Royal Bank of Scotland, Scottish fashion experts and Edinburgh businesses have rallied round to support the Greyfriars Tartan Fashion Show being held at Grassmarket Community Project next week.

Cutting-edge tartan designs from around the world, submitted for the Greyfriars Tartan Design Competition earlier this year, will be showcased at the event on Thursday 12 March from 6.00pm. RBS has been confirmed as the main sponsor, with Anderson Strathern, individual sponsor David McLellan, Johnsons Stalbridge and UK Safety Mats all making donations to help make the event a success.

The three judges have been confirmed as Natalie Kerr, RBS Head of Business Banking Marketing, Scottish fashion blogger and marketing expert Colin Gilchrist, and Mal Burkinshaw, Fashion Programme Director at Edinburgh University’s School of Design.

The competition and fashion show have been made possible thanks to funding from the Scottish Government’s Enterprise Ready Fund, which aims to launch the Scottish manufacturing industry and social enterprise products onto an international sales platform.

Katerina Faulds, Greyfriars Tartan Sales Manager at Grassmarket Community Project, said: “We are incredibly grateful to RBS, the judges, local businesses and everyone else who has helped us make it this far. This fashion show is our first major step towards working with fashion designers from all over the world, allowing us to expand Scottish social enterprise into global export markets. We’re so excited to see the competition results on the night.”

The unique Greyfriars Tartan was designed by a member of Grassmarket Community Project, a social enterprise based in Edinburgh’s Grassmarket where vulnerable local people can be part of a community, develop new skills and self-confidence, and become more employable. The tartan is officially registered and used to teach members textiles skills which they then use to create a range of beautiful handmade products.

Natalie Kerr, Head of Business Banking Marketing for RBS, says: “I am a big supporter of locally-based community projects, like Grassmarket Community Project and its Greyfriars Tartan enterprise, which help foster and encourage new skills and confidence. I firmly believe that ventures that come from grass roots levels like this have the opportunity to make the biggest difference to the areas we live and grow up in. It can be contagious, and inspire future entrepreneurs and ideas for generations to come.”

The idea behind the tartan design competition was to encourage designers from all over the world to re-discover, re-imagine and re-connect with tartan, and it has seen designs submitted from Indonesia (Jakarta) and India as well as England, Wales and Scotland.

Nina Falk, Greyfriars Tartan Textiles Specialist at Grassmarket Community Project, says: “It has been fascinating to see designers with different influences and backgrounds all work with our tartan fabric and we can’t wait to see their creative designs on the catwalk.”

Local businesses which have donated raffle prizes are: Out of Hand, Helios Fountain, Mr Wood’s Fossils, Mamma’s, The Beehive Inn, Hawico, Graze, Purple Glamour, Fabhatrix, Scotch Whisky Experience, MYAdventure and Apex Hotels. Barr and Tunnocks will provide refreshments.

Submitted by Samantha McKay