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Getting creative with Scottish icons

Press Release   •   Feb 26, 2018 13:00 GMT

The 'legends' at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery. Photo credit: Laura Meek

Some of Scotland’s greatest cultural icons of the past 700 years were given a fashion makeover at an event to celebrate the strength and depth of the country’s creative and textile sector.

Creative Legends, the first event inspired by VisitScotland Business Events’ campaign Legends, revealed 12 outfits created by up-and-coming fashion designers from Edinburgh College, in collaboration with Edinburgh-based Stewart Christie & Co – Scotland’s oldest bespoke tailor.

William Wallace, Arthur Conan Doyle, Flora MacDonald and cancer support charity, Maggie’s, were among the Scottish legends recreated in new garments displayed at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh on Friday (23 February).

The famous figures were chosen to reflect Scotland’s achievements in areas such as education, arts, literature, medicine and politics.

The exclusive invitation-only event, which also raised funds for Maggie’s, heard from speakers in the creative, education and business sectors. Footage from the event and a case study will feature in next month’s Creative theme in the Legends campaign.

The digital campaign – the first of its kind – showcases Scotland’s legacy of invention, research and knowledge through its current experts and influencers, to the associations and wider Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions (MICE) market, in a bid to encourage more organisations to choose Scotland to stage business events.

Launched in November, the two-year campaign uses the hashtag #ideasbecomelegend and focuses on a specific theme every two months, sharing original content, including blogs and video podcasts from leaders in their field. Past themes focused on Technology and Education.

Fiona MacKinnon, Assistant Business Events Manager at VisitScotland, said:

“It seems appropriate that just as Scotland has a proud legacy of innovation, the creative sector takes such an innovative approach to highlighting the country’s achievements in arts, science and politics through some of its most prominent figures.

“Legends provides a strong platform for the industry and demonstrates the importance of business events to innovation, research and Scottish tourism.

“We were delighted to collaborate with Stewart Christie & Co and the other partners in producing Creative Legends, celebrating our heritage in such a unique way whilst giving the next generation of designers a chance to shine.”

Vixy Rae, Creative Director of Stewart Christie & Co, said:

“It has been such a wonderful opportunity to bring together so many creative ideas and so many talented individuals for this special evening with VisitScotland.

“We are celebrating both the heritage of craftsmanship, and the innovation of creative talent from Stewart Christie and from the Edinburgh College.

“The collaboration with the Edinburgh College has been something which Stewart Christie are extremely proud to be involved in. We realise there needs to be support from the business sector to inspire young people in their studies. We feel it is important to have their work recognised and appreciated from an outside perspective too.

“The Creative Legends event brings together so many different aspects of tailoring and garment making, giving a historical reference point to all the ideas and mixing them with a modern twist.

“Having William Grant & Sons sponsor the event brings an extra dimension to the evening, stimulating the real wealth of Scottish heritage and taste.”

Neil Manning, Curriculum Manager for Art and Design at Edinburgh College, said:

"Our students thrive when they're given the opportunity to create and test their skills in the real world, and this is so crucial in preparing them to become the next generation of professionals.

"This project has been exceptional, connecting the historical expertise from Stewart Christie & Co. with the creative new blood at Edinburgh College. Working with a traditional bespoke tailor has really challenged our students and they've all developed their skills and knowledge enormously. The link to some of Scotland's great figures has also been a great way to spark their creativity and they've come up with some stunning designs they should be very proud of."

Laura Lee, Maggie’s Chief Executive, said:

“Everyone at Maggie’s is proud of our Scottish heritage, and as Scotland has produced a huge number of innovators and inventors I feel it is right that Maggie’s, an organisation that has pioneered a different kind of cancer support, is honoured amongst them in such a creative way.

“From our first Centre in Edinburgh we have grown into a network of 22 cancer centres including eight in Scotland, where thousands of people visit every year to make the most of our essential support at what is possibly the hardest time of their lives.

“Support which we provide through the generosity of voluntary donations so we are also incredibly grateful to have been selected as beneficiaries of the special event at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery.”

Neil Barker, Managing Director of William Grant & Sons UK, said:

“We are passionate about celebrating and supporting the independent spirit of those who match William Grant’s experimental and ambitious creativity, so we couldn’t be prouder to sponsor the Creative Legends event.

“Everyone at William Grant & Sons, which remains family-owned to this day, continues to be inspired by William Grant’s vision to make the ‘best dram in the valley’. 130 years later, his vision and legacy to drive progress the right way, without any shortcuts, continues to motivate us all. William would have been honoured to be part of this event, shoulder to shoulder with Scotland’s greats.”

Event partners were VisitScotland, Stewart Christie & Co, The Incorporation of Edinburgh Tailors, Edinburgh College, William Grant & Sons UK and Maggie’s.

The full list of Scottish icons recreated at Creative Events were:

  • Robert Burns
  • Sir Walter Scott
  • William Wallace
  • Andrew Carnegie
  • Arthur Conan Doyle
  • Charlies Rennie Mackintosh
  • William Grant
  • Tam O’ Shanter
  • Flora MacDonald
  • Elsie Ingles
  • Mary Queen of Scots
  • Maggie’s

For more on Legends go to:


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2018 Year of Young People

  • The Year of Young People 2018 will be the next of the Scottish Government’s series of themed years, following the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology 2017.
  • The Year of Young People (YoYP 2018) will inspire Scotland through its young people aged 8 to 26, celebrating their achievements, valuing their contributions to communities and creating new opportunities for them to shine locally, nationally and globally
  • Central to YoYP 2018 will be a celebratory events programme that puts young people at the heart of its development and delivery, creating new and valuable experiences for young Scots and the wider public, with links to the inaugural 2018 European Championships.
  • Over 200 young people throughout Scotland are currently being recruited to become YoYP 2018 Ambassadors. Ambassadors will ensure that people and organisations in their communities know about what’s happening and will lead on projects and activities to create events and opportunities to celebrate young people.
  • The Year of Young People will have six themes which were developed in co-production with young people themselves:
  • oParticipation – looking at how young people can influence public services and decisions which affect their lives
  • oEducation – creating a stronger role for young people in shaping their learning
  • oHealth and Wellbeing – supporting young people to lead healthier, active lives and have opportunities to learn about and improve their mental health and resilience
  • oEquality and Discrimination – broadcasting the value of young Scots, challenging negative perceptions of young people, and supporting young people to take leading roles in challenging discrimination in all its forms.
  • oEnterprise and regeneration – celebrating young people’s role in innovation, entrepreneurship and the Scottish economy as well as making Scotland a greener and more pleasant place to live
  • oCulture – celebrating young people’s talent and contribution to Scottish culture and arts.
  • Further information on what’s happening and how people can get involved can be found on the new website or @YOYP2018 on Twitter.