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Inverness fashion student has work showcased in the Big Apple to raise awareness of mental health charity

By Val Sweeney

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Fashion designer Chloe Innes.
Fashion designer Chloe Innes.

An Inverness fashion design student who completed her degree alone in lockdown is having her work showcased during New York Fashion Week.

Chloe Innes (22), of Oldtown Road, Hilton, was one of two winners in a global competition to raise funds and awareness for Inverness suicide prevention charity Mikeysline.

Her collection, inspired by lockdown isolation and the efforts of the charity, will feature in a catwalk show for fashion house Flying Solo tomorrow - just days after World Suicide Prevention Day.

The competition was launched after Pablo Lopez, the owner of the website Fashion Week Online, visited the charity's Hive drop-in centre in Academy Street.

He had watched the film, The Party’s Just Beginning, made by Inverness-born Hollywood actress and Mikeysline ambassador Karen Gillan, which looked at the issue of suicide.

Although the competition was open to designers worldwide, there was a focus on the Highlands after he learned of the area’s high suicide rate, particularly among young people.

Ms Innes, who graduated this year from Heriot Watt University in Edinburgh with a first class honours fashion degree, said her designs were a tribute to the work of Mikeysline and that her sustainable designs mirrored the charity’s ethos.

The designs by Chloe Innes, of Inverness.
The designs by Chloe Innes, of Inverness.

"The clothes we wear are a statement of who we are as individuals," said the former Culloden Academy pupil.

"When we are trying to enforce a positive image about ourselves, our look should reflect who we want to be."

She said organisations such as Mikeysline were integral for the future of the Highlands.

"We are living in a time where, now more than ever, it is important to have a positive support system around us," she said.

"Percentages of loneliness are rising alarmingly quickly in Scotland with 43 per cent of 18 to 24-year-olds reporting feelings of loneliness during lockdown.

"My collection takes inspiration from my personal experience in lockdown, from the emotions I felt and how I dealt with them.

"In April, I completed my four-year-long degree alone in my childhood bedroom.

"It was not the ending I had always dreamed of. However, it was the ending I had.

"It left me with many anxious feelings about the future."

She is now hoping to start her own sustainable brand and move to London to build a career in the fashion industry.

She wanted to send a strong message across the Highlands and beyond.

"I hope that this collection can bring about a positive change in raising awareness of the services available and bring hope and happiness to people through fashion," she said.

She explained her designs included hexagonal-shapes to represent the importance of the Hive project while green tones, representing nature and tranquillity, were thought to relieve stress and help to heal.

The Hive, which offers appointments and drop-in services, recently re-opened after being closed during the coronavirus lockdown. Mikeysline also offers a text line service at 07779 303 303.

Related story: Mikeysline to reopen Hive drop-in centre

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