Fashion shows


Details / Notes

Since the 1940s, fashion shows have run annually at GSA. These have been designed, planned and run by the students, with garments also designed and modelled by the students. The history of the fashion shows is documented here:

1940s: On the 14th January 1947, students from the Art School and College of Domestic Science came together in aid of Charities Week, to present a mannequin parade of more than 30 specially made outfits. During the early years of the fashion show, local press commented on different styles of garments, from 18th-century dress to modern swimsuits. The extra-curricular nature of early shows is apparent, with students noted as working during the holidays. Reports from the 1952 event mention a student committee charged with organisation. The programme for the coronation themed 1953 show, lists a team comprising convenor, associates, stage director, publicists, treasurer, electricians, compere, graphic designer and mannequins.

1950s – 1960s: Unusual materials and accessories, in particular headwear, commonly feature in shows of the late 1950s and early 1960s. From the mid to late 1960s more wearable and functional garments appear, often displaying geometric patterning and sometimes developed due to industry connections and competitions. During this period the event relocated from GSA's Assembly Hall, to various venues including the Mackintosh Building, with shows in the Lecture Theatre, Mackintosh Room and Museum. Shows were also held at external venues including Culzean Castle and the Scottish Design Centre.

1970s: GSA's Haldane Building became a regular choice for events throughout the 1970s. Large-scale placement prints, embroidered motifs, oversized garments and costumes featured in these shows. From the mid to late 1970s the theme of the fashion shows, decided upon by the organising student cohort (usually from the 3rd Year of a 4-year course of study), directs event design. For the 1977 'Fashion Circus' show, models paraded on a floor of sawdust and a gorilla costume featured. For 1978, the impactful visual identity of the show depicts a silhouette wearing a red carnation; this detail follows through to the programme, ticket and corsage worn by the show's compere. The programmes from this period state that garments can be purchased from students via the relevant department. The Bourdon Building Assembly Hall, now GSA's Library was also used for the event.

1980s: The first known audio-visual recording of the event is from 1982; this and other recordings (1984, 1985 and 1986) show a range of outfits from costumes to more wearable garments. Throughout this period shows appear to engage with topical, social and political themes, through performance-like presentations. The majority of 1980s shows took place in the Assembly Hall, the Students Union, indicating support for the event from GSA's Students Association. Throughout the history of the fashion show the involvement of students from departments across GSA is apparent, particularly when associated with GSA's Activities Week.

1990s: Photographs from the mid -1990s show backdrops, in front of which a mix of outfits are paraded. At this time, textiles at GSA was divided into 'Printed & Knitted' and 'Embroidered & Woven'. During this period design aspects of the show became more integrated into the undergraduate curriculum. By the late 1990s, as build up to Glasgow's year as City of Architecture and Design 1999, there was a shift in the scale of the show and large venues were used around the city. Themed 'Morphogeneis', the 1998 show included 40 collections, with projections of video works by GSA's Interior Design students. In 1999 GSA's textile departments were amalgamated into a single Department of Textiles combining embroidery, weave, print and knit.

2000-2017: At the start of the new millennium, large-scale fashion shows continued, taking place in the Fruitmarket and the Arches. The show moved back to GSA's Assembly Hall in 2004 and the 'boutique' was introduced to raise additional funds. With curriculum change the organisational aspects of the event were integrated into the textile design curriculum. This is still the case today, students work in groups and aspects of the project are delivered by GSA's Careers Services. Recent shows have provided opportunities to work on live projects with external organisations and companies, or with practising designers. The Students' Union, renamed 'The Art School' continues to be used as the venue for the show, although external sites were used during the development of GSA's Reid Building. The introduction of undergraduate fashion design at GSA in 2010 has meant that garments by fashion student are shown alongside those produced by textile students. Themes of recent shows have challenged students to consider the role fashion can play in the perpetuation of cultural stereotypes, explored issues of cultural appreciation and addressed gender neutrality.

In recent years, students have regularly been influenced by the material in the Archives and Collections when producing garments for the GSA fashion show. For the 70th Anniversary fashion show, 21-22 March, 3rd-year fashion and textiles students selected a period between '1947-2017' for inspiration.

Author: Helena Britt



Scope note(s)

Source note(s)

Hierarchical terms

Fashion shows

Equivalent terms

Fashion shows

Associated terms

Fashion shows

42 Results for Fashion shows

42 results directly related Exclude narrower terms

Misc: Interesting

Folder containing contacts and negatives of photographs taken by George Oliver. Most are annotated. Includes: Glasgow School of Art Fashion Show in 1989, paper workshop, Glasgow books, Bently, gable ends, Hungarian reception, Dick Wing Royal Infir...

Oliver, George

GSA Undergraduate Fashion Show

  • DC 093
  • Collection
  • 1950-1980

This collections in includes material relating to The Glasgow School of Art's undergraduate fashion show.

The Glasgow School of Art

Student work

DC 093/1/1-3 Shift dress, jacket and printed coat made from sackcloth by Elizabeth (Betty) Sinclair (nee Stewart) for the GSA Fashion Shows c1950-52.; DC 093/1/4 Coat of woven material, designed and woven by Betty Myerscough in the Weaving Depart...

Sinclair, Elizabeth

Fashion Show Programmes

DC 093/2/1 - 1955, cover design by Robert MacGowan; DC 093/2/2 - 1961; DC 093/2/3 - 1977; DC 093/2/4 - 1977; DC 093/2/5 - 1978; DC 093/2/6 - 1979; DC 093/2/7 - 1980

MacGowan, Robert


DC 093/3/1, Portrait of Sheila Bates, 1961, one photograph; DC 093/3/3-6, ‘Penny Daintee’ dresses by Sheila McDonald, 1977 (see: DC 093/1/9-11) , four images; DC 093/3/7-14, Two photographs, one contact sheet, one contact sheet cut into five str...

Not available / given

Press Coverage

DC 093/4/1 Picture Post magazine published 7th February 1953, includes an article on the GSA Fashion Show; donated by Eirene Hunter (nee Paton), plus a loose copy of the article donated by Rena Hume.; DC 093/4/2 News cutting from 1961, donated by...

Not available / given

Papers of Veronica Matthew

  • DC 101
  • Collection
  • Late 20th century

The collection includes: Three mounted watercolours by Veronica Matthew (related to her studies on the Printed Textiles course at GSA); One printed textile by Veronica Matthew; Two embroidery samplers by Veronica Matthew (created as part of the Em...

Matthew, Veronica

Audiovisual material

GSA Archives and Collections hold 216 audiovisual files, covering a range of topics and a wide date range. The audiovisual material has been created both by GSA and by external organisations, such as the BBC (television and radio), STV and ITV, ot...

Webster, Chris

GSA Fashion Shows

A number of the GSA fashion shows were filmed and some of these films are held by GSA Archives and Collections, namely the films for 1978, 1982, 1984, 1985 and 1986. These show models on the stage plus in some cases backstage footage and/or stills...

Carruthers, Colin

GSA Fashion Show film

The 1978 Fashion Show was held in the Mackintosh Lecture Theatre from the 24th to 28th April 1978. The film comprises a combination of still images and film footage of students preparing for the show behind the scenes, and modelling on the stage. ...

Carruthers, Colin

GSA Fashion Show film

The exact date and location of the 1982 fashion show are unknown.  Other shows held around this time were however held in the spring, and in the Assembly building or in the Assembly Hall of the Bourdon Building. The film comprises footage of stude...

McLaughlin, Lyn

GSA Fashion Show film

The 1984 Fashion Show was held in the Assembly Building from 30th April to 5th May 1984. The film comprises images of the fashion show poster, followed by footage of the audience arriving at the venue and students modelling on the stage. There is ...

McLaughlin, Lyn

GSA Fashion Show film

This film comprises both the 1982 and 1984 fashion show films. The only exception is that the instrumental section with no images, at the end of the 1984 film, is not included here. For more details please see GSAA/AV/1/2 for the 1982 film and GSA...

McLaughlin, Lyn

GSA Fashion Show film

The 1985 Fashion Show was held in the Assembly Building from 11th to 16th March 1985. The film comprises footage of students modelling on the stage. There is a mixture of men’s and women’s garments.  Styles and themes of garments include African, ...

McLaughlin, Lyn

GSA Fashion Show film

The 1986 Fashion Show was held in the Assembly Hall from 10th to 15th March 1986. The film comprises footage of students modelling on the stage. There is a mixture of men’s and women’s garments.  Styles and themes of garments include Egyptian, met...

McLaughlin, Lyn