The brief was challenging but incredibly exciting - to create innovative, knitted pieces that can be worn by players of all ages, and be recognisable as representing Shetland to an international audience.
The specially designed knitwear was made here in the village by Laurence Odie and his team who have done a fabulous job in knitting the pieces for all of the fiddlers.
With thanks to the wonderful Shetland Fiddlers for this inspiring commission.
Shetland knitwear design studio Nielanell won the commission to design the costumes being worn by the Shetland Fiddlers when they perform. The bespoke knitwear has been designed and made in the tiny village of Hoswick, where Nielanell and knitwear producer Laurence Odie and his team are based.
The theme for the Shetland Fiddlers is the Mirrie Dancers (the Northern Lights). Inspired by the colours, lights and majesty of the Mirrie Dancers, the highly original knitwear showcases the designer’s ability to transform traditional Shetland knit into contemporary designs.
Nielanell explains: “The brief was challenging but incredibly exciting - to create innovative, knitted pieces that can be worn by players of all ages, and be recognisable as representing Shetland to an international audience.
“I tried to capture the luminosity, the changing colours and the playfulness of the Mirrie Dancers by using reflective yarns and threads and an unusual sleeve style which dances when the players are fiddling.
"My aim was to provide a stunning visual effect when the fiddlers are seen from a distance in a group and also individually. I hope these original designs adequately represent the traditions and culture of knitwear and music in Shetland, past and future.”
With lighting and sound provided by top professional teams who have worked on productions such as BBC’s 'Strictly Come Dancing' and ITV’s 'The X Factor' this promises to be the experience of a lifetime for all involved - and an unprecedented opportunity to showcase the culture, and knitwear, of Shetland.
The Tattoo runs from 1 August to 23 August on the Esplanade of Edinburgh Castle. It is a global showcase with groups from over 46 countries performing to an international audience of almost 9,000 each night, with the BBC coverage broadcast all over the world to an audience in the region of 100 million.
Margaret Scollay of the Shetland Fiddlers Tattoo Working Group said: “This is a huge opportunity to take Shetland into the homes of people worldwide and is the biggest stage our fiddle players could dream of. The atmosphere is beyond anything I've ever encountered.
“I am delighted with the originality and contemporary style of our costume. It has the lace and Fair Isle of Shetland but is bang up-to-date in its shape and colours. It also moves wonderfully when we are playing."
The premiere of the set the fiddlers will be playing, and the costumes, is tonight at Lerwick Town Hall at 7.30pm. Tickets are available from the Shetland Box Office on 01595 745555.
The limited edition Mirrie Dancers collection for both men and women will be available to buy online soon at www.nielanell.com
For more information or photography contact Nielanell on 01950 431413 / 07971 581032 or Fiona on 07971 692870.
With thanks to photographers Ivan Hawick and Emma Dawn Coote.