"I’m trying to tell my own story."

Helen Lawrence has knitwear covered, Hannah Weiland has faux fur down, Molly Goddard’s on track to own party dresses and Faustine Steinmetz is tackling denim, elsewhere Sam McCoach is reclaiming the kilt.

In 2015 London’s womenswear contingent not only make good as an S Club Party style catalogue, but provide prominent house codes; these women aren’t offering novelty one season style, not yet are they one trick ponies, but contemporary interpreters of classic TBT attire.

None so much as relative newbie McCoach, who founded Le Kilt in 2013. Named after the Soho club of legendary 80’s post-Blitz fame and specialising in bespoke kilt making, Le Kilt owes much to the designer’s ancestry, as Samantha explains: “My grandmother worked as a kilt maker in the Royal Mile Edinburgh for years.”

“She left when the company was bought out around 15 years ago, so I hadn’t really thought too much about kilts. It wasn’t until one Christmas my grandmother remade me a short black watch kilt; I wore it all the time.”

What began as a ‘for friends’ only thing soon turned into a ‘for friends and friends of friends’ only thing, until all that got silly and a real life label was born (perhaps). Dover Street Market was amongst the first in line to claim itself a stockist – “I couldn’t believe it to be honest, a dream really!” – and last month the label made its London Fashion Week debut.

“I was most apprehensive about what my grandmother would think. She is one of the most stylish women I know and a huge perfectionist,” Clash is told. “She came down to London for my presentation and was smiling, so that was a relief.”

McCoach senior wasn’t the only one beaming; a Friday night affair on Greek Street (one time home to the label’s namesake), Xavier String Trio relayed The Verve’s ‘Bittersweet Symphony’ – there’s video evidence on Instagram – while eyes fixed in on Le Kilt’s posse of young ladies in cashmere turtlenecks, tartan kilts, patent loafers and tam tam hats, (a collab with Nixon, here, also made an appearance). 

“For me design is considered and should be about making something the best it can be,” says Sam of her approach, “'Reinventing the wheel’ I intend to look at the original Le Kilt my grandmother first made for me and build on this every season."

“AW15 looks at chunky, bolder buckles and different lengths of kilts. The black watch tartan (the first kilt my grandmother made for me) is the core of our classic kilts. We also ran a lurex thread through the tartan this season, to create a glitter kilt.”

Titled ‘She Said Boom’ in reference to the post-punk fanzine created by the Canadian all female band of the early 80’s, Fifth Column (a ‘story of’ film of the same name was released in 2012), the collection further explores McCoach’s interest in the decade’s subcultures.

“It’s amazing to see groups of people coming together and telling the same story,” she elaborates of a long term preoccupation, “but I wouldn’t say I was trying to translate the theme directly into kilts. Kilts are full of history, both subcultural and traditional. I’m trying to tell my own story and give the kilt a conscious place back into the everyday modern female wardrobe.”

Words: Zoe Whitfield



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