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10 October 2023

Victoria privileged to see her work unveiled as part of new exhibition at the National Museum of Scotland

A former Edinburgh College student is ‘really privileged’ to see one of her creations go on display at the National Museum of Scotland recently as part of a new exhibition celebrating Scottish heritage and culture. 

Former HND Textiles student Victoria Brady brought one of Gordon Nicholson Kiltmakers’ latest designs – the John Muir Way Tartan – to life, with the kilt now on display at the National Museum of Scotland as part of their new Tartan Today exhibition.

Victoria got into kiltmaking while undertaking her HND in Textiles at the College and managed to secure an apprenticeship at Gordon Nicholson Kiltmakers upon competition of her course meaning she would be able to continue her new-found passion for kiltmaking.

Not long after Victoria completed her apprenticeship, Gordon Nicholson was approached by the National Museum of Scotland who were looking to add a modern up-to-date outfit to their archives, with Victoria given responsibility for making the piece that would go on display.

Victoria said: “I felt really privileged to be asked to do that. The fact that Gordon was confident enough with my skill to ask me to do that, considering I had not long finished the apprenticeship, made me feel really proud.”

“During the final year of my HND course at Edinburgh College, we done a Scottish project, where we got to come to Gordon Nicholson’s and have a look at the tartan, have a play around with it, have a practice of pleating it up and I found it really fascinating and interesting. After being accepted to university, I heard that Gordon was looking for someone for a kiltmaking apprenticeship, so I applied and got the position and now I make kilts full-time for Gordon.”

The John Muir Way tartan commemorates the opening of a 134-mile coast to coast walking and cycling path from Dunbar to Helensburgh in 2014, named after world-renowned conservationist. The tartan is inspired by the colours of East Lothian coastline echoing its red stone cliffs, bright blue seas and skies, and the greens and browns of the surrounding countryside.

Gordon said: “When the National Museum came to us to ask to put one of our outfits in the archive, it was important for me that we had one of our ex-students make the kilt to show that people who come through our academy can make to a particular standard and that this kilt that Victoria has made will now be in the National Museum forever.”

Art and Design head of school Neil Manning said: “It’s delightful to see someone who has progressed through the College get offers to university, but then seek out opportunities in the real world to gain a professional job doing the thing that she’s highly skilled to do. It shows that what we offer in the School of Art and Design at Edinburgh College enables people to not just graduate and go off to university, but also step straight into employment and have a fantastic career.”

The Tartan Today exhibition was launched in August and showcases tartan design, weaving, and kiltmaking in the contemporary Highland dress industry. 

Find out more about the Tartan Today Exhibition.