Samantha McCoach’s Le Kilt first showed on schedule at London Fashion Week in February 2015, for fall 2015. For her fashion week debut guests were ensconced in the enclaves of L’Escargot on Greek Street. Her second show was an ode to her Scottish heroine Shirley Manson, but embodied Soho, which fashion week had just adopted as it’s home for the foreseeable future. Her third collection, displayed this past February was perhaps the most interesting. The two reasons for that being the attention to craft and heritage, and also the subtext that could be picked apart.
After returning from Shanghai, where she taught English for a few months, McCoach re-immersed herself in Scottish culture. She paid a visit to fabric mills Hainsworth and Lochcarron. Both renowned for their craft, McCoach enlisted their help for her fall 2016 collection which was an homage to the craft of the kilt. Her work is made in Scotland; the local approach making her pieces all the more special. Sanquhar knitters helped create a capsule knitwear collection for the brand.
The “made in the UK” approach that McCoach spoke about was put into perspective post-Brexit. As I wrote in my Topshop Unique review, it’s a weird time to be singling out Britishness as an inspiration. At the time, it might’ve seemed perfect, but in reflection it’s slightly unsettling. McCoach spoke specifically about Scotland, her homeland. Following the Brexit result there was talk of a second Scottish referendum. (The majority of the Scottish population had voted to stay in the EU). Militaristic flairs could be found in this collection. Towards the end of the lookbook, black looks had a rebellious edge. Scottish rebellion is an age old trope, but it’s especially important now.
Subtext and focus on Scottish craft are the two takeaways from this collection. Heritage isn’t something you expect from a young designer. Preserving important cultural fixtures such as tartan weavers in Scotland is important, it’s apart of the country’s identity. To see a young women like McCoach embark on that journey to ensure it’s preservation is heartwarming. But you can only do so much with a kilt, right? McCoach has continually proves that the kilt is a multi-faceted article that has the ability to tell a variety of stories.
Photo Credit: lekilt.co.uk