Student bags the opportunity to sell sustainable fashion pieces in Buchanan Galleries

Thu, 04 Nov 2021 19:30:00 GMT
(Pictured above) Katie at her pop-up space in The Scottish Design Exchange in Buchanan Galleries
(Pictured above) Katie at her pop-up space in The Scottish Design Exchange in Buchanan Galleries

A GCU student has been provided with a retail space to sell her self-made environmentally friendly tote bags in a popular Glasgow shopping centre.

Second year International Fashion Branding student Katie Hutchinson has been lucky enough to be funded with a retail space in an art store in Glasgow’s Buchanan Galleries.

Upcycling garments and reusing clothes has become a hot-topic in recent times – and Katie has used her creative embroidering skills to offer a service in which people can have their old clothes revamped.

Having only started this project this year – Katie was overjoyed to see her small business soar and has now been provided with space to sell her bespoke items to the public.

We had a chat with Katie about this exciting new venture and future for sustainability in fashion.

Tell us about your sustainable tote bag business and your new partnership with Buchanan Galleries?

Katie Koutures is a small business I created over lockdown. I offer embroidery services, alteration services and paint tote bags to offer an alternative to single use shopping bags.

It is not just a business that embroiders new items of clothing, here we embroider our customers’ existing items of clothing. This is in an attempt to be more sustainable and encourage my consumers to get more use out of their current clothing items.

This is a necessary business idea that will have benefits to save the environment we all live in. The future is sustainable fashion.

My business allows my consumers the freedom to choose any design they wish and I embroider/paint it and bring it to life.

Through the university I was made aware that the Scottish Design Exchange shop were looking to sponsor a space for a fashion student to sell their work there. I applied and was successful now I can sell my tote bags here whilst still advertising my embroidery and alteration services.

How are your bags made?

My bags are manufactured sustainably and produced locally.

They are made out of organic natural cotton which is good as this will not harm the environment, especially as it’s not dyed.

How do you feel about your very own product being sold in a shop in the busy city centre of Glasgow?

It was such a surreal feeling seeing my products being sold at Buchanan Galleries, I’ve always shopped in there since I was younger so to see my own items there was such a cool experience.

Do you hope to build on this business venture and sell more/various products in the future?

I have this space in Buchanan Galleries for a year so I’m not sure what the future will bring.

I hope to continue selling my bags in the future and offering my embroidery services as it’s so fun to do it and it’s great knowing I am offering sustainable solutions for shopping.

What would your advice be to students who might have a business idea they want to launch?

Go for it!! However, I would definitely say make sure you are organised.

It’s been a bit challenging juggling uni work alongside running a business and then having a social life too. But, with a bit of planning I’m able to fit everything in and not be stressed out about it.

It’s such a rewarding feeling seeing your own products/business idea come to life and it’s a great way to get people to shop locally which is more sustainable.

Do you think COP26 will make people more aware of sustainability in the fashion industry? And investing in items like your tote bags?

I hope COP26 does change people’s minds about sustainability and highlights the importance to make small changes to your lifestyle in order to save our planet.

Small changes like buying locally, recycling clothing, and getting more use out of your old clothing can benefit our environment massively and reduce your own carbon footprint.

Investing in items like my tote bag is a great alternative to buying a single use shopping bag which will not only be great for the planet but it will save you money in the future too as these bags are long lasting.

Shop Katie’s sustainable range on Instagram


By Rebecca Meechan

Got a story you’d like to share on our Student Newsroom? Get in touch with me on Facebook, our GCU Student Life page or email