Posted : 2 May 2024

 Europe’s first major exhibition on kimono opens to the public on Saturday 4 May at V&A Dundee.
Kimono: Kyoto to Catwalk presents the kimono as an iconic garment and a dynamic, ever-evolving icon of fashion, tracing the influence of the kimono from 17th century Japan to present-day cutting-edge couture and street fashion across the world.
In the exhibition, rare 17th and 18th century kimono are displayed alongside modern designs from Issey Miyake, Yohji Yamamoto, and Alexander McQueen. The kimono’s recent reinvention on the streets of Japan is also explored through work by a new wave of contemporary designers and stylists.
Arguably the ultimate symbol of Japan, the kimono is revered within the country as the embodiment of national culture and internationally regarded with fascination. This symbolic status, and the fact that its basic form has remained consistent over the centuries, means that that the kimono is often viewed as a simple, timeless garment. Kimono: Kyoto to Catwalk counters that conception, revealing how the kimono has always been a dynamic item of fashionable dress that has been restyled consistently throughout its history, influencing modern fashion and popular culture, from evening wear and festival fashion, to rock stars and Star Wars.
Highlights of the exhibition include a kimono created by Living National Treasure Kunihiko Moriguchi, contemporary designs from L’Wren Scott’s 2014 collection, and a kimono owned by Queen lead singer Freddie Mercury worn whilst at home. Designs by Yves Saint Laurent, Rei Kawakubo and John Galliano reveal the kimono’s role as a constant source of inspiration for fashion designers. Paintings, prints, film, dress accessories and other objects feature throughout the exhibition, providing additional context to the fascinating story of the style, appeal and influence of the kimono.
Overall, almost 300 works are featured, including kimono especially made for the show, with three-quarters drawn from the V&A’s collections and the rest generously lent by museums and private collections in Britain, Europe, America and Japan.

This is the final opportunity to see these rare works together on the last stop of the Kimono: Kyoto to Catwalk international tour running at V&A Dundee from 4 May until 5 January 2025.

The exhibition is split into three parts, beginning in the mid-17th century when a vibrant fashion culture emerged in Japan. The increasingly wealthy merchant classes demanded the latest styles to express their affluence, confidence and taste, while leading actors and famous courtesans were the trend-setters of the day. The simple structure of the kimono focused attention on the surface, allowing for the creation of sumptuous patterns using sophisticated techniques.


The first section of the exhibition, ‘Kimono In Japan’, explores these designs and shines a light on a fashion-conscious society not dissimilar to today’s, in which desire for the latest look was fed by a cult of celebrity and encouraged by makers, sellers and publishers. Kimono were first exported to Europe in the mid-17th century, where they had an immediate impact on clothing styles. Foreign fabrics were also brought to Japan and incorporated into kimono. Rare survivors from this early period of cultural exchange, including garments made in Japan for the Dutch and kimono tailored from French brocade and Indian chintz, are on display to reveal the fluid fashion relationship between East and West that resulted from the global trade network.
‘Kimono In The World’ reflects the worldwide craze for Japanese art and design in the late 19th century. Kimono bought from department stores such as Liberty & Co. in London were worn by those wishing to express their artistic flair. Japan responded by making boldly embroidered ‘kimono for foreigners’, while the domestic market was transformed by the use of European textile technology and chemical dyes. The kimono’s biggest impact on western fashion came in the early 20th century, when designers such as Paul Poiret, Mariano Fortuny and Madeleine Vionnet abandoned tightly-corseted styles in favour of loose layers of fabric that draped the body. This was part of a broader fascination with East Asia which can be discerned in jewellery and dress accessories of the period.
‘Kimono Transformed’ shows how the kimono has continued to inspire fashion designers around the world. The potential of the garment to be translated and transformed is seen in designs by Thom Browne, Duro Olowu and Yohji Yamamoto. The kimono’s timeless, universal quality has also made it the ideal costume for film and performance. The display includes the outfit worn by actor Toshirō Mifune in Sanjūrō, the film that George Lucas acknowledges as the inspiration for the costumes worn in Star Wars and Oscar-winning costumes from Memoirs of a Geisha. Japan is also witnessing a resurgence of interest in kimono. Jōtarō Saitō designs kimono couture for the catwalk, Hiroko Takahashi seeks to bridge the divide between art and fashion, and more casual styles are created by small, independent studios such as Rumi Rock and Modern Antenna.
Anna Jackson, curator of Kimono: Kyoto to Catwalk, said, “Kimono: Kyoto to Catwalk explores the aesthetic, social and sartorial importance of the kimono. This iconic garment is generally viewed as a timeless and traditional costume. We counter that conception by showing that kimono have always been highly dynamic garments, at the heart of a fashion culture that has thrived in Japan since the 1660s. The exhibition reveals how kimono fashion has been translated across cultural and geographic boundaries and has had a major impact on global dress styles for nearly 400 years.”
Kirsty Hassard, V&A Dundee curator, said, “A lot of the clothes we wear today are indirectly inspired by kimono in the way that it changed the silhouettes designers were crafting, particularly in the 20th century. We hope visitors will enjoy gaining insight into the importance the kimono has had on global fashion, and the unique experience of seeing the Kimono exhibition within the Japanese-Scottish inspired architecture of V&A Dundee on the final stop of its international tour.”
Leonie Bell, Director of V&A Dundee, said, “V&A Dundee by the banks of the Tay is a Scottish-Japanese building and it sets the stage perfectly for Kimono: Kyoto to Catwalk. Architect Kengo Kuma took inspiration for the V&A Dundee building from the rocky cliffs of eastern Scotland’s coastline, the maritime heritage of Dundee, and places of worship in ancient Japan. “Opening Kimono: Kyoto to Catwalk at V&A Dundee celebrates kimono’s enduring place in fashion design history and contemporary culture, whilst also offering us an opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate Scottish-Japanese cultural bonds, spanning hundreds of years and influencing art, design, fashion and architecture to engineering, food, gardens, film, animation, music and more.”
V&A Dundee have a range of activities inspired by the exhibition running throughout the year, including a free Educators Preview on 16 May; Kimono Unwrapped: Curators Talk on 7 June, and 30 days of free family workshops inspired by Japanese pop culture and play with comics, origami, toys and videogames running daily during the school holidays from 6 July to 4 August.
A Japanese-inspired Afternoon Tea will also launch on Saturday 4 May to complement the exhibition. Tatha Bar & Kitchen at V&A Dundee have paired the traditional afternoon tea offer with Japanese inspired flavours, including miso caramel and white chocolate tart, matcha and vanilla cake, and a selection of savoury treats delights including miso soup and crispy fried kataifi prawns.
Pre-loved kimono jackets are available from the Shop at V&A Dundee,  alongside new collaborations with Scottish designers, Hayley Scanlan and Claire McVinnie. Claire McVinnie has created an exclusive collection of laser cut wooden fan brooches using chiyogami silk screen traditional washi paper, and fashion designer Hayley Scanlan has re-made her best-selling shoulder bag using a Japanese inspired fabric. The official Kimono: Kyoto to Catwalk book by Anna Jackson and Josephine Rout, featuring over 250 illustrations, is also available from the V&A Dundee shop.
Kimono: Kyoto to Catwalk – V&A Dundee Shop (
Kimono: Kyoto to Catwalk open from Saturday 4 May 2024 until 5 January 2025 at V&A Dundee.
Tickets £7 to £15. £2 discount when booking online. Members, and 18s and under, go free.

Posted : 3 April 2023

V&A Dundee to present the first major exhibition in Scotland in 30 years to focus solely on tartan

Tartan (1 April 2023 – 14 January 2024) at V&A Dundee takes a radical new look at an instantly recognisable textile and pattern.

Set to be a major event in 2023’s cultural calendar, Tartan marks the 5th anniversary of Scotland’s design museum.

Celebrating tartan and its global impact, the exhibition explores how tartan has connected and divided communities worldwide, how it has embraced tradition, expressed revolt, and inspired great works of art as well as playful and provocative designs.

Tartan at V&A Dundee brings together a dazzling selection of more than 300 objects from over 80 lenders worldwide, illustrating tartan’s universal and enduring appeal through iconic and everyday examples of fashion, architecture, graphic and product design, photography, furniture, glass and ceramics, film, performance and art.

The exhibition features loans from across Scotland and around the world, including Chanel, Dior, Vivienne Westwood, Alexander McQueen, Tate, V&A, National Museums of Scotland, National Trust for Scotland, National Theatre of Scotland, The Royal Collection, Fashion Museum Bath, the Highland Folk Museum and more, many of which are being shown together in Scotland for the first time.

Tartan’s importance and enduring appeal as a textile has been utilised by designers throughout history, with some of fashion’s most innovative and rebellious minds exercising their refined cutting skills on tartan as a fabric. This will be reflected with pieces by Chanel, Dior, Alexander McQueen, Vivienne Westwood and Comme des Garçons, alongside the work of contemporary designers inspired by tartan including Grace Wales Bonner, Nicholas Daley, Louise Gray, Charles Jeffrey, Owen Snaith and Olubiyi Thomas.

The exhibition takes a radical new look at tartan, juxtaposing historical objects with the contemporary and is laid out in five sections where visitors can immerse themselves in the world of Tartan.

Tartan at V&A Dundee Tartan and InnovationTartan at V&A Dundee Transcendental Tartan

Tartan and the Grid looks at the basic structure of tartan, introduced through textiles from around the world and positioning Tartan as a set of rules to be disrupted by designers.

Innovating Tartan looks at how tartan has always been at the intersection of technical innovation. Tartan has been translated into a pattern manifested in an incredible variety of materials, from natural to the synthetic, and even glass. It covers every imaginable surface, securing its position at the forefront of art and design.

In Tartan and Identity, tartan’s global fascination including its importance to diasporic communities is examined. Also, the appeal tartan has always held for those who express themselves through their clothing, from the traditional to the radical.

Tartan and Power shows how it disrupts and conforms. A force of pride and might, used to push boundaries or maintain control in war and peacetime.

Transcendental Tartan transports visitors to new worlds and possibilities in fashion, media, performance and popular culture. The exhibition will look at tartan’s many narratives and how it is used by designers as a medium for myth and storytelling.  

In addition, V&A Dundee has asked the public to contribute to the exhibition. This will be The People’s Tartan, an eclectic selection of objects and memories that will spark recognition and nostalgia.

To commemorate this landmark exhibition, V&A Dundee has commissioned Kinloch Anderson to design a new tartan to be used as the museum's exclusive tartan and developed a range of merchandise in collaboration with designers in Scotland.

The spectrum of how tartan has been worn is covered in the exhibition, from an eighteenth-century tartan dress coat for the Ancient Caledonian Society, to a significant photograph from around 1908 of Scottish Suffragettes proudly wearing tartan sashes. From Sir Jackie Stewart’s racing helmet with its distinctive Royal Stewart tartan band, through to contemporary streetwear from Japan.

Tartan includes objects that illustrate the global translation, appropriation, reach and appeal of tartan across cultures and borders. The indigenous textiles of Indian Madras and East African Shuka cloth are explored in relation to tartan in the exhibition. Global, diasporic and even out of this world connections are represented too, with an ensemble made from Canadian Maple Leaf tartan and a fragment of MacBean tartan taken aboard Apollo 12 in November 1969 by American astronaut Alan Bean.

Paintings, including Donald Judd’s minimalist grids, Christian Hook’s oil painting of actor Alan Cumming and Gerard Burns’ portrait of the late former Scotland International rugby star Doddie Weir OBE, sit alongside the seventeenth-century image of Lord Mungo Murray by John Michael Wright.

There are items of devotion, from a fragment of tartan worn by Prince Charles Edward Stuart, now afforded relic status, to Bay City Rollers trousers, handmade by a lifelong fan.

From the sublime through to the everyday - even the humble but iconic tartan shortbread tin has been considered.

Leonie Bell, V&A Dundee Director, says:

"To mark our 5th birthday we are celebrating and challenging the history and contradictions within Scotland’s most iconic design.

“Everyone knows tartan, in Scotland and across the world, and it is linked to a hugely diverse range of identities. It is at once the pattern of Highland myth and legend, forever entwined with Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobite uprising, as well as being the pattern of 1970s punks and contemporary Japanese fashion influencers.  

“Tartan lives in the worlds of high fashion and tourism souvenirs, military uniform and palaces, football stadiums and concerts. It is adored and derided, has inspired great works of art and design, and somehow can represent unity and dissent, tradition and rebellion, the past, the present and the future. 

Tartan – the instantly recognisable symbol of Scotland, a global textile of oppression, rebellion, and fashion, is major and must-see show for 2023.”


Consultant curator Professor Jonathan Faiers, says:

“The diversity that this exhibition encompasses is an indication of the significant position that tartan occupies as a visual representation of historical, political and economic shifts within society. Marked by wars and revolutions, modified by migrations and prohibitions, tartan is uniquely positioned to act as a reminder of the past whilst clothing the present.

“As tartan so richly demonstrates, textiles, from the smallest details of their pattern and construction to their global dissemination, provide rules to be disrupted with which we can understand historical transformations within society and developments in our own time.

“The intersections and spaces between warp and weft provide a textile template for the collisions, coincidences and ruptures that punctuate society.”

Mhairi Maxwell, Curator at V&A Dundee, says:

“Tartan is a design which offers a set of rules to be disrupted. The sett, warp, weft and pivot are what makes tartan’s grid instantly recognisable, even the smallest fragment. But these rules are open to infinite possibility, as experimented with by designers in fashion, technology, architecture, and many other disciplines.

“Tartan has been misunderstood. Tartan has inspired designers, artists and its consumers a world away from parochial pastiche.

It is a global phenomenon, expressing diverse ideas of belonging, kinship, nationalism, unity and resistance.”

Kirsty Hassard, Curator at V&A Dundee, says:

“Tartan has been constantly reinvented and that is incredibly important to the narrative of the exhibition. It’s a pattern and textile that stretches back thousands of years, and some of the stories the exhibition tells are 300 years old or more, but Tartan isn’t a retrospective, it is absolutely a contemporary show.

“With in excess of 300 objects from more than 80 lenders around the globe, Tartan tells the story of how this pattern has travelled and explores the connection we all have to it.”

Entry to the exhibition is free for members and 18s and under.


Tickets are now on sale at

@VADundee #VADTartan

Posted : 20 November 2020

A unique handmade dress created by a group of young Dundee parents has gone on display at V&A Dundee today (Friday 20 November).


Five students from Dundee charity Front Lounge, who are currently working towards the Kindred Clothing SQA customised award qualification, have spent the last six weeks learning new sewing and embroidery skills with V&A Dundee’s practising textile designers to create the 1960s style sustainable dress.


The hand-embroidered dress, unveiled by three of its creators Kayleigh Mitchell (21), Cerrys Duke (20) and Hannah Watson (21), can now be viewed as part of Sewing Box for the Future, a free exhibition which highlights how teaching care, repair and customisation skills can help address the crisis of waste in the fashion industry. The exhibition complements Mary Quant, the first international retrospective on the iconic British designer, which runs until 17 January 2021.


Kindred Clothing, run by Front Lounge, takes learners through the key stages of the garment production process, while teaching practical fashion photography skills and techniques to present themselves, their stories and their clothes.


Each element of the course is delivered by an experienced maker, with learners presenting a portfolio of their work at the end of the course. What makes Kindred Clothing unique is that it has childcare built into every aspect of it, allowing parents with young children to get involved.


The Stitch-School dress was created by Kayleigh Mitchell, Cerrys Duke, Chelsea French, Hannah Watson and Chelsie Bruce, with contributions from Jacqueline Goodall and Kayleigh Innes (Hope Hub artists) and Sarah Allan and Gary Inglis (second year Community Education students on placement with Front Lounge) over the course of six weeks in The Thomson Learning Centre with support from practising textile designers Kirstie Campbell and Syrah Jay and V&A Dundee’s Learning team.


Cerrys Duke said: “I started Kindred Clothing because I wanted to sew clothes for myself and my daughter but I didn’t realise it could take me this far. It’s been brilliant and I’m so grateful to have all these extra opportunities, not just learning to sew and making friends but meeting new people, working towards a qualification and now this!


“The V&A Dundee experience really has been fantastic. It was particularly good just using our imagination with colours, fabrics and embellishments, rather than following set rules. I never thought we’d get to make a dress that would go on public display within V&A Dundee and I can’t wait to see where it all takes me – I just want to gain even more experience and enjoy what happens next.”


Syrah Jay, textile designer from V&A Dundee’s Learning team, said: “Having worked together with the young people from Kindred Clothing over the course of ten workshops, it’s really amazing to see their wonderful dress included in the exhibition and celebrate their hard work and achievements.


“We focused on skill sharing and passing on the skills we’ve learnt over the years to the group - beginning with a range of more traditional hand embroidery stitches like French knots, chain stitch, running stitch, seed stitch and then moving on to more experimental approaches with applique, sequins, needle felting, needle punching and the application of iron-on vinyls with PVC and flock finishes in a nod to Mary Quant. We really encouraged the group to explore their creative instincts within the framework of a design brief where they were both supported and challenged.  To hear that everyone involved has had a positive experience and benefited from being able to meet regularly at V&A Dundee is absolutely brilliant.”


Camilla Plekker, Chair of Front Lounge, added: “This collaboration with V&A Dundee is a prime example of what can be achieved by taking part in the Kindred Clothing course. The learners, many of whom had never sewn on a button before, deserve huge praise for their dedication and resilience. Seeing their dress come together and now form part of such a prestigious exhibition makes me extremely proud. They’ve essentially created a living part of Dundee’s history in just a few weeks!


“As Kindred Clothing evolves, we hope to provide our learners with access to an even broader range of opportunities, from training and work experience to employment. By capturing and cultivating this fresh, young talent, right here on our doorstep, we can also provide a ready-made labour force to local designers, meeting their needs and contributing to the local economy.”


Dr Jen Ballie, Design for Business Research Manager at V&A Dundee, said: “It’s fantastic to see this inspiring Stitch-School dress embellished in such a magnificent way by Kindred Clothing. The Kindred Clothing group have demonstrated that by learning new skills it is possible to love fashion and update your wardrobe in a sustainable, responsible way.


“I am so happy this beautiful piece of design created by talented young people here in Dundee will now be seen by hundreds more people and hopefully inspire others to make a small change too.”


For more information, visit or 


Photo credit:  Julie Howden


Posted : 8 October 2020

V&A Dundee has partnered with designer Kerrie Alexander and textile innovators Halley Stevensons to produce its first limited-edition fashion collaboration.


Museum, maker and manufacturer have united to create the Dundee Raincoat, a modern-day unisex raincoat inspired by the city’s innovation, creativity and resilience.


Designed and hand produced by independent fashion label KerrieALDO, the raincoat is made using waterproof waxed cotton, a performance fabric Halley Stevensons has pioneered the development of for over 150 years, and continue to manufacture at its Baltic Works factory in Dundee.


Following the KerrieALDO design philosophy of slow, sustainable fashion, each of the 20 numbered raincoats and matching bags were hand-cut and crafted using new unique patterns created for the collaboration.  


The unisex fit raincoat, available in navy and orange, features signature KerrieALDO finishes such as coloured trims and an inner patch pocket made from Ancient Dundee Old Heavy Weight Tartan, a pattern which has not been used for 160 years and was recently resurrected by the Ben Nevis Handloom Weavers of Dundee.


Kerrie Alexander, founder of KerrieALDO, said: “Partnering with a design museum and a textile factory to design the ultimate contemporary raincoat has been a brilliant experience.  


“I came across ‘the slicker’, a hooded coat worn by fisherman in the archives at Halley Stevensons, and this has had a big influence on the design of the coat, as has V&A Dundee’s contemporary architecture.   


“As well as using superior fabrics like Halley Stevensons’ waxed cotton, a great design is always about the intricate details such as contrast detailing and pocket placement, right down to the very last stitch. The coat has lots of special details to the inner which illustrate the level of care and attention that has gone into each piece.


“A collar was discussed at an early design meeting, but having grown up in Dundee, I knew a hood was an essential feature of the Dundee Raincoat, to deal with the unpredictable Scottish weather!


“Designing a bag to match was a fun addition to the project. The bag is similar to the coat design in that it comes in two colour-ways with opposing contrast details. The pocket on the bag features a window-like opening to reveal a new colour, which reminded me of looking out to the Tay from the windows of the museum.”


James Campbell, Managing Director at Halley Stevensons, said: “The Dundee Raincoat combines authentic heritage with contemporary style which will be available at V&A Dundee’s design shop. We are delighted to have collaborated on this exceptional piece of design.


“Halley Stevensons is pretty unique in that we work in the same way with large brands as we do with smaller artisan labels such as KerrieALDO. There’s an understanding with our clients that we help them in any way we can, and they are part of our research and development with the feedback they give us in return. It’s an added bonus for us to watch brands develop with our product.


Our collaborative process is always the same and we are exceptionally proud when we can support younger labels such as Kerrie’s.”


Christian Moire, Director of Operations at V&A Dundee, said:

“Our visitors tell us they are interested in supporting independent designers and shopping for unique items that have a local connection.  Dundee based, Halley Stevensons supply international brands with their high-quality waxed cotton, so it was a natural fit for us to collaborate with them and KerrieALDO. We are excited to launch the Dundee Raincoat this Autumn and to have worked with two very inspiring independent businesses.”


The limited edition run of 20 Dundee Raincoats feature an embroidered number on the inner pocket and are available exclusively from the shop at V&A Dundee, 1 Riverside Esplanade, Dundee. The coat will retail for £200 and the matching bag for £45.


V&A Dundee is open 10.00 to 17.00, Thursday to Monday, with advance booking now required for all visitors.


Free museum entry can be booked at


Photography by:  Julie Howden

Posted : 19 August 2020

Mary Quant celebrated in V&A Dundee’s first fashion photoshoot

An iconic photograph of fashion designer Mary Quant taken in 1966 has been recreated by V&A Dundee, ahead of the opening of its first major fashion exhibition celebrating the influential designer (Thursday 27 August).

Mary Quant changed the fashion system, overturning the dominance of Paris couturiers, and transformed young women like her into the new leaders of style.

The new images shot on location inside and outside Scotland’s first design museum before it temporarily closed feature new textiles created by five emerging designers inspired by the work of Mary Quant.

Lucy Carrie, Emer Dobson, Sandra Junele, Humaira Khan and Jane Neave, all 3rd year Textile Design students at the University of Dundee’s Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design, were presented with an opportunity to work with V&A Dundee earlier this year as part of a project titled 21st Century Quant, examining Mary Quant’s design legacy.

The new designers were asked to create textiles inspired by Quant’s 1960s rebellion, but also that responded to the big issues facing today’s fashion world. Detailed research and experimentation led them to explore urgent themes such as climate change, consumerism, and racism.

The textiles were then transformed into four dresses made to the exact specification of an original Mary Quant Butterick dressmaking pattern. The knitted cape designed by textile design student Sandra Junele was inspired by Quant’s famous Alligator cape, and references the importance of repurposing clothing waste as a way to tackle problems caused by fast fashion and over-consumption.

Emer Dobson created a repeat pattern using the outline of non-recyclable packaging to highlight the problem of sustainability and the issue of hidden waste.

Emer Dobson said:  “I tried to think about how the last 60 years would have changed Mary Quant’s design process, her aesthetic and her ethos. The main thing I took from my research was that she wanted to design for everyone, was forward-thinking and quite a revolutionary.

“I looked at mass production and used the supermarket as my visual source, and the onslaught of advertising and bright colours. I used that as a starting place to critique mass production. I think Mary Quant probably would have had a similar take on things.

“Every time I had an idea I thought, ‘What would Mary do?’ I think she’d be annoyed by all of this. I think she would want sustainability.”

Lucy Carrie created a design inspired by graffiti text protesting against racism, while Jane Neave’s acid-bright design is inspired by Quant’s fashion statements which challenged gender stereotypes. 

Jane Neave said:  “I really considered how Mary Quant looked, how she wore suits even though it wasn’t really done then. She designed with women, and what women wanted, in mind. Then I thought about this in relation to designing my textile and dress.”

Pharmacist turned textile designer Humaira Khan leveraged her scientific knowledge to create her dyes from scratch.

Humaira Khan said:  “Measuring dyes in the lab was exactly like my work as a production pharmacist in which I handled all the raw materials in point zero one to thousands of litres. This experience formed an excellent basis for dyes I created for this project. Though it’s a complex process, I didn’t experience any difficulties.”

After the exhibition this year and graduation next, Humaira plans to establish her own textile design business.

“I want to do something with innovation and sustainability,” she said. “I want to make items that avoid landfill, I want to make longer-lasting products.”

Sophie McKinlay, Director of Programme at V&A Dundee said:  “Mary Quant started out as a young art student, going on to become one of Britain’s best-known designers with a unique vision to use fashion as a way to communicate new attitudes and ideas. All of us at V&A Dundee have enjoyed taking a fresh look at Mary Quant’s legacy through the lens of these five young designers as they embark on their own design careers. We are delighted to celebrate Mary Quant opening at V&A Dundee with this inspiring and unique collaboration.”

Professor Anita Taylor, Dean at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design said :  “21st Century Quant has been such an exciting project for our Textile Design students – their final designs boldly reimagine the spirit of Quant and present a fresh and feisty take on her transformational legacy and reflect and respond to current issues of climate change, social justice, and sustainability in the fashion industry. Congratulations to our emerging leaders of style!”

The 21st Century Quant shoot was the first time V&A Dundee has been used as a fashion shoot location. The new designers worked with fashion industry professionals, photographer Aleksandra Modrzjewska and stylist Kristen Neillie.  A 2014 textile design graduate of Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design, Kristen Neillie has gone on to work with Vogue, Dazed and Net-a-Porter.

The 21st Century Quant garments will be on display at V&A Dundee for the opening week of Mary Quant, on show outside the exhibition entrance.

The exhibition which focuses on the years between 1955 and 1975 will also feature the stories of women who made outfits from Mary Quant’s dressmaking patterns, gathered through V&A Dundee’s #SewQuant campaign, as well as a new film looking at contemporary female designers who, like Mary Quant, are forging their own way through today’s rapidly shifting fashion industry.

Dresses with printed textiles designed by Lucy Carrie, Emer Dobson, Sandra Junele, Humaira Khan and Jane Neave. Dress production by Min Atelier.

Cape with knitted textile designed by Sandra Junele, produced by JAG Knitwear, 2020

Mary Quant was curated by Jenny Lister and Stephanie Wood of the V&A and shown at V&A South Kensington from 6 April 2019 to 16 February 2020. 

The Mary Quant exhibition at V&A Dundee opens Thursday 27 August to 17 January 2021.

Mary Quant at V&A Dundee is supported by Barclays Private Bank.

#QuantDundee #SewDundee




Photo credits :

1966 photograph:  Mary Quant and her Ginger Group of girls in Market Street Manchester. February 1966. Photo by Howard Walker, Mirrorpix, Getty Images
21st Century Quant photograph:  Photographed by Aleksandra Modrzjewska on location at V&A Dundee, styled by Kristen Neillie, Hair by Kay McIntyre, Make up by Jill Syme.

Designers: Lucy Carrie, Emer Dobson, Sandra Junele, Humaira Khan and Jane Neave.

Models: Catriona Merchant, Joy Gansh, Jolene Guthrie, Lindsey Gordon, Maisie Farrer.


Posted : 14 July 2020

V&A Dundee will reopen on Thursday 27 August with its first major fashion exhibition, Mary Quant, and an exciting new programme extending throughout the whole museum. 


Mary Quant is the first international retrospective on the iconic British designer who disrupted the fashion establishment, captured the spirit of London in the 1960s, and started a fashion revolution that a whole generation wanted to take part in – and still continues today. 


The exhibition will run from 27 August to 17 January 2021, with tickets on sale from today at This will be followed by Night Fever: Designing Club Culture from 27 March to 5 September 2021. 


Turner Prize-winning architecture collective Assemble will begin work in V&A Dundee on Making Room from 27 August, a project with Dundee Central Library, local school pupils and the museum’s Young People’s Collective.  


Making Room is taking inspiration from historic buildings in Dundee to produce a new interior room that will be built in V&A Dundee before being moved to Dundee Central Library, where it will function as an area for digital learning and making for the city. 


Scotland’s first design museum has also curated a new exhibition in response to the coronavirus pandemic, looking at how designers responded to the crisis. Now Accepting Contactless: Design in a Global Pandemic will be shown in the Michelin Design Gallery, in spaces throughout the museum and, for the first time, outside the museum as well. 


Other design projects will be shown across the museum, including Sewing Box for the Future and films from the Schools Design Challenge, as well as the reopening of the Scottish Design Galleries including Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s iconic Oak Room. 


A number of measures will be in place across the museum to ensure a safe, welcoming and inspiring experience for visitors and staff alike. All visitors will need to book free tickets to enter the museum, as part of the essential steps to keep visitors safe and to ensure physical distancing. Those free tickets can also be booked from today at 


Mary Quant at V&A Dundee is supported by Barclays Private Bank. Making Room and the Schools Design Challenge are both supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery. 


Leonie Bell, incoming Director of V&A Dundee, said: “I am hugely excited to be preparing to join the team at V&A Dundee, particularly at a time when Scotland’s first design museum will be reopening and welcoming visitors back with Mary Quant, its first major fashion exhibition, and its most ambitious programme to date.  


“That programme also includes the brilliant architecture collective Assemble working with young people in Dundee and an exploration of how designers responded to the pandemic, underlining the importance of design to everyone’s lives.” 


Sophie McKinlay, Director of Programme at V&A Dundee, said: “Everyone at V&A Dundee is delighted to be preparing our remarkable museum to reopen once again, and we have all been working hard to welcome visitors back for a safe, enjoyable experience. 


“Mary Quant is a remarkable designer who did so much to revolutionise the fashion industry and to empower women to wear clothes that looked great and felt great, and it’s the perfect choice for our first major fashion exhibition. 


“Across the rest of the museum visitors will see more than they’ve ever seen before, with displays inside and outside the museum that explore creative responses to how the world has changed and how we hope it may change in the future.” 


Dundee City Council leader John Alexander said: “The reopening of V&A Dundee will be yet another important milestone in the city’s journey out of lockdown. 


“I am pleased that the Assemble partnership with Central Library will see local young people given the opportunity to get involved in an exciting design project that reaches out into the community. 


“I also hope that our local economy and businesses will be given a boost by visitors who come to the city because of the tremendous attractions of V&A Dundee and its Mary Quant exhibition.” 


Mary Quant designed clothes that made people feel good. She made quality designer fashion affordable through licensing her youthful and playful brand, creating dressmaking patterns, make-up and accessories that all showcased her iconic daisy logo. 


Mary Quant encouraged a new age of feminism, inspiring young women to rebel against the traditional clothing worn by their mothers and grandmothers. Her shop Bazaar opened in 1955, the year after World War Two food rationing ended, and her colourful designs were a reaction against the austerity and drabness of post-war London. 


Mary Quant is famous for popularising the miniskirt, but her designs offered many different versions of femininity and challenged the conventional gender stereotypes of post-war Britain. 

Key objects featured within the exhibition include the pioneering ‘Wet Collection’ PVC rainwear, a jute miniskirt, and designs that playfully subverted menswear at a time when women were still banned from wearing trousers in formal settings such as restaurants. 


The exhibition in Dundee will also feature the stories of women who made outfits from Mary Quant’s dressmaking patterns, gathered through V&A Dundee’s #SewQuant campaign, as well as a new film looking at contemporary female designers who, like Mary Quant, are forging their own way through today’s rapidly shifting fashion industry. 


Mary Quant was curated by Jenny Lister and Stephanie Wood of the V&A and shown at V&A South Kensington from 6 April 2019 to 16 February 2020.  





Image:  © PA Prints 2008

Posted : 24 January 2020




A campaign to generate a buzz for Dundee and the opening of V&A Dundee has received an international accolade.


The campaign activity to showcase the city and its new museum picked up a Platinum award at the HSMAI Adrian Awards on Tuesday (21 January) at the New York Marriott Marquis. Now in their 63rd year, the prestigious Adrian Awards recognise creativity and innovation in advertising, digital marketing and public relations.


Submitted by VisitScotland, the award entry was entitled "The Comeback Kid: Dundee - How Scotland's Fourth Largest City Became The King of Cool" and highlighted the increase in visitors to the city as well as key placements in target US media including New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Forbes and Vogue.


There were more than 1,100 entries for this year’s awards with all submissions eligible to win at the Gold, Silver and Bronze levels. Gold winning entries which were judged to be exceptional received Platinum status.


The award comes after independent research revealed V&A Dundee had a £75 million economic impact across Scotland in its first year. The study also found the museum had a £21 million impact on Dundee and created an estimated 370 new jobs in Dundee.


Opening in September 2018, V&A Dundee has shone a global spotlight on Dundee as a city of design, creativity and heritage. It welcomed over 833,000 visitors in its first year and has won a host of awards including a place on TIME Magazine’s list of ‘2019’s Greatest Places’.


From the initial conception to the opening of the museum, the museum represents over a decade of innovation, passion and dedication from its founding partners, funders and Dundee’s tourism industry. VisitScotland worked with key partners to ensure the city and country maximised the benefits brought by the new attraction.


VisitScotland’s marketing activity targets segments of key markets across the world to showcase Scotland’s visitor offering and give the country a renowned presence in the global marketplace to ensure the benefits of tourism are felt across the nation.


Caroline Warburton, VisitScotland Regional Leadership Director, said: “I’m delighted to see the work to showcase Dundee and V&A Dundee to the world has been recognised at the HSMAI Adrian Awards. The passion, innovation and hard work of Scotland’s tourism industry has been integral to the city and the attraction’s phenomenal success.


“At VisitScotland everything we do is about showcasing a destination and visitor experience worth talking about through innovative marketing, partnerships and events to inspire visitors to spend more time and money across the country.”


Philip Long, Director of V&A Dundee, said: “To receive such a prestigious award is a great recognition of the global impact V&A Dundee has already had, in creating a major new international cultural centre and in promoting Dundee and Scotland as world-class tourism destinations.”


Councillor John Alexander, leader of Dundee City Council, said: “This award is fantastic recognition of all the work which has been done by ‘team Dundee’ to put the city in the international spotlight.


“People from around the world are discovering what we locals know – that Dundee is a really cool place to live, work, play and visit.


“The buzz that has been created has helped bring visitors in record numbers, contributing millions of pounds to the local economy and supporting thousands of jobs.


“We’ll continue to shout about our city and encourage people to not only visit but stay for a while and discover the culture, adventure, nightlife and so much more that Dundee has to offer.”


To learn more about the HSMAI Adrian Awards go to  


To find out more about Dundee and V&A Dundee go to  


For more information on VisitScotland and its work to grow tourism sustainably across Scotland, go to

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