available in a massive variety of patterns and colours and lends itself to experimentation in cutting and folding, creating striking effects and combinations, juxtaposed with other fabrics.
My use of tartan in this way originates in the punk youth culture era during which I grew up . This culture instigated a creative revolution in The UK, as young people questioned the often unfair traditional class system and its constricting expectations.
As with all youth cultures , a favoured way of dressing emerged , and tartan featured heavily within that framework.
Breaking with tradition and its sometimes restrictive values is an important feature of my work. By mixing tartans with each other , Chopped up and pared down it becomes re invented through new connections. Cultures combine . and discourse is created .
Fashion , is an expression of culture , and a statement about ones own position within it. My own culture is varied and expressive, and I design to empower the wearer and hope to inspire boldness and confidence.
For these two outfits , I have specifically chosen new and modern tartan fabrics. They are both named after Islands , geographical areas , and not specific to Clan names. As such , they are not associated with the historical dogma of Clan identity or ownership.
The pink is called 'Discover Islay ' , it is woven in only 1 mill situated on the Isle of Islay , and was designed to display the beautiful colours of the landscape of the island.. I have coupled this with a modern pink Harris Tweed, woven on the Isle of Harris exclusively , and green velvet.
The second outfit is ' Isle of Skye ' Also designed to show the colours of the flora of that island. This has been woven on mainland Scotland at a mill in the highlands , and I have also used green tweed and purple velvet to accent those beautiful colours.
For the future , I foresee myself continuing down my exploratory fashion route, providing unexpected clothing for adventurous people. It is a great honour to be included in this exhibition and that my work is considered culturally relevant. Thank you for reading.
Here is a snapshot of the garments that I took instore before posting them off, as you can see I have embellished them with hand worked beading in a thistle and heather design to work with the origins of the fabric.
I am very excited that the exhibition is touring Japan , making a least 3 more stops over a 2 year period.
If you are over there , pop in and have a look !
Here are the garments as they will appear in the exhibit
Capes April 16 2018, 11 Comments
For a good while now I've been into capes .
They're something I've allways liked personally and seem to have passed into the realm of fashion classic . Worn with jeans and boots for example they are the epitome of casual chic.
I was spurred on to make some by the chance find of a couple of vintage beauts . A little cleaning and loving care was all that was needed to restore these gorgeous pieces to life.
The tartan one was so popular on face book it sold in 10 minutes and never made the website ! The classic 60s style black and white one is still available in store and on The website as we speak.
I found a beautiful wool tartan blanket and recycled it into this cape which is my own design . I was particularly interested in creating a wearable hood . (I'm allways dissapointed with hoods that don't function on a garment. ) the design is very full and swingy , being almost a full circle . It doesn't need arm slits as it is roomy and stops just above the hands . This one also sold immediately !
I've also sourced the most adorable print cotton blend vintage style linings. When you move your arms , people get a glimpse of it.
I've finished it with a lovely metal clasp.
This seafoam coloured cape is made from vintage wool fabric that I dyed myself.
There's going to be a lot more. . So keep your eyes peeled ❤
Up till a couple of years ago, I sold nothing but made on the premises items in the shop, this was my original concept and was possible for many years because I had 2 lovely assistants , one after the other for a total of almost 20 years.
Here , model Shaolei is wearing a recycled dress in the grunge stye which was popular when I first opened 26 years ago
Both were fully trained designer dressmakers , and together we were able to stock the store and undertake all sorts of couture appointments. We did a thousands of prom dresses , wedding dresses and other special occasion wear. I thoroughly enjoyed those years and the fast paced , deadline driven environment .
Here is a couture silk evening gown created exclusively for the customer .
Here are two couture wedding dresses , two of many I have designed and made
Time moves on and my assistants have left to pursue family life , I decided a change was needed. I decided I no longer wanted to employ an assistant and would go it alone.
But how was I to manage the shop and create enough stock to fill it all the time. ?
I've tried a few different ideas over the last 3 years . At first I tried to keep it all the same. It soon became apparent I could not manage it all alone , I had no time to design for the rails due to the constant demand for couture . Something had to give . I found that couture wedding gowns and prom dresses , although very rewarding in their own right were not giving me enough creative scope so I decided to cut back on the amount of commissions undertook .
To replace this , I started having dresses made abroad and selling those. After a while I decided this was also not for me , as I didn't have enough control over the finished product.
An example of the dresses I was having made abroad.
I started selling vintage and second hand items. I have always loved and worn second hand so I feel I have a good eye for it. Here is an example of a beautiful 80s dress , in store as I write this blog .
This has been a popular service , and has introduced loads of new customers who are specifically looking for that .
I have also re introduced knitwear . I love making knitwear but had no time for a lot of years .
An example of knitwear currently available .
Recently I have also created a line of soaps. Which is an interest I have had for a while .
Altogether , along with my sewn designs , I am aiming to create more of a mixed boutique experience for my customers . I have realised that I can create a more varied walk in experience and be a designer within that environment .
Two examples of my creative work
Selling other things has liberated me as a designer. I feel that now I can return to my passion for developing my exclusive design lead look , whether you have that off the rails ready to wear , or designed and created specially for you .
I am also able to start wholesaling to selected stores around the country , which is a long held ambition of mine.
Wholesaling in Maggi and Suzi Boutique , Inverness
I feel the future direction of the shop is starting to emerge , and my stores identity crisis is coming to an end 😁
Thank you for reading. If you liked my blog please consider leaving a like or comment , or share it for me . It all helps support my business, and I appreciate it ❤
Soap story March 29 2018, 4 Comments
Late last year I took a fancy for creating some soap. It started as a little niggle in my brain when I was at a craft event and I saw that other people had made them. I was a bit intrigued . I saw a lot if beautiful shaped soaps , and attractive designs of things like cupcakes and floral shapes etc.
I thought I would like to have a go. I had no idea what my own soaps would look or smell like but I decided to try and go down a natural path , concentrating on essential oils and natural flowers and spices. This one is called 'Rock the Kasbah '. Named after a favourite song by The Clash . It reminded me of visiting the market in Istanbul many years ago with all its exotic and wonderful aromas . I've used tumeric , honey , lavender , and ginger to recreate that experience.
I started experimenting . My biggest problem was simply not knowing a single thing about it. I had to start from scratch. This was refreshing for me in a way because with the sewing and knitting I rarely , if ever don't know how to proceed 😁 it was a steep learning curve. I've never done anything even vaguely sciency before , and working out accurate measures to fractions of a gram , and calculating the percentages of allergens etc was all challenging to me. At times I thought I would not be able to do it , but I pressed on. Learning as I went.
I soon realised that even if I only were to give the soaps away to friends and not sell them , that I needed to cough up the money for a cosmetic safety assessment if I were to carry on. So I saved up ( it's expensive ) narrowed down my ideas to 8 products ( the assessment package I opted for , you could get 8 done at once ) and had them assessed.
I've designed my soaps specifically to be genderless , and I feel they would be liked by everyone . At first , my husband thought I had just gone a bit daft , but now he uses them all the time. Especially the patchouli based products.
I've used classic scents such as patchouli and lavender but added depth and interest with things like ginger and lime , and unexpected elements such as golden syrup , tumeric and honey . They're strongly scented and have usual elements. I have not used any synthetic scents , or 'parfum ' as it is labelled. This one is scented and coloured only with Patchouli , mixed spices and muscovado sugar.
I'm pleased with the results. It's been a very interesting journey for me, a hobby with the added bonus that people seem to like them and buy them too .
The emphasis is the scent and so I kept the bar in a traditional easy to use shape. I want people to actually use them and not leave them lying around looking pretty.
When you open the wrapping the aromatic scent explodes. The whole bathroom smells beautiful 😀
My hope is that once this collection has paid for itself , I will introduce a range of moisturizing cream. I've so many ideas .....
This one is Gin and Tonic , and that's exactly how it smells. 'Wow ' is the first reaction people give when they sniff it 😁
Fashion Able , was an event to celebrate diversity and promote body positive ideals as well as fair trade and local business.
some of my girls dressed and ready , picture by Wullie Marr . Models , from left to right , Toyra , Daniella , Ira , Stacy . With Gail centre.
Gail, and Louise. Louise wore one of my corset and skirt sets that I made for her previously .
I was lucky enough to be one of the featured designers. The show was fantastic , very well attended and had a real buzz about it. All of the collections were lovely , and I wa also very happy with the way mine was presented. Lovely Louise , opened the event with a foot stomping hand clapping rousing rendition of 'Scotland the brave ' on her bagpipes which made everyone smile and set the atmosphere with a bang. Gail Porter , as compare was both charming and funny , so with the introduction out of the way , my set was on first.
Vaya wears , sequin long top from my vintage and second hand range , size 10 £10 , soft waistband tartan mix asymetric skirt , £45 long metallic leopard print red scarf £10 petticoat , original 50s vintage from my own personal collection and not for sale.
Torya wears , Wool mix skirt with fitted waist £85 , vintage skirt worn as underskirt £10 , waistcoat £75 , quality second hand chiffon leopard blouse size 16 £7
Stacy wears boned laced bodice with velvet and tartan and lace trim £135, fitted wool mix tartan and velvet fitted waist skirt with recycled velvet underskirt £135, leopard print leggings £10
Raygan wears , leopard print vintage blouse size 16 £10 , and soft waist asymetric skirt with velvet , tartan and lace £50
Olga wears tweed , tartan and lace boned bodice with embroidery birds and flowers , £150 , matching recycled tafetta and black lace overlay soft waistband skirt £85
Ira wears Soft waistband tartan and tweed mix skirt £45 , tafetta skirt worn as underskirt , £10 and stretch leopard dress tied at waist , both from my quality second hand collection £10 each
Heather wears Tartan and tweed soft waistband skirt £45 with vintage brooch ,£10 ,skirt worn as underskirt , and chiffon leopard blouse both from my quality second hand range £10 each.
Ella wears Baby moda , size 4 years form a selection available , 6 months to 4 years £15
Daniella wears tartan and pinstripe set with boned laced back bodice , fitted waist and hand made leaf motif £300
Daniella wears above set, with knitted drape neck poncho , £45
Cindy wears tartan dress with black tulle overlay and beaded embroidery £225
various ponchos and wraps modelled by
Hayley Thomson , Joy Munro , Nicola Stieger , and Stefany Bellomo
All these garments have been hand made in my Edinburgh store , they can be altered to fit or made to measure for you. As you can see, they look great on all figures and sizes . I have allways designed for all shapes and sizes and will continue to do so . You can be sure your Psychomoda garment will fit and flatter you perfectly
Models full names are ;
Heather Dimarco , Vaya Apostulara ,Daniela Margiotta , Ira Getmar ( @iraofficial )
Cindy Sanders , Victoria Hughs ( @toryawinters ) Raygan Bold. Stacy Paris , Olga Arren.
Ladies , we applaud you :-) :-) :-)
Pictures by Wullie Marr @deadlinenews
If you have read this blog, firstly , thank you for doing that , it makes me happy , and secondly , please click on the like button , so i can see how many readers I have !
So today was the day of the Fashion Able fashion show at Waverly Station, a fair trade , body positive event celebrating diversity in fashion and clothing. I was very happy to take part.
When I first arrived , models were getting their hair and make up done and the finishing touches were being added to the catwalk , and seating. I spied Ms Gail Porter peeping around the corner of the changing tents and just went over to introduce myself. Gail turned out to be a lovely lady and we had a nice chat . she popped backstage to see my
outfits. I asked her for a selfie , and she obliged .
I set up my rail with the outfits I had selected and the girls started coming up for their fittings. the press photographer Wullie Marr arrived , and I had arranged with him to have some girls ready for a little shoot . so the first 4 girls to be ready went off with him to get their pictures taken
Here are Toyra , Daniella and Ira.
Time passed very quickly and it got really busy backstage. My set was on first as they are a bit more complex to put on and take a little time, so I had just about enough time to get them all ready , then we all went and waited in the tunnel for the show to begin. This is allways one of my gavourite times in an event , everyone is excited and a little nervous , but all looking fab and ready to go !
Heather and her adorable daughter Ella, who was a little shy to start with but was delighted with her Baby Moda dress , which I let her keep.
last minute make up touch up for Olga and Stacy
of course , selfies are a must !
Here's another one of me with everyone,s favourite Girly piper , Louise Marshall , what a
total babe she is X
everyone excited , waiting inline.
Vaya dressed and ready ,
Raygan , ready to go on Olga , rocking her lace look
Lou and Gail
everyone is ready and its show time !
Ill blog the show separately
If you enjoyed this blog , please click like, so I know how many readers I have. x
Whenever I have a fashion show to participate in , I'm excited, but nervous. Watching fashion shows when I was a kid always had me on the edge of my seat, and even now I love them so much. Taking part in one as is really the fun side of being a designer.
When I first started up there weren't any to take part in and I had to run them myself if I wanted to show . It's very complicated with a lot of elements to coordinate together and I found the time I had to spend managing the events incondusive to the creativity needed to actually make the clothes. The clothes always seemed to come second place and I was never really happy with my collections .
Fast forward a few years and now I only participate in events that someone else has put together, usually charity events , there are quite a few to chose from but I don't find I can't do them all.
Recently my eye was caught by 'Fashion Able' , a show which started only last year and takes place in Waverly train station of all places ! It's a body positive event, inclusive and fair trade, which are all hot topics right now.
The aim of this show is to include people of all sizes ages and abilities in the world of fashion to encourage body positivity. It's right up my street .
On the rails of my shop I have all sorts of sizes of clothing and I alter to fit on demand. It was therefore less work for me to dress the diverse models than it usually is to put together a collection if size 8s for professional models.
I'm really happy with my collection which came together almost entirely from the rails today, with only a few items having to be made specifically, which were mostly recycled underskirts just to give the outfits an extra element.
I've also incorporated a vintage and second hand elements for the first time.
The story I have put together is Tartan and Leopard. Here are a few of the outfits as a sneak preview .....
I love shopping for vintage items to sell in the shop, digging and delving in amongst all the stuff , searching for that certain something that sets a garment aside from the others, that I can offer to you at a reasonable price, Its a process that can take hours , and I can spend whole days rummaging for them ! I know all the best places, and have it down to an art form !
Here's a picture of me in a 80's jacket I have taken a fancy to !
Some of the vintage I buy is from here in Scotland, but a lot of it comes fro Amsterdam, where they have a lively second hand clothes scene on a scale unparalleled her in the UK. I also find that they have a different selection than we find here, a quirky style, and that often the clothes have been made with lasting quality in mind, as opposed to our own 'throw away' fashion culture.
This original 1960's dress came from Amsterdam
There are many reasons to buy used clothing. , Environmental issues, caring about the working conditions abroad, are of course of utmost importance, and on an individual level, standing out from the crowd, vintage trends or simply looking for good quality at a reasonable price are all interesting and valid points.
When I search through all the piles of stuff for you, I like to think I am providing a service, I am spending my time doing that , so you dont have to ! I pre -select individual items that catch my eye for one reason or another. I like to think that every item I offer has something going for it. I dont just pick up pre- packed bags, or buy by the kilo, which would inevitably lead to me acquiring a load of junk along with a few decent items, therefore, I am never needing to try and sell rubbish to you and trying to pass it off as good.
Beautiful Quality, or Quirky style, all catches my eye, this jacket has both !
When selecting , I have to think of everyone, you cant go looking for vintage with much of an idea in mind, its more a case of looking at what is available and visualizing who or when it would be worn. I try to keep all you ladies in mind, young and mature, slim and plus.
These pictures were taken on a recent shoot, with a mix of 80's 60's and 70's items
Sometimes a batch of vintage might become available in one particular style , for instance, a batch of 1960's dresses, or a batch of 1980's office wear. this week, I have found a treasure chest of smart coats and jackets, suitable for ladies who want to look smart on a daily basis. sometimes, its glam evening wear. Its all good stuff, and I hope you enjoy it . I will post again about WEARING second hand and vintage in the future, and how it can be accessible to all ages and sizes.
This Quality velvet jacket is from the selection I have just added.