The i-on Breakthrough Awards 2017: The winners

i-on Breakthrough Awards finalists

After weeks of frenzied social media activity from the finalists, thousands of reader votes and a day of deliberation from our judges, the results are finally in. 

We threw a party at Dunstane House, Edinburgh's best kept secret, to announce the winners... and what a party it was! So without further ado, here they are - the winners of the i-on Breakthrough Awards 2017. Drum roll please...


Independent retail & Overall Winner


i-on breakthrough awards 2017 winner Iolla

“They’ve put fashion retail into the optical health care experience and disrupted the market in the process. Visionaries...” judge Richard McLelland, Director at Williams Bros. Brewing Co.

Iolla is an eyewear brand that is changing the way people buy prescription glasses and sunglasses. By cutting out unnecessary costs and designing in-house, they’re able to produce higher quality, better looking eyewear at a revolutionary price. They believe in a simple and upfront price, personalised service and uncompromised quality.

Website | Facebook | Instagram

Online influencers

in association with The finalists

Mud Urban Flowers

i-on Breakthrough Awards 2017 winner Mud Urban Flowers

“Mud really stood out for me. Chloe has tackled a traditional market and made it modern and relevant,” judge Michelle Haswell, fashion blogger.

Mud Urban Flowers is a 21st century success story – a company built on social media. Having worked with flowers since the age of 16, owner Chloe Milligan opened her florist at the age of 24 and took to Instagram to get the word out. Carefully considered colour palettes and designs that change on a daily basis have made Mud Urban Flowers stand out.

Website | Facebook | Instagram



in association with The finalists

Rory Hutton

i-on breakthrough awards 2017 winner Rory Hutton

“It’s incredibly challenging to reinvent any kind of menswear but Rory has managed it. His bow ties are a fresh idea within the men’s accessories arena,” Michelle Haswell.

With a first class degree in Fashion Design and an MA in Design History and after working in London for designers including Vivienne Westwood and Hardy Amies of Savile Row, Rory set up his own label in 2013. He began selling bow ties from a market stall on London’s Brick Lane before the label was quickly picked up by luxury department stores Fortnum & Mason of Piccadilly and Brown Thomas of Dublin.

Website | Facebook | Instagram


Food and drink: Products

Tantrum Doughnuts

i-on breakthrough awards 2017 winner Tantrum Doughnuts

“I never thought doughnuts could be so different and delicious – the bacon one is amazing!” head judge Michael Laing OBE, owner of Laing the Jeweller, Edinburgh.

Just doughnuts? Iain Baillie and Annika Baillie opened Tantrum Doughnuts in December 2015. They worked long hours in the shoebox kitchen where they made everything from scratch. But very quickly they realised they were onto something special by the buzz created by their customers. In less than a year they took on a second unit and transformed the original café into a full bakery. They have taken on more staff, tripled production capacity and feel more inspired than ever to keep creating.

Website | Facebook | Instagram 


Food and drink: People

Laura Wells of The Real Junk Food Project

i-on breakthrough awards 2017 winner The Real Junk Food Project Glasgow

“A great concept and a brilliant way of dealing with an important issue,” judge Martin Wishart, Michelin star chef and restaurant owner.

The Real Junk Food Project Glasgow is responsible for gathering surplus food from supermarkets and food venues, which would otherwise have gone to landfill, and creating pay-as-you-feel meals that are open to all. In so doing they encourage the community to come together through the medium of food and raise awareness of the environmental impact of waste.

Facebook | Instagram


Creative stylists and pop-up experiences

The Pitt

i-on breakthrough awards 2017 winner the pitt

“My favourite entrants! What these two lads have done for Edinburgh’s food scene is groundbreaking,” judge Kestin Hare, owner of Kestin Hare Menswear.

Located in the heart of Leith, this industrial yard is transformed into a street food and drinks market every Saturday where locals can gather and sample some of the freshest produce from over 40 vendors. Live music adds to the relaxed atmosphere.

Website | Facebook | Instagram


Music, art and culture


in association with The finalists

Matthew Hardy of Scottish Chamber Orchestra

i-on breakthrough awards 2017 winner matthew hardy

(award collected on his behalf by colleague Catherine Gillespie)

“Anyone who puts musical education and performance at the front of our minds for funding can only be good,” Richard McLelland.

At the age of 25, Matthew became the Scottish Chamber Orchestra’s Principal Percussion. He is also a passionate teacher and currently works with some of the UK’s finest young percussionists, nurturing their talent. In addition, he also works with SCO Connect, curating an array of projects for people of all ages, as well as delivering Master classes at the University of St Andrews. Sadly, Matthew couldn't make it on the night, so his celebratory bottle was collected on his behalf!

Facebook | Instagram 


...Congratulations everyone!

All our winners have walked away with a bespoke campaign in i-on worth £2,000.

Our overall winner, Iolla, will be rewarded with a 12-month marketing campaign worth £15,000 in i-on magazine and Look out for the October issue of i-on, dedicated to the winners.

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