Friday, 22 April 2011

Influential Dundee

Our Blog Experience has almost came to a grand close.

We'd like to mention why each of us personally believe that Dundee and this blog are influential to our design work and the way we see textiles.

Louise Murray "I personally have always found Dundee's range of graffiti beautiful. I can always see its colour and shape taking on its own textile application and I love how its often against large textured structures and find myself wondering how that could be created with fabric. This blog has helped share this and I've learned more about Dundee as I'm not Dundonian." My Own Blog and Deviantart (My Work)

Graffiti ontop of Evans Store Next to Clock (How do they get up there?!) Photo By- Myself

Gill Rourke: 'As I have lived in Dundee for basically all my life, I guess until now i have been very unappreciative of my surroundings, but doing this project has forced me to look deeper into many aspects of Dundee - like the culture and architecture - and by doing so I have found a better understanding and appreciate the interesting quirks that the city holds.  The quirky things we've become more aware of have helped to influence and inspire my work in textile design.

Shiona McMahon-"I have always enjoyed quirky things so this project was great for me! Speaking to the designers in the hot spots we vistied was interesting as we found out their backgrounds and how they came to have their own stores. It gives me confidence as they started out the same as me." B.E.A utilful man!!!!!

Nicola Whyte- I have also lived in Dundee forever... but never took time to go around Dundee,  to see what interesting things Dundee has in it, but by doing this project for the blog I took a couple of days to go and explore- taking photos of when I  found unique and interesting things along the way. It makes you think that if you just take the time to go searching for something you might find things which will surprise you and inspire you .

Jemma Esposito

Caron Ironside - I've rarely visited Dundee and since coming to college here have only had time to either be at college or in the car heading to or from college, so this project provided a great opportunity to make time to see Dundee.  I was very impressed with the 3 companies we visited each waving the flag for independent designers and retailers with a twist, and was inspired by what I saw as we walked about.  I loved the quirky angle which developed from our hot spot visits and after some research and more time on the ground in the city began to really appreciate and enjoy Dundee's quirky style.  I will certainly make more time over the next year to get to know the city better and visit it more often, whether for work or fun.  I'm very inspired to create my own blog to chart my second year at Dundee college and will draw ideas and inspiration from what we've created and achieved with this project.

The recycling centre

On arrival, i was welcomed by a poorly hand-painted sign, in black and white.  Plain and simple.  Underneath the sign were various pieces of graffiti – nothing particularly legible... and on the other wall entrance was more – larger graffiti works.  I scanned across them to find a pledge which had been sprayed in a blood-dripping type style... Just lovely.

This aside, i went in with an open mind.  I looked around to see old furniture galore!  Anything you could imagine... Leather sofas and desk chairs; coffee tables and writing desks; washing machines, fridges and ovens; bed frames and wardrobes... I could go on. All these items listed were just the 'generic' pieces.  I also came across some more... let's say 'interesting' things, such as a car seat – and by 'car seat' i don't mind the kind that a child sits in for extra height in the car – i mean an actual seat which has been ripped straight out of a car.  At one point i thought to myself – this place sells everything except from the kitchen sink!  Until i came across a kitchen sink that is. 

So first thoughts on the recycling centre – i wasn't sure how this was an inspirational place.  That was until i looked in deeper.  I found some really interesting things, like the door handles on some very old wardrobes.  They had beautiful, intricate patterns. 

 I found a table with an old Singer sewing machine built into it, i thought that the design of the table was a great idea, it would be very useful! 

The old sofas and rugs had great patterns and designs on them too, i was seeing some proper vintage stuff, i felt quite privileged to be able to view these.  And soon i began to understand why Erin from RaRa's found this a place to come for inspiration.  I came across a collection of old mattresses, each with a completely different fabric pattern, which was an indicator as to what era they had come from... Some I'd go as far to say as from the 60's-70's with their psychedelic floral prints, more modern but still dated with tartan fabric and quite modern simple swirly patterns.  It was interesting to see the range of patterns... 

In conclusion to my trip, I would say give it a chance! It was often difficult to find what was so inspirational but when you do... It's definitely worth it!

Lorraine Law

LORRAINE LAW is a self taught jewellery designer who is currently based in Dundee but also has a shop in Perth on Princes Street. After an interview with her in her Dundee store we found out the following.
Q. Why did you decide to have a shop in Dundee?
A. [she] Saw a gap in the market for the business and was
originally from Dundee
Q. Does Dundee influence you’re designing?
A. Yes because of the Different culture not so many constraints and it has a more relaxed and vibrant atmosphere.
Q. Where is your favourite place in Dundee?
A. [Her] house it has a great view also the observatory in Dundee to see the overall view from the top.
Q. Do you have your own website?
A. Yes
Other information we got was that she worked better under pressures, she won an award for Scottish wedding jewellery, every year she chooses a charity and raises money for it and she has been doing this for 4 years.
She is influenced by Mary quant-so different and Zandra Rodes

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

See you at Locarno...

Locarno is definitely one of the coolest, quirkiest club nights in town.

Locarno is a unique club night playing music from the 50s & 60s - Rockabilly, Soul, Doo-Wop & Rock'N'Roll.

Find out more about Locarno here!

Monday, 18 April 2011

Some of Dundee's quirkier wildlife!

If you discover any other species lurking in the streets of the city - please let us know!

'March of the Penguins!' on wall of Old Steeple in Dundee City Centre.

A stowaway from The Discovery ship.

Semi-chem  squirrel!

The unicorn is part of the Frigate Unicorn at Dundee City Quay

Cheeky Monkey sat on top of information board in Dundee City Centre

Dragon found in the High Street..

Sunday, 17 April 2011

BECO Boutique.

'B'-ECO... get it?

BECO Boutique is one of Dundee's most popular independent  retailers, specializing in vintage and recycled clothing & accessories. Established in 2009 with the aid of Dundee's Wellgate Centre ‘Project Retail’. Beco Boutique was chosen to be one of the winners of the innovative startup grant. 
Since then, BECO Boutique has celebrated its first birthday, taken part in fashion shows and has even been featured in a book

BECO Boutique is not only be a shop but a brand which includes remade and doctored items of clothing, and travelling far and wide seeking out the best in vintage clothing and accessories that have history and mystery behind them. Beco Boutique has recently brought two exciting new brands to Dundee, Lazy Oaf and Stolen Thunder as part of their 'BECO Unique' section.

BECO Boutique Photoshoot August 2010

If you like what you see and would like to find out more about BECO Boutique or fancy picking yourself up some one-off treasures, why not pop down and pay a visit @ 4 Whitehall Crescent Dundee? Or you can see what they're up to via their Facebook page.

Charity Dance

Raising money to benefit Armistead Child Development Centre in Dundee. The centre houses a Therapy Nursery which is attended by children from all over Tayside, Angus and Perthshire.

Find out more about this event here!


Rara + Pretty Vacant Showrooms

HNC fashion and textile student at Dundee college, went to interview Erin Ward. She has an amazing and unique independent shop and this is the outcome of our interview...

“Creativeness isn’t forced upon you”

Q1: Is there anywhere you’d take yourself off too for a bit of peace and quiet?
“Recycling centre, I’d say is the most creative bit of Dundee, just because, creativeness isn’t forced upon you, you can take and leave it as you please.”
Q2: About the store?
“Going to refurbish, we’re shutting in May for two weeks because it’s been here for three years now. We’re going to start a fan scene, magazine, sketchbook; I’ve got a giant photocopier so you could use it as a library. But it’s all old students and graduates sketchbooks so you’re researching people who have worked here, and been inspired here(in Dundee)”.
Here are a few images of the store...

Q3: Marketing?
“At first using some ads but they don’t do much for a shop like this. I was paying a lot for good quality posters and flyer's to be honest I had to kind of learn that wasn’t doing anything. To be honest they’re kind of a waste of time, in a city like Dundee, word of mouth is everything. You’ve got to think outside the box a wee bit, or not even outside the box, just use online, its word of mouth”.
Q4: What else did you use to get word of mouth going?
“Posters, you know the information boards around town? I put them up there because that’s free, University campus, colleges and local pubs. I made beer mats; I took beer mats and just stuck  images on, about the shop and put them in all local pubs, the really local pubs, little kind of old man’s pubs. I made them look like Polaroid’s, so I had space at the bottom to write what the shop is about.
Q5: Do you think living in Dundee influences you’re design work?
“Definitely, I created a magazine for Dundee.” This “turned into a quarterly magazine”. It was to be all about Dundee at first but now “it’s grown bigger and bigger than just Dundee.” The magazine is called “Jude, Jude magazine. It’s going to be about encouraging creativity everywhere and Dundee definitely was the starting point of the magazine.” The magazine “was meant to be launched next year, but now we’ve got a publisher on board and with advertising and distributions it’s going to be mid 2011, when the first issue will be launched but it’s already online and there’s some events, so its starting up.”
Q6: What did you do at university?
“I did textile design, then opened the business and went back to university after the shop was opened for two years to do my masters, just in design.”
Q7: Have you got your own website, use networking site or blog?
“You know, I didn’t, I just started a blog. I do need a shops website, so that’s in the pipeline, to be honest the blogs the blog’s fine. I think more people look at blogs than just websites now. People tend to look at social networking sites and blogs before they go to websites. So I thought, I’ve got a tumbler website, its fine really, it’s really visual and that’s what the shop needs. I look at blogs all the time, it ranges from fashion to music to design blogs, but it’s mainly design blogs. Facebook is ridiculously good for a shop. I didn’t want to start using it but when I did I realized more and more people came in the shop. I think independent shops can be quite intimidating, but if you put images of what you’ve got on facebook you’ll see more people getting interested in it. If I put images up, I get a lot of attention, a burst of attention but I’ve got to kind of carry that on or else I won’t get any attention and nobody will come in. Everything is totally visual the blog, the networking, it’s all visuals.”
Q8: What do you enjoy most about being a designer?
“A lot of young customers that come here, that didn’t know what they wanted to do or even knew they like vintage clothes and I’ve given them work experience and references to college and things, now they’re going on to do portfolios and things when in high school they didn’t even do art.”
  You inspire them? “ a less sort of..bammy way to say it. Kind of encouraging it, instead of inspiring it.”

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Fish Fingers out - Fishy Feet in!

This really has to be worth a try!   The concept comes from Turkish hot springs where the Garra Rufa fish (not really Piranha’s) live and breed, and here in Dundee they’ll happily dine off the dead skin on your feet by sucking it off!!  Still interested?  The fish don’t have teeth and once they’re full, your feet are left soft and feeling and looking better!  So they say!   It doesn’t hurt but maybe a little ticklish, it’s also meant to help with stress and some people claim it helps with eczema and psoriasis after repeat treatments.

Pirhana Pedi are located inside Miss Hollywood in the Nethergate.  Check them out at or keep up with them at or for more info and opening times. 

Keep in touch if you dare to bare your toes and let us know what it’s like!

Friday, 1 April 2011

First Impressions

When entering Dundee on the A9, your first impression of the city comes from a decent sized road sign saying “Dundee, City Of Discovery”. Thereafter you pass a series of things such as classy sculptures, the historic Discovery ship, and the old bridge. It pieces together the image of a city proud of its rich history, in jute, science and multiple o...ther things. Which it is.

But I see Dundee differently every morning on the way in and out on the train to get me from home to college and back again. Most people in Dundee never need to use this method of transportation, so never have the chance to encounter the curious sight. I remember the first time I saw it. A colossal strip of graffiti like nothing I’d see in my own home town. The masterpiece can only be seen from on the train, as its stretched across a long fence just before Tesco’s, facing the way of the train tracks, not the main road. I remember the awe I felt when I first saw it, its bright colours, mixed textures and variation of lines. The build-up of multiple peoples work smashed together in a mesh of unplanned ingenuity.
That’s when I first met Dundee, in all its creative, curious glory.

Please check the video I took. It may not be as good. But it’s a general just.

QUIRKY DUNDEE – Expect the Unexpected!

Whatever you think you know about Dundee – think again!
No longer a tired post-industrial city, Dundee has developed into a modern, vibrant, diverse city now well known for it’s art scene, culture, innovations and research in science, medicine and technology.

It’s also very QUIRKY! Keep your eyes open and expect the unexpected and you’ll discover a Dundee of your own.

Our brief was to map out Dundee’s style. After a couple of hours wandering around town the quirky nature of the city really began to shine through. 

To get us started we visited three lovely and very different independent companies.  RaRa and The Pretty Vacant Showrooms (everything vintage), Lorraine Law (hand-made Jewellery) and BECO (modern vintage and recycled clothing).  Each one has a unique offering and help to make Dundee an interesting place to visit.

RaRa and The Pretty Vacant Show Room, Exchange Street Dundee.
Lorraine Law Jewellery Design, Commercial Street Dundee.
BECO Boutique, Whitehall Crescent Dundee.
Keep your eyes open for fabulous statues, sculptures, independent shops, cafés, views, buildings, street names, street entertainers etc etc. 

Our blog aims to keep you posted on what’s   different and interesting and we’d love to hear what defines the quirky style of Dundee for you!