Dundee the source of inspiration for talented Gray’s fashion student

An aspiring young fashion designer from Robert Gordon University’s (RGU) Gray’s School of Art is making waves with her edgy clothing range, inspired by the city of Dundee and the Mid Craigie estate where she grew up.

Tilly LongworthTilly Longworth (23) left Braeview Academy at 15 to pursue her creative dream which had been sparked by her uncle, Stephen Bird, a local artist and ceramicist.

After two years studying art and design at Dundee College and another two years studying textiles, Tilly applied for Gray’s School of Art, where she is now in her final year of the Fashion and Textiles Degree.

In her 3rd year, Tilly was awarded the Cross Trust Scholarship, a charitable body which gives grants to young Scots who are of merit.

With the grant, Tilly undertook a research project in London and began looking into the grime subculture and the fashion being worn by local youths and decided to develop her own brand, playing with some of the big design names and putting her own Scottish twist on them.

Some of her designs focus on well-known names within Dundee, such as the ‘Evening Tullygraph’ and ‘Tilly Whizz’, a play on the local paper and the Beano’s Billy Whizz – a character created by her cartoonist Uncle Vic Neill.

Tilly’s designs, which are already proving popular and being sold through her Instagram page, will get the first public viewing at the Gray’s Interim Exhibition, which opens on Thursday, February 8.

“Growing up I was always in the studio with my uncle and that’s where I think I got the inspiration to go into fashion and textiles,” Tilly said.

“My brand idea came last summer when I was in London, I started looking at estates and the people who live on them. I looked into the London grime scene, because this is what everyone was listening to and the musicians fashion was hugely popular.

“I then thought that I could do this, but with a Dundee twist. I went round different estates in my area and took inspiration from landmarks and the street and youth culture which is so abundant in my area and used this to create my range of clothing.”

Tilly is now looking ahead to life after graduation and is hoping to expand her range of locally inspired clothing and secure a studio space in her hometown.

“Ideally I would like to get myself a space in the WASPS studio, where I can get access to all the kit I need. I’m also looking to explore new ideas and maybe focus on other cities in Scotland, like Glasgow, where there will be different and interesting local cultures to get creative with.”

Josie Steed, Course leader for Fashion & Textile Design, commented: “It’s so exciting to see Tilly now developing her brand and gaining so much external interest already.

“Through the course our students are able to develop their skills not only within design for fashion and textile products but also to promote and market themselves and it’s great to see them launching their professional careers even before they’ve graduated. Tilly is certainly one to watch!”

The Gray’s School of Art Interim Exhibition will take place from Thursday, February 8, until Friday, February 15 at the Garthdee Campus.


Release by Rob Smith
Communications Officer
Press and Media Enquiries

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