Thursday 4 February / 6–8pm
Marion & David Donaldson In Conversation
Fashion label Marion Donaldson, founded in Scotland in 1966, led the Glasgow fashion scene in the late 20th century with a flamboyant mix of Liberty print garments and sixties silhouettes. Yet it is only recently that the label has begun to be acknowledged by fashion historians alongside other British brands of the period. Enjoy this rare opportunity to meet Marion and David Donaldson in person, and to learn of their critical and commercial success, as well as their love for Liberty.
Known in Glasgow as ‘the Scottish Mary Quant’, Marion Donaldson (1944 -) started her label at the kitchen table with only £50. Her early designs for Glasgow’s In Gear boutique sold out so quickly that she and her husband David cut and stitched frantically to meet demand. Despite having no training in fashion or design, the brand grew at such a pace that Marion Donaldson was outsourcing her manufacturing within a few months, and by the 1970s annual turnover had hit £1million.
Credited as bringing ‘Swinging London’ to Glasgow, the Marion Donaldson aesthetic was flamboyant, modern and bright. Unlike their contemporaries Biba and Laura Ashley, the Donaldsons were never tempted to run their own retail operation, choosing instead to sell their designs through third party retailers, including Liberty London. Marion Donaldson has said: ‘I think because the fashion boutiques in Glasgow sold so many of our clothes, people thought that we had our own shop.’ This important British fashion brand weathered two recessions, a monumental fire, and all the usual entrepreneurial ups and downs over thirty-three years, finally closing on Marion and David’s retirement in 1999.
Marion and David Donaldson will be in conversation with Jade Halbert, an ESRC-funded PhD candidate at the University of Glasgow, currently working on her thesis, Marion Donaldson: fashioning a phenomenon in post-war Glasgow
Price: £15 / £12 students
Ticket includes admission to LIBERTY IN FASHION exhibition. The event starts at 6pm with a glass of wine in the Museum foyer; the ‘in-conversation’ event follows at 6.15pm for 6.30pm in the Fashion Studio and lasts for approximately one hour including the chance to ask questions at the end. Guests are welcome to view the exhibition before or after the event.
Places limited and advance booking recommended
Marion Donaldson and Jade Halbert are also participants in the Liberty Study Day on Wednesday 3 February.
Image: Marion and David Donaldson in 1966, photographed in front of a mural by the Glasgow artist Alasdair Gray, whose flat they lived in at the time. Photo © Courtesy Marion and David Donaldson