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.” 

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.”

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