IT could be described as a marriage made in heaven for Bruce Roberts, with news that the Kelso fashion designer has joined the textiles staff at Heriot-Watt University’s campus in Galashiels.
It was last month that the Dundee native officially took up his new four-day-a-week post as teaching fellow in fashion technology at the university’s School of Textiles & Design (SoTD).
Mr Roberts’ appointment was one of four announced this week.
The owner of Collections By in Kelso, he is a former SoTD graduate and has spent the last 10 years based in Kelso, designing bespoke wedding gowns and evening attire, using a wide range of fabrics in both contemporary and traditional styles.
The other three new staff members include Glasgow-based artist, writer and curator Fiona Jardine, who joins as lecturer in context.
She has exhibited widely, but has spent the majority of her career at the University of Dundee, teaching textile design.
Award-winning textile designer Dr Sara Keith will become a lecturer in textile design with innovation.
She worked as a costume designer for the BBC, ITV, Royal Opera and Royal Ballet before setting up her own luxury accessory label.
And Aude Le Guennec, a French fashion historian specialising in children’s clothing, has been appointed as lecturer in fashion design.
Mr Roberts says he is relishing his new post and the challenges of helping to educate future generations of designers.
“I’m absolutely loving it,” Mr Roberts said this week.
“I was approached by the university last summer about doing some teaching three mornings a week and was delighted to do that.
“Then this permanent position of teaching fellow came up, I applied and was successful, I’m very pleased to say.
“I started in January and am now teaching four days a week. It’s really exciting and, to be honest, feels a bit like coming home having been a student here myself.”
Mr Roberts says the university wanted to hire someone for the job with commercial experience to draw on.
“If I hadn’t had the experience of running a business, I would never have got this position with the university.
“A lot of my time here is spent in the workroom and I am teaching students from first through to third year.” Mr Roberts says it is vital students on the textiles courses get an appreciation of what working in the real world is like.
“We have very close contacts with industry and the university is very keen to employ lecturers with industry experience,” he said.
“The aim is to provide a real education for real jobs.”
Professor Alison Harley, head of SoTD, commented: “In order to further enhance our position as one of the world’s leading education and research institutions, we are pleased to be bringing in four new lecturers, each of whom brings a breadth of experience and expertise in their particular field.”