Inside

Kirsty McDougall

Info

  • Kirsty McDougall is Senior Tutor in Woven Textiles at the Royal College of Art.

    She is the co-founder of menswear textile brand Dashing Tweeds and director of Kirsty McDougall Woven Textile Design. Her work has been exhibited internationally in museums, on catwalks and in many books and publications. Kirsty won a Jerwood Prize in 2010 and Dashing Tweeds won a Scottish Fashion Award for Textiles in 2012.

    Kirsty has extensive experience in teaching and mentoring at a wide range of institutions. Her research interests include exploring the combinations of heritage and technology in wool-based textiles; new materials and intelligent textile development; sustainability in UK based fashion and textile design and manufacture and developing new modes of working for the textile designer/ manufacturer.

  • Biography

  • Kirsty McDougall was born in Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis and brought up in Dunkeld, Perthshire. She studied at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art in Dundee, before completing an MA at the RCA.

    After graduation, Kirsty began working freelance for companies including Louis Vuitton, Jaeger, Nike, Biba and Bella Freud, as well as producing concept fabrics for the re-branding of Liberty.

    In 2006 she launched the textile brand Dashing Tweeds with photographer Guy Hills. Dashing Tweeds combines the heritage of tweed with the use of technical yarns and finishes to produce functional and innovative suitings. The company endeavours to work in collaboration with British mills and all textile production is done within the UK. In 2011, Kirsty spoke at an All Party Parliamentary Group at the House of Lords concerning the use of UK manufacture within a small textiles business.

    Dashing Tweeds fabrics are sold to customers worldwide from their shop on Sackville Street and through online sales. The development of ‘lumatwill’, a reflective tweed suiting, led to a small collection of menswear accessories being designed and stocked in Dover Street Market, London, and Comme Des Garcons Isetan, Tokyo. Dashing Tweeds have also collaborated on a range of co-branded Converse trainers and have worked with Hudson shoes on a successful co-branded range. Boxfresh X Dashing Tweeds launched in September 2013.

    Through her studio business, Kirsty McDougall Woven Textile Design, Kirsty has developed textiles for clients including Erdem, Tom Ford, Billionaire Boys Club, Henry Holland, McQueen, Holly Fulton, Radley Handbags, Depeche Mode, Jonathan Saunders, Gieves and Hawkes, Louise Gray and Aquascutum. Woven commissions are also developed for interiors, film and the science sector.

    Dashing Tweeds has been featured in recent exhibitions include Fashion Vs. Sport, V&A, London; Artist/ Rebel/ Dandy: Men of Fashion, Rhode Island Museum of Design, USA, and Wool House, Somerset House, London. The company was also featured in the BBC documentary series, British Style Genius and Tweed. Kirsty has also shown as part of Jerwood Contemporary Makers and in the exhibition Warp and Weft at the National Wool Museum in Wales. Her work is in the permanent collections of the V&A, London, and the Rhode Island School of Design, and is part of the archive at Universal Studios in Hollywood, Los Angeles.
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  • Practice

  • Kirsty McDougall specialises in jacquard and dobby woven fabrics and has over ten years experience in textile development for the fashion industry. She also co-founded menswear fabric company Dashing Tweeds in 2006.

    Early work explored ideas of irreverence, good and bad taste, trash and luxury, handmade and manufactured through multi-disciplinary processes.

    Through Dashing Tweeds, Kirsty became interested in ideas of colour, pattern and function in menswear, developing a range of qualities and suiting in a variety of materials. Dashing Tweeds endeavour to combine technical and functional yarns and materials within wool, linen and silk luxury cloths. Dashing Tweeds sells to an international client base and collaborates on co-branded products with a variety of companies globally.

    Kirsty McDougall Woven Textile Design Studio works in collaboration with the fashion, music, science and interior industries to develop jacquard and dobby woven design and  hand-woven meterage for catwalk, as well as providing manufacturing consultancy. This work often uses multi-disciplinary processes and experimentation with new materials. 

    Her current project explores methods of collective working within the textile designer/manufacturer business model.

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  • Publications, exhibitions and other outcomes

  • Exhibitions

    2016

    Maison D'Exceptions at Premier Vision Paris (Kirsty McDougall Woven Textile Design)

    2015

    Selected 2015 at Dovecot Studios, Edinburgh (Dashing Tweeds)

    2013

    Artist/ Rebel/ Dandy, Rhode Island Museum of Art, USA 2013

    Wool House, Somerset House, London, March 2013

     2012

    Great Week of Creativity, selected as representative of UK design, Hong Kong, 2012

    Best of Britannia, London, 2012

    Future Fabrics Expo, London, 2012

    London Collections: Men, 2012

    2011

    Future Fabrics Expo, London, 2011

    2010

    Jerwood Contemporary Makers, London, Belfast, Edinburgh, 2010

    Warp and Weft 2: From Hand Loom to Production, National Wool Museum, Wales 2010

    Fish and Chips Twice Please, Museum Quartier, Vienna, 2010 

    2009

    Fashion Vs. Sport, V&A, London, 2009 

    2008

    The London Cut, Savile Row exhibition, British Embassies in Tokyo and Paris, 2008


    Presentations, Public Lectures and Workshops

    Presentation, Stroud International Textiles Festival: Handweave to Manufacture, 2014

    Lecture, Rhode Island Museum of Art and Design, 2013

    Presentation and workshop, The London Look, Paris Wanderlust, event co-organised with the V&A to celebrate the opening night of the 2012 Olympic Games

    Presentation, the London Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers, 2012

    Presentation, Off the Loom: Woven Explorations in Art, Science and Industry, Stroud International Textiles Festival, , 2011

    Presentation, Innovative Craft, public debate during Jerwood Contemporary Makers, the Dovecot in Edinburgh, 2011


    Conferences

    Presentation, Close to Home/ Made in UK, All Party Parliamentary Group on Sustainability and Ethics in Fashion, 2011

     ‘A Case Study of Innovation in Contemporary Tweed’, Fashion and Luxury: Between Heritage and Innovation, IFFTI Conference, Paris, 2011

    Panel member in discussion of manufacture and sustainability, RITE conference, 2011

    ‘An Emerging Research presentation exploring the relationship between heritage, technology and traditional production techniques within woven textiles’, FTC conference, Liverpool, 2009


    Publications

    McDougall, K., and Harper, C. (2012) ‘The Very Recent Fall and Rise of Harris Tweed’, The Journal of Cloth and Culture, 10:1, pp.78–99


    Television

    British Style Genius, documentary series, BBC 2, 2009

    Tweed, three-part documentary series, BBC 4, 2009

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  • Awards and Grants

  • Awards

    Shortlisted, 2013 Textile Business of the Year, Natwest UKFT Awards

    Winner, Textile Brand of the Year 2012, the Scottish Fashion Awards

    Grants 

    AHRC FIREup Award
    Kirsty McDougall Woven Textiles was awarded £3500 to explore new models of collective working for textile designers.

    Research Challenges Award (£31,027), University of Brighton, 2011
    This funded the cross-disciplinary team project, ‘Seismic Shifts’, with Professor Susannah Hagan, Dr Joan Farrer and Kate Cheyne. The project aimed to develop an intelligent textile using a strain-sensitive carbon nanotube polymer that can be embedded into structural systems to sense earth tremor movement and warn of potential structural failure in global fault regions prone to earthquakes. 

    University of Brighton Faculty Research Fund (£2500), 2011
    This award supported the project, ‘The Resurrection of Fox’, which investigated design from archive.

Selected work

Research

Research interests

Kirsty’s research focuses on combinations of heritage and technology in wool fabrics, taste and luxury, intelligent textile development, the re-articulation of archival sources, UK-based indigenous fashion and textile design and manufacture, sustainable textile manufacture and the development of alternative business models for textile practitioners for fashion.