For fashion blogger Ruth MacGilp, following your creative passions is crucial.
Ever since she was a young girl, Ruth has channeled her love of fashion into everything she does.
From choosing to study fashion textiles at university and setting up her own fashion blog, to playing a crucial role in the Edinburgh-based Scottish Design Exchange, Ruth has utilised every opportunity to carve out a career in the industry she adores.
Here, Ruth discusses her professional career so far, her zeal for fashion blogging and how the innovative Edinburgh-based Scottish Design Exchange has offered her a myriad of exciting opportunities.
What are you studying at the moment?
Currently I’m studying a BA in Fashion Communication with Heriot Watt University, at the School of Textiles and Design in Galashiels.
Have you always had a love of fashion?
Since I was very young I’ve loved dressing up. For me, fashion is fantasy, it’s all about experimenting with visual identity.
My Grandma was a dressmaker and taught me to sew, and in my teens I became addicted to reading glossy magazines and blogs. Biographies of legendary fashion designers and subscriptions to Vogue were always on my Christmas list!
You’re a fashion blogger yourself, so do you have any tips for those writers just starting out?
Urbanity has been running for a year and a half now, and its been pretty much non-stop. I would advise any new bloggers that if you want to be successful, you truly have to put the hours in.
Other than a few bits of advice, like do a coding course, go to networking events and post regularly on social media, the rest is up to you.
A personal blog is a totally unique entity; choose a niche, stick to your guns and focus on producing quality content.
What do you enjoy about blogging?
I use my blog as a portfolio of sorts. It’s a visual documentation of many different parts of my life and my career. It’s a platform for me to promote what I’m truly passionate about, like supporting local fashion brands and encouraging mental health recovery.
What bloggers have you got your eye on at the moment?
In Edinburgh there is a plethora of amazing bloggers and it’s a really supportive creative community.
Tell us about the Scottish Design Exchange?
The Scottish Design Exchange is a not-for-profit design collective that supports artists and makers living in Scotland. It was founded by Lynzi Leroy last summer and has gone from strength to strength. Our flagship store in Leith is home to over 100 local creatives.
How did you get involved with the Scottish Design Exchange and what makes it so important to the contemporary design scene?
At the start of the year Lynzi hired me to set up the new fashion department at SDX, which opened in February. Now I manage around 30 fashion and accessories designers and take care of the company’s social media.
The Scottish Design Exchange is unique because unlike most boutiques and galleries, we charge zero commission to allow independent fashion designers- who often have a hard time gaining support after graduating from art schools- to keep 100% of their profits.
The Scottish Design Exchange offers designers specialist help with branding and marketing, with potential moves into micro manufacturing in the future.
The vision for SDX is to foster a thriving fashion industry right here in Scotland without the need to rely on imports and exports. It aims to establish a strong circular economy that encourages creativity first and foremost.
What opportunities has the Scottish Design Exchange opened up for you and what can it offer other creatives?
From great networking opportunities and endless blogging inspiration, to being awarded real responsibilities for fair pay (so rare at a young age!), the skills, experience and friendships gained from my work are immeasurable.
For local creatives, we provide a welcoming community and aim to show the public that shopping local is much better for the economy and the environment than high street fast fashion and mass produced design products.
What have been your highlights of working at the Scottish Design Exchange so far?
One of my favourite parts of the job is organising events. The launch party for SDX Loft, our fashion department, was a really proud moment for me. Since then we’ve hosted blogger events, social media workshops, art exhibitions, regular meet-the-makers days and styling events.
What advice would you give to those looking to break into the fashion industry?
Put your self doubt aside and aim high. See rejection as an opportunity for feedback. Don’t let your age, appearance, experience or education set you back or put you back; you’re worthy of success.
Postscript: We’d like to congratulate Ruth on becoming a finalist for the Blogger of the Year category of The Herald Scotland’s Scottish Fashion Awards. We’ll be rooting for you! Don’t forget to check out Ruth’s work on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.