It’s no secret that I fully support independent and larger scale Scottish companies in the products and services they offer (see here). Scotland is starting to make a name for itself in the world as one of the countries to visit with rich cultural history and Edinburgh is starting to draw notice from the fashion world by introducing Edinburgh Fashion Week (see here). It comes as no surprise then that there is a store in Leith that dedicates their attention to promoting the creative work of Scottish designers.
The Scottish Design Exchange, presented by A Space to Share, is a non-profit concept store that opened in the summer of 2015 and brings 150 artists and designers together to share a new retail concept that benefits the community. Fashion designers, artists, textile and jewellery designers, publishers, photographers, product manufacturers and others work together to share the costs involved in running a busy store. Several Edinburgh bloggers, including myself, were invited to experience the new Fashion Loft which was opened in February.
All pieces of clothing and accessories and carefully handcrafted by Scottish artisans. You would expect that with handmade designer pieces, the prices will be through the roof, but surprisingly the are very affordable! I had to walk away before I found myself spending too much money on beautiful woollen jumpers by Orta and unique printed scarves from Charlotte Lodge.
The newly launched Fashioin Loft is located on the mezzanine of the shop. When you enter the shop, you pass by handmade pieces of home ware, but it is the stairs at the back of the store that leads to the gateway to fashionista heaven. You can’t miss it, there’s a mannequin wearing a beautiful, full-length sequined gown and a full mascot bunny head mask (in case you’re wondering, this was also handmade by one of the designers!)
Although the fashion world is predominantly focused on womens clothing, there is a niche for unique menswear and more fashion designers are starting to recognise that men want to look good too. The Loft recognises this and ensures that a range of graphic tees are also available for men to browse while the ladies are busy browsing through the racks.
Men’s graphic T-shirts including designs by Native Tongue and Hidden Stag
There is a range of various styles to suit everyone from fun tops by Never Monday to (my favourite) Lizzie O.’s Japanese inspired cropped cardigans in kimono-like fabric to floral shirts and bomber jackets.
Japanese inspired clothing by Lizzie O. (right) and unique, fun apparel by Never Monday (left)
For those who are looking something a bit more dressy for a formal occasion or for a different style, there are also handcrafted headpieces (the same designer that made the bunny mascot head) as well as vintage corsets for sale. If you’re looking for something more regal, try the satin soft eye masks or the lace crowns on the bureau nearby!
Corsetry by Lisa Moncur
Printed scarves by Charlotte Lodge
If your vice is jewellery, look no further than the glass cabinets full of jewellery to suit all the ladies and gents. From glass bubbles with gold foil to resin, semi-precious gemstone and embroidered pendants, I felt like a child in a sweet shop pressing my nose against the glass in wonder! If you fancy something even more distinctive and quirky pieces, you can even pick up bone and metal jewellery by Rebecca Sarah Black.
For the partners that normally wait outside the changing rooms for their significant others to finish trying on various pieces of clothing, there are lots of other Scottish gifts and home ware to browse on the ground floor if you fancy something unique as a gift, for someone else or yourself! You can also take home beautifully printed cushions with scenes of Edinburgh by Edinburgh Sketcher or whimsical artwork by Diana Savova.
The Scottish Design Exchange is open 10:00am Mondays to Saturdays (11:00am on Sundays) till 6:00pm and is on the first floor (next to Debenhams) of Ocean Terminal, EH6 6JJ.