Kate’s grand designs on getting green clothing onto high street

An Edinburgh College of Art graduate has won the Debenhams Emerging Talent Award and will release her debut collection with the retail giant this season.

Tuesday, 27th August 2019, 6:41 am

Kate MacMahon, 23, who ­graduated in July last year, is currently working as an assistant designer for the fashion house.

She said: “I can’t really believe it, I’m so grateful and can’t believe my designs will be available with such a huge store – I grew up going ­shopping in Debenhams and it all feels quite surreal.

“The college has been really ­supportive since I graduated and I am still in touch with my tutor Mal ­Burkinshaw, they all support my stuff on Instagram, which I appreciate.”

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Kate’s stunning designs have been inspired by her Scottish heritage and her time studying in Edinburgh.

She said: “I began with the idea of preserving elements of Scottish history such as the Guernsey jumper and this evolved to key pieces which ­people keep throughout their lives and reinventing them in a new way”.

This will be Debenhams’ first ­sustainable clothing collection and it sees each item constructed with a minimum of 50 per cent sustainable fibres, which include organic cotton, recycled wool mix, Lenzing and recycled plastic bottles.

The new graduate said: “I knew I wanted the focus of the collection to be on using fabrics that are more kind to the environment and this concept naturally evolved.

“I’ve made each piece of the collection to the highest ethical and environmental standard as it possibly can be from the very start of the process through to the end product.”

Key pieces from the collection include The Puffer Coat, which is made from recycled plastic bottles, and The T-Shirt, that is 100 per cent organic cotton, using less water than conventional cotton but still offering good value for money priced at £18.

Kate said: “My favourite piece is the boiler suit, you can take it and style it the way you want, it’s a bit more of a fashion piece and I really like that.

“I wanted to make sure I make pieces that people would be able to keep forever and were wearable.

“A lot of my digital prints that I used for the collection are very colourful and focused on Scottish wildflowers.

“I noticed there was a real gap in the market for sustainable clothes that used bright colours, so that is something I have tried to develop through my clothing line.”

Mal Burkinshaw, programme director in fashion at Edinburgh College of Art, said: “I am absolutely delighted to see Kate’s accomplishments since graduating in 2018. Kate is a talented and hard-working designer and it is fantastic to see how her work with Debenhams will create a positive impact for the fashion industry.”

SHONA ELLIOTT