The Scottish Fashion Awards have been the highlight of Scotland’s style calendar for the past seven years. Dubbed “Scotland’s fashion Oscars”, the event has taken place in both Glasgow and Stirling, but this year marks a time of change. Last week it was announced that the Awards would take place outside of Scotland for the first time, in the UK fashion capital of London, at the historic Dover House. Awards founder Tessa Hartmann, who is also the founder of PR firm Hartmann Media, explains the transition to Scotcampus – and shares a red carpet secret or two…
You’ve moved the Scottish Fashion Awards from Glasgow to London this year; why did you decide to take them out of Scotland?
Essentially we had no choice. People need to remember this is a privately funded event; we have raised the capital to put this event on for seven years, 97% of that is from private sector, with minimal contribution from the public sector, i.e. Scottish Government/local councils. We have created what is now perceived as a credible, global event, shining a light on the fashion talent, creative and textile/manufacturing talent hailing from Scotland. Given the size of the event and the fact that it costs some £500k to produce, we felt that the local councils and Scottish Government should be investing more to support the event, and hence the industry. After months and months of negotiation that was not possible, which is very sad. We even tried the City of Aberdeen, and had Donald Trump sponsor our marquee and all private sector sponsorship in place, including airline, hotels, cars, hair, make-up, etc.
For me it’s about much more than simply lack of support for a fashion event. It’s about acknowledging the importance of the fashion and textile market in Scotland on the business landscape. As a sector, fashion contributes £20 billion to the UK economy each year, not to mention the ancillary businesses that benefit from the sector. Apart from that, fashion is perceived as a barometer of cultural style; it’s an identity maker and there is no better time to support Scottish talent than now, when so many of our designers are leading the way on the global catwalks, and our fabrics and textiles have been used more in the last twelve months by luxury fashion houses than in any other year.
When you have Victoria Beckham, Chanel, Moncler Gamme, Stella McCartney and countless others using our fabrics, and Moschino being inspired by our heritage, it’s time to shout about it – scream about it, even! If Scotland won’t support this event, then we will simply make sure it keeps going for the sake of the talent, hence the move to London. The Secretary of State, Michael Moore MP, has agreed to give us Dover House and co-host the event, with no outlay to the public purse. We are funding this event and we’ve had an enormous response since the new broke. I am indeed very grateful to the Secretary of State for his valuable support. So as sad as it is on one side, the talent/nominees will have an enormous opportunity to meet and network in the UK’s fashion capital with buyers, industry players and media, and that’s what this is all about. Vive L’Ecosse!
What will the next few months leading up to the awards entail for Hartmann Media?
It’s always crazy, but good crazy. Our new site has launched and we will be full steam ahead on the production planning for this year. Given it’s at Dover House it will be a simple, relaxed awards presentation, but afterwards we will head off to a Gala Dinner to celebrate the winners, which will be great fun. In this line of business, sleep is secondary!
The awards are now in their eighth year; what has been your stand-out moment from all the ceremonies so far?
Gosh, so many. I absolutely loved the way Dame Shirley Bassey rocked up the red carpet in her Graeme Black tartan gown and literally owned it. Everyone else became insignificant when she was on there, which was wonderful to watch. I also loved that Samantha Cameron supported us and wore Christopher Kane, and for me last year was a pretty biggie, with Stella Tennant receiving the Hall of Fame award. She’s an inspirational figure, and has become a huge supporter of ours now, and is working with us again on this year’s event. To have global fashion Scots like Stella, Colin McDowell MBD and Rankin want to do more, yet struggle to explain the objectives to your local and national government, can be quite frustrating at times.
Can we expect any extra special guests this year?
Our judging panel and nominee list are our special guests – you can’t really get any bigger or more fashionable Scots. Laura Whitmore is presenting and she’s fabulous. She has done it for several years for us and has a wonderful knack of engaging the audience in a way that few others can. Added to that, she nails the red carpet, so she’s great.
What’s the one thing guaranteed to give you confidence on the red carpet?
Well confidence should come from the soul and not the garment. If you’re feeling good about yourself on the inside then it really doesn’t matter what you wear. However, for fever factor, throw in a bit of Holly Fulton, Louise Gray or one of the amazing young Scottish designer nominees like Obscure Couture or Jacob Birge, then I would say you’re onto a winner! Lastly, it’s all about fun and enjoyment. Once you are on the red carpet then for goodness sake crack a smile – after all, you are indeed on the red carpet!
Describe the Scottish fashion scene today in five words…
Encyclopaedic, buoyant, diverse, beguiling, meritorious.
The Scottish Fashion Awards take place on 9th October 2013. For more information and the full list of nominees visit www.scottishfashionawards.com.