Thistles Shopping Centre, Stirling has announced top Scottish designer Iona Crawford as the latest star recruit to its #STIRLINGSHINES campaign which celebrates the achievements of inspirational talent. The reveal is timed as part of International Women’s Day which is celebrated globally on Friday the 8th of March.

One of the country’s most exciting designers, the 33-year-old who grew up on the family farm in Stirling, specialises in textiles, interiors and lighting, as well as creating bespoke fashion showstoppers on request.

An alumni of Scotland’s renowned Edinburgh College of Art – where her graduate collection of conceptual tailoring gained her first-class Honours – Ms. Crawford’s journey has seen her collaborate with the industry’s leading lights and her designs featured in the world’s most illustrious magazines including Vogue and Tatler.

Having enjoyed the support of iconic Scottish textile brand Johnstons of Elgin, whose sponsorship of cashmere for her early collections guaranteed instant provenance and luxury, the designer was a hot fixture at London, Paris, Milan and New York fashion weeks for over six years, as well as a regular exhibitor in Japan.

The transition from designing fashion to luxury interiors furnishings then developed as a response to feedback and demand from customers, eager to have the Iona Crawford signature across their residential and commercial spaces. What started as a sideline project is now a rapidly growly, globespaning business that in 2019 will see Ms. Crawford expand her sales agency representation across the US, Italy, UAE and Mexico to meet increased demand.

Drawing inspiration from the natural environment in which she grew up, Iona Crawford’s designs have been applied to stunning effect across wallpapers, fabrics for drapery and upholstery and soft furnishings. They can be found in many of the world’s most stylish and prestigious hospitality destinations including The Carlyle in New York City and the award-winning Key West H20 Suites in Florida, as well as within the private homes of discerning customers internationally.

Growing up on her parent’s rural Stirling farm with two sisters, Ms. Crawford experienced first hand how species and nature co-exist in harmony. It is this understanding that inspired her recent CrawfordXFairlie ‘Our Secret Garden’ collaboration with the late, great two-Michelin-starred chef Andrew Fairlie. Located on the magnificent Gleneagles estate – Mr. Fairlie was the celebrated chef and patron of his eponymously-named restaurant within the hotel – The Secret Garden provides the visual language for the breathtakingly original ceramic and fabric collection that can be found across fine-bone china, dinner plates, teapots and cups and saucers, luxury linen and cotton velvets.

The collection is one of fifteen in the Iona Crawford portfolio and with the now Glasgow-based designer launching a new collection every season, and plans to grow the business into further new international markets, 2019 is already proving a busy year. In the last six months Ms. Crawford has seen her work take her on a dizzying travel schedule including New York, Dallas, Houston, Austin, Chicago, Atlanta, Las Vegas, Paris and Bruges.

The designer attributes her unshakeable work ethic to growing up on the farm. Indeed, at the age of 21 she looked after the entire operation for five weeks on her own whilst her parents travelled through The Himalayas.

It was fitting therefore that when invited to star in the #STIRLINGSHINES campaign for Thistles, Stirling, Ms. Crawford chose to return to the farm as the stunning backdrop.

Speaking about taking part in Thistles #STIRLINGSHINES, Iona Crawford said;

“I was delighted and honoured to be invited to take part in the campaign, shooting in the beautiful Stirlingshire countryside where it all began.

“It was an unusual experience being on the other side of the lens. I am so accustomed to managing everything on fashion and interior shoots so the role reversal presented a new perspective for me.

“It was wonderful though showcasing some of my favourite fashion archive pieces as well as pieces from Thistles new season collections.”

Gary Turnbull, Centre Director of Thistles added;

“Iona is a wonderful ambassador for Stirling and we are thrilled to be celebrating her achievements through the #STIRLINGSHINES campaign.

“It is clear to see how much the natural environment inspires her incredible work and Thistles was delighted when she took time out of her busy schedule for the shoot back on the family farm.

“We would like to thank her for being part of our campaign and wish her every continued success.”

To find out more about #STIRLINGSHINES and share your story about a local hero, visit www.thistlesstirling.com