The Magical World of Rowanjoy
*Exclusive Rowanjoy one-offs are now available at Swelle Boutique!
Sometimes you stumble upon clothes that are so much more than clothes. Dresses, coats and skirts that are enchanting and boldly feminine with a bit of cheek, that pull you into a kind of fantasyland where you can indulge the fun parts of your personality. That is the magic of Rowanjoy, the womenswear label created by Edinburgh designer Rowan McIntosh. To create her frolicsome looks she takes inspiration from mad tea parties and magicians and uses vintage and modern fabrics in a playful mix of colours and prints - resulting in garments that look as if they jumped off a page in a book of fairytales, yet they are completely wearable. (I know - I tried a few dresses myself and if it weren't for the size I would be wearing one of those dreamy frocks as I write this. To Die For.)
Rowan McIntosh is a
designer whose mind is a place we want to get inside, so I've asked her to give us a glimpse into how her one-off, happy clothes that are handmade by her (yes!), came to be:
How did you begin your career as a fashion designer?
I graduated from Edinburgh College of Art in 2003 with a BA (hons) in fashion. Once I finished I knew I wasn't particularly keen to scrap it out for a job in London so I decided to stay in Edinburgh and continue with my own work. The opportunity came up to get involved in a reworking project that was being set up by the owner of a vintage shop called Godiva. From starting this six years ago I have been slowly building my own label, still working with the idea of using vintage fabrics and mixing them with modern fabrics. I set up my own label three and a half years ago and have been running it ever since.
Your clothes are so colourful, playful, off-beat and very feminine; what's on your mind when you're designing?
One of the main things I think about when I design is whether I would wear what I am designing. I think my personal taste plays a big part in my designs - I am most definitely a dress and skirt girl and love colour and print. Personally, I think fashion should be fun and make you happy when you wear something you love, and I would like to think that the pieces I design and make bring this to the wearer.
Someone once told me that my clothes are "romantic, with a sense of humour," and I thought that was a really nice way of describing my work. And somehow - no matter where my initial inspiration comes from - they do always seem to turn out that way.
At the moment all the pieces I do are one-offs. One of my main plans is to split the label in two and have one part that carries on with making the really special one-offs and then develop a more ready-to-wear line that won't necessarily be mass-produced but will be produced on a larger scale than I can currently manage. I would also like to raise the profile of my label on a more international level, hopefully in the future showing in some way in London at fashion week - although, I don't see Rowanjoy becoming too big for its boots, I like the independent uniqueness of it.
And so do we! Rowanjoy can be found at various shops in Scotland and England. She also provides a made to measure service at Godiva Boutique in Edinburgh does private commisions. I think a trip up to Edinburgh is in order...
I adore her photos - doesn't her lookbook convey the spirit of her clothes perfectly?