RGU student fashions himself an exclusive placement at Johnstons of Elgin

A third year student studying fashion and textiles at Robert Gordon University’s (RGU) Gray’s School of Art has won an exclusive placement opportunity with respected Scottish woollen mill, Johnstons of Elgin.

Making It Personal winnerCallum Donnan (22), from Dundee, was selected as the winner of a live project in collaboration with Johnstons and will now take up a two-week paid placement at the company’s base in Hawick.

As part of the project, the students were required to come up with concepts for clothing which reflected the brief title of ‘Making It Personal’, designing a range of styles on paper before translating them into samples and final garments.

A judging panel from Johnstons visited RGU to meet with the students and see their designs and work earlier the week, when they announced Callum the overall winner.

Callum said: “My design was based on the buildings in my hometown of Dundee. I took inspiration from the way the council patches up buildings that were starting to decay or were lying empty.

“Overall I tried to make the garment look beautiful but in the detail, each patch was there to represent a place in Dundee which I did not want to be forgotten.

“Working on a live project was daunting at first, but with research and an understanding of the company you are designing for, I found it more motivating than anything. I always made sure I followed the client’s advice when designing for them.”

Callum is preparing to travel to Denmark as an exchange student for four months, after which he will head to Johnstons in Hawick to work with their design team.

“I am studying in Denmark next semester for five months. I will be studying fashion film and transmedia. I have a love of photography and developing my skills in this field would help showcase my work off more efficiently when it comes to my 4th year collection. 

“It’s wonderful to have this work experience to look forward to on my return which will help develop my skills in this area.”

Runner up, Annemette Kærsgaard (21), an RGU Erasmus student from Denmark, added: “It has been an amazing experience and I have learned so much thanks to the many excellent teachers, tutors and technicians here at Gray's. 

“It was very interesting to visit the Johnstons production in Hawick and also to talk to them about their view on the fashion industry. The project allowed me to find out what interests me and what my aesthetics are as a designer.”

Jenny Houldsworth, Culture and Communications Manager at Johnstons of Elgin, said: “Johnstons of Elgin is delighted to collaborate with RGU Gray’s School of Art on this live project. 

“We look forward to welcoming Callum to our knitwear mill in Hawick for his placement so he can further development his learning within our working environment.”


Release by Rob Smith
Communications Officer | Design and Technology
Press and Media Enquiries