The journey started at Fashion Foundry which is situated in a building where artists and creative enterprises call home. Alan gave us a quick tour of the space with works of designers and a workroom. We met Rory and May, some designers that work from the space, and I conversed with Rory who collaborates with the British Museum, Royal Opera House and Art Fund to make custom prints for accessories. And this was one of the overall lessons I took home; collaboration, an agent of growth.
The next stop was the Cultural Enterprise Office. The Cultural Enterprise Office was set up for the purpose of supporting Scottish entrepreneurs. It’s the first and, possibly, only one of its kind in Scotland. They take entrepreneurs who are given a specific solution to whatever their needs might be. These solutions could include mentorship, financial assistance, and masterclasses.
After that, we went to Many Studios, an art exhibition gallery with open-air offices that serves some of Scotland’s most talented artists. Miranda Palombo, the Managing Director, gave us a tour of the space, an artistically demarcated white painted haven. Two of the artists we met were Siobhan and Michael John, an upcycle designer and a rubber shoe designer. Siobhan sources for old denim trousers and transforms them into jackets and hats, while Michael’s shoes are made with recycled rubber.
We spoke to Ms. Newman, the manager who is also in charge of handing the designers by getting them mentorship among other things, and she emphasized the importance of heavily curating one’s craft and finding a niche.
Nigerian designer, Sam Soboye, was a breath of fresh air. We walked into his store, and for the 15 minutes that we were there, it felt like we were back in Nigeria; he changed the music playing from the laptop from pop to afro hip hop; the Ankara decorations and the colorful clothes. We talked about his 17-year in business. “You must never give up,” he said. “If I count the number of times I’d been rejected by a major retail store or told I shouldn’t do this; I’d have shut down by now.”
The Design Museum where we met Curator-at-Large, Ameena M. McConnell, who spoke to us about the history of the museum and her role as the curator. “An artist has to be original,” she said when asked what makes her choose a particular artist.
Ms. McConnell went on to show us the exhibition of David Adjaye titled Making Memory. An exhibition inspired by architecture, people and black history.
We went on to our second stop, a tour of the Second Home Holland Park, a co-working space.
The last stop for the day was with Tabitha Goldstaub and Anushka Sharma, serial entrepreneurs who talked to us about the importance of thinking outside the box and creating a disruption that moves the society forward.