£200 'Dundee Raincoat' unveiled as V&A museum's first official fashion wear

Dundee’s V&A today unveiled its first own brand of clothing – in the form of a £200 limited edition raincoat painstakingly made by one of the country’s leading ethical fashion designers.

Thursday, 8th October 2020, 7:00 am
Updated Thursday, 8th October 2020, 11:52 am
The Dundee Raincoat will only be available to buy at the city's new V&A museum. Picture: Julie Howden.
The Dundee Raincoat will only be available to buy at the city's new V&A museum. Picture: Julie Howden.

Just 20 of the “Dundee Raincoats” – which come in both orange and navy – have been hand-created by Kerrie Alexander over the last six months.

She joined forces with the city’s new waterfront museum, which opened just two years ago, and historic Dundee textile firm Halley Stevensons to create the unisex garments, which are all individually numbered.

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The design of the raincoats, which are made of waterproof wax cotton, is also said to be inspired by Dundee's heritage of “innovation, creativity and resilience.”

Kerrie Aldo and Halley Stevensons managing director unveiled The Dundee Raincoat outside the city's V&A museum.

The design, which was created from scratch by Alexander, was based on a traditional fisherman’s “slicker” coat, after she explored the archives of the company, which has pioneered the development of wax cotton since it began life as a jute mill in 1864.

Alexander has also created a limited run of 20 matching bags, costing £45 each, for the raincoats. Both are only available from the V&A Dundee design shop.

The Dundee designer has pursued a “slow fashion” philosophy since she set up her own studio and brand, KerrieAldo, in 2014 to offer an ethical alternative to mass-produced fashion.

Alexander said: "To me, slow fashion is all about choosing better and buying less. It’s the opposite of a quick fix and about buying something to last, caring for it and making sure it’s in your wardrobe for years and years.

Kerrie Alexander and her new 'Dundee Raincoat outside the V&A museum. Picture: Julie Howden

"The price might be a bit higher, but it is going to last you longer. It’s not designed to be thrown away or something you only wear once and get rid of.

"From a designer’s point of view, it means choosing better fabrics, better finishing, using more sustainable materials and getting better quality overall.

“When I was first approached about this, the original brief was actually for a raincoat. Outerwear has been my main focus since I set up my brand so this was right up my street.

"I've always been passionate about how raincoats are made, all the details in them and the possibilities of using different linings and fabrics.

"Wax cotton sometimes has connotations of being a bit waxy or oily. This fabric isn’t like that at all, but it has all the same waterproof properties.

"I really wanted to try to incorporate the origins of wax cotton, which was originally used to protect the sails of boats and was then worn by fisherman. That’s where the idea of the hood came from.

"I don’t often leave the house without a hooded jacket on myself. There’s a good feeling when you put one on one.

"This project was slightly different for me as I usually make a lot of one-off pieces.

"The thing I didn’t expect with this is that I’ve ended up doing the whole project on my own. I usually work with a team of freelancers, but obviously that’s not been possible with the pandemic. They’ve all been completely hand-crafted, using an industrial sewing machine.”

Christian Moire, director of operations at V&A Dundee, said: "Halley Stevensons supplies international brands with their high-quality waxed cotton, so it was a natural fit for us to collaborate with them and KerrieALDO.”

Jimmy Campbell, managing director of Halley Stevensons, said: “Halley Stevensons is pretty unique in that we work in the same way with large brands as we do with smaller artisan labels such as KerrieALDO.

"There’s an understanding with our clients that we help them in any way we can, and they are part of our research and development with the feedback they give us in return. It’s an added bonus for us to watch brands develop with our product.

“The Dundee Raincoat combines authentic heritage with contemporary style."

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