Independent Fashion Label Rowan Joy

Feature by Kirsty Franey | 15 Feb 2006

Magicians, geeks and NHS glasses are just a few of the inspirational ideas that have helped up and coming fashion designer Rowan McIntosh to create her unique and quirky label 'Rowan Joy'.

Since graduating from the Edinburgh Collage of Art, where she presented Edinburgh's public with a vibrant and dazzling collection encrusted with sparkles and sequins, Rowan has successfully made her mark on the Scottish fashion scene.

The label has been up and running for the past two years, and has gathered quite a following. Rowan has spent time developing her own way of working and by designing each piece as a continuation of the last, she allows herself to look in-depth at the shapes and silhouettes she is creating.

"I prefer to work on a tailor's dummy," Rowan explains. "It gives me the freedom to drape large quantities of fabric and experiment with form."

Rowan is part of the design team Godiva, which has helped shape her alluring and instantly recognisable fashion concepts. The Edinburgh-based collective is mainly inspired by vintage styles and fabrics, and Rowan has used this as a platform for her whole fashion outlook.

As different combinations of vintage cloths and modern fabric are moulded and manipulated, Rowan's ideas take on a new lease of life. The result is a mixture of incredible textures and prints that combine to make intricate one-off pieces. At the recent Rouge Fashion Show, aimed at raising money for the charity organisation Medecins San Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders), Rowan presented work that fused elegant flowing silks, large bold floral prints and delicate cashmere, carefully pieced together to create complex dresses with vintage brocade details.

The feedback from this show was overwhelming, and as enthusiasm gathers for the label new opportunities start to emerge. Rowan often works with the model agency 'Stolen' and in the past has produced stunning collections for their catwalk shows and fashion shoots. Yet Rowan is the first to admit that times can be tough for a fashion designer in Edinburgh.

"It's hard for young designers in Scotland; they don't seem to get the chances to show their work in the right places and to the right people."

With this in mind Rowan has collaborated with fellow illustrators, fine artists and sculptors to create a fashion show with a difference; a catwalk extravaganza that captures all aspects of Scotland's art and design world. She hopes to develop an exhibition space overflowing with installations, illustrations and sculpture, and by adding a runway she will turn it into an interactive space that also presents the best from local fashion designers.

Ultimately Rowan hopes her label will be stocked internationally, and with her determination to keep Scotland as her home and H.Q. she admits this won't be easy. However, with her pioneering attitude and unique collections she has already won the respect of the Edinburgh critics, so why not the rest of world?

Rowan Joy McIntosh