THE "Yes dress to impress" is seeking a new lease of life – and the owner is hoping it will inspire the movement to be creative.

Designer and creator of the Yes dress, Shirley Sampson, is putting a call out for a new wearer of the saltire-emblazoned dress. The dress is also being offered to Yes groups to use as a resource for free.

Sampson had the idea at an independence march and made the dress in summer of 2018. Her daughter, Helen, wore it at the Dundee All Under One Banner march in August that year.

Sampson said: “I asked her, if I made a corset dress for you to wear on the march would you wear it? She said yes. I used to do corsetry and theatre costumes so can whip one out.”

The dress is a UK size 12 and is in three pieces. It has a steel-boned corset top which laces at the back and an underskirt and over skirt made of saltires. Underneath it all is a white hooped petticoat.

There is an optional matching hat with a Catalonian flag on it, white chemise for colder weather, and ginger wig to complete the look!

The National: The dress worn by Helen, Shirley's daughter, in 2018The dress worn by Helen, Shirley's daughter, in 2018 (Image: Shirley Sampson)

Sampson, 74, is a maker of corsetry, accessories and alternative bridalwear post-retirement. She runs Velvet Tigers in de Courcy's Arcade in Glasgow.

She said: “I taught myself to sew aged 10 – my partner George has just bought me the same toy model machine I learned on – but I had to wait until I was 60 to release my inner corsetiere. Years ago, when I lived in East Kilbride, I made costumes for EK Repertory Theatre Company.”

Sampson said her daughter was taken aback by the attention at the march, so the dress was only worn once.

She added: “We weren’t expecting the attention. Lesley Riddoch commented as we went past and dozens of folk posed for photos with us.

“Whoever wears it is going to get a lot of attention so keep that in mind. I can imagine someone wearing it on stage and just waving even. We [the Yes movement] need to keep up attention, engagement and be memorable.”

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One of the inspirations behind the corseted gown was agitprop.

In drama, agitprop refers to a specific genre of performance. Agitprop theatre is a politically motivated kind of street theatre which was popular in the 1970s.

“The idea is a group mimes out a story or issue, lasting maybe three minutes or so, to get a message across,” Sampson said.

One example Sampson described was a street show she saw. A man with a top hat was on the top of a stage ladder and a group of workers were below. They shook the ladder and the man got worried by the shaking. It was to show the idea of unity against capitalism to the audience.

Sampson says this could be an effective way for the movement to get across the message of independence.

“We need to be creative and fun. I don’t see why the Yes movement can’t do it.”

Sampson suggests the dress could possibly be a resource for the movement as a whole if no permanent wearer is found.

“It could stay with me, and people can get in touch with The National or myself to use it for publicity at marches and demonstrations, or as a fund-raising aid at local or national Yes events. It's either that or it gets put in a museum as a relic.”

The dress is free and if anyone would like to enquire about the dress as a group to use it or as a prospective wearer, please email