Helen Ruth - Designer Spotlight
Scottish mythology is world famous for it's rich and colourful tales. It should only seem appropriate that designer Helen Ruth should capture the wearable embodiment of our heritage - and she does, spectacularly so. Keeping production local and ethical, Helen Ruth is yet another example of Scotland's supreme design talent. Now in it's sixth year of business, we caught up with the eponymous founder of the label to find out more about what's in store in the near future...
Hi, Helen! We are so in love with your "Lore of the Land" collection. Tell us all about it!
It all started from a conversation with my talented friend Jenny Sturgeon, a folk singer and songwriter, whose songs are about local folklore and legends. I loved the beautiful stories she tells, tainted with tragedy and other-worldliness and there was such a wealth of imagery to work with. I grew up in rural Aberdeenshire so a lot of the land-marks such as the Pictish Maiden Stone at the hill of Bennachie are part of my childhood. It was so interesting to learn about these stories from the land where I grew up.
What is it about Scottish folklore that inspires you?
I think it is that the tales are so beautiful but are tinged with darkness and tragedy. This really appeals to my design style - on the surface as having traditional elements of an attractive design but when you look closer into the details and discover the story behind the design there is darkness and mystery.
Your designs are beautiful. Why did you specialise in illustration over other crafts of the trade?
I've always enjoyed drawing as long as I can remember. When I was at art school I came to specialise in textiles and eventually print design, my other passion! I love being able to create wearable artworks from my designs.
A photo posted by Helen (@helenruthscarf) on Dec 5, 2015 at 5:34am PST
You've been on the Scottish design scene for a while now. What has been your greatest achievement to date?
There have been a few exciting moments, I loved taking part in the Scotland Re:Designed showcase and the opportunities that led on from that. Seeing my scarves stocked in boutiques around the world has probably been one of my biggest achievements, just growing the business slowly and on my own terms.
Similarly, what has been the biggest or most unexpected challenge of the process?
Not being a numbers girl, the accounts side of running a business has been a massive challenge!
There's been a lot of talk about trends becoming obsolete. What are your thoughts on this?
I think it is probably human nature to want what other people have, to have the latest trends in fashion and technology. However, I think the mass production of cheap fast fashion that leads to trends and fads will have to come to an end, with it neither being ethical or sustainable. I hope that in the future we will look at buying less and wearing more quality items that last.
We're all human and make mistakes. Tell us about the worst fashion trend you've been sucked into?
I don't know that I regret any of my fashion choices! I've always enjoyed dressing up and having fun with clothes, some of the things I wore when I was younger I definitely wouldn't wear now (patchwork flared jeans?!) but I loved at the time so I wouldn't call them a mistake.
Finally, what's your best advice for those just finding their feet in the fashion industry?
Take every opportunity that comes along! Sometimes what seems to be waste of time ends leading to something else totally unexpected, so go into everything with your eyes open and make the most of it.
A photo posted by Helen (@helenruthscarf) on Dec 5, 2015 at 4:12am PST
Lore of the Land - Helen Ruth
To view the complete "Lore of the Land" collection by Helen Ruth, head on over to her site here. What folklore tale would you love to see taken on next by Helen Ruth? Share your thoughts with us in the comments!