Fashion, Fantasy and Collaboration: The Legacy of Bill Gibb

Online Symposium

Aberdeen Art Gallery holds an unparalleled archive of drawings, patterns and outfits by internationally celebrated fashion designer Bill Gibb (1943-1988). Born in New Pitsligo, Aberdeenshire, and educated at Fraserburgh Academy, Gibb attended Central St Martin’s School of Art and the Royal College of Art, where fellow students included Zandra Rhodes and Ossie Clark. 

Gibb collaborated closely with tailors, knitters and textile designers to create fantastical garments which were adored by celebrities such as Twiggy, Bianca Jagger and Elizabeth Taylor. 

This online symposium celebrates Gibb’s legacy, his innovative approaches to design, collaboration and manufacture, and his relationship with the north-east of Scotland. 

Chaired by Josie Steed and Hilary Nicoll of Gray’s School of Art at Robert Gordon University, and with a keynote address by Christine Rew, Art Gallery & Museums Manager, this is a fantastic opportunity to explore Gibb’s remarkable legacy through fascinating presentations by fashion writers, curators and academics:


Christine Rew: Disciplined Flamboyance  
Christine Rew, Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums Manager, is a decorative arts specialist who has curated several contemporary craft, jewellery and fashion exhibitions including ‘Bill Gibb’ in 1990 and ‘Bill Gibb – the Golden Boy of British Fashion’ in 2003, the year that would have marked the designer’s 60th birthday. 

Bill Gibb’s Moment in Time: A Web of Memory Association 
NJ Stevenson is a fashion curator and writer, lecturer in cultural and historical studies and a member of the Centre for Fashion Curation at London College of Fashion, University of the Arts London. In 2008 she curated ‘Billy: Bill Gibb’s Moment in Time’ at the Fashion and Textile Museum. 


Gibb as storyteller, dreamer… 
Dr Marie McLoughlin is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Brighton, where she teaches Historical and Critical Studies to Fashion students. She trained as a designer at St Martin’s School of Art shortly after Bill Gibb. Dr McLoughlin is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Brighton, where she teaches Historical and Critical Studies to Fashion students. 

THE SHOW MUST GO ON: Was fashion designer Bill Gibb the greatest showman? 
Professor Iain R Webb is a fashion writer, curator and academic. He is a research professor at Kingston School of Art and associate lecturer at Central Saint Martins and Bath Spa University. He has been fashion editor of BLITZ, The Evening Standard, Harpers & Queen, The Times and Elle. His publications include ‘Bill Gibb – Fashion and Fantasy’. 


Bill Gibb and the Bay City Rollers: Putting the shang a lang in sustainable fashion 
Lynn Wilson is a textile designer and a circular economy business model expert. For the past 25 years, Lynn has brought a design perspective to the development of products and delivery of services in diverse locations including a high-security prison in Scotland to the Kalahari Desert, Botswana. Lynn is currently a PhD researcher at the Adam Smith Business School, University of Glasgow 


From Gibb to Gucci: how folklore fashions comfort in turbulent times 
Karen Cross studied textile design at Heriot-Watt University and worked as knitwear and jersey wear designer for fashion brands in London. She is now Academic Strategic Lead for Fashion Management, Events, Tourism and Hospitality in the School of Creative and Cultural Business, Robert Gordon University and leads the BA(Hons) and MSc Fashion Management courses there. Her research interests focus on how fashion and clothing can contribute to the psychosocial well-being of women; traditional Scottish textiles; and sustainable practices in fashion and textiles. 

Constructing a digital legacy: an analysis of user-generated imagery denoting the work of Bill Gibb on Instagram 
Dr Madeleine Marcella-Hood is a lecturer within the School of Creative and Cultural Business at Robert Gordon University. She is head of Stage 1 BA (Hons) Fashion Management and teaches a range of subjects including fashion business, communication and creative project management. 

Professor Peter Reid teaches at the School of Creative and Cultural Business, Robert Gordon University. His work is centred around cultural heritage with a strong emphasis on the narratives of the north and north-east of Scotland.  

Christina Stewart is the Course Leader of Digital Marketing BA (Hons) at Robert Gordon University. She lectures in digital marketing and fashion management, including digital marketing strategy, brand management, fashion buying and trend forecasting.


The Bill Gibb Line 
Originally from Fraserburgh, Shane Strachan is a writer and performer based in Aberdeen. He holds a PhD in Creative Writing from the University of Aberdeen and he was awarded a 2018 Robert Louis Stevenson Fellowship from the Scottish Book Trust for his creative work responding to the legacy of Bill Gibb. Originally commissioned for Look Again 2019, ‘The Bill Gibb Line’ was a spoken-word film and exhibition inspired by the life and career of Bill Gibb and was exhibited in Aberdeen Art Gallery throughout 2020 


The Symposium features a specially-recorded conversation with Bill Gibb’s sisters Patsy, Janet and Marlyn. 

This event will take place on Microsoft Teams. You will be sent joining instructions 48 hours in advance of the Symposium.  


Download the speakers’ programme below:





Aberdeen City Council