TOP Scots designers push the boat out, a stone’s throw from Britannia
AT A TIME when many shopping centres blur into a collective mass of the same high-street names, Edinburgh’s Ocean Terminal is popping up with a fresh offering for the festive season. In association with Scotland Re:Designed, the retail outlet brings together some of the best Scottish design talent under one roof in the aptly named Limited Edition Store.
Situated where the old Baxters shop used to be, the light, open-plan space is the ideal setting to browse and buy cutting edge fashion, as well as knitwear, accessories, jewellery and homeware. Well-established names in the Scottish fashion world such as Iona Crawford, Belinda Robertson and Eribé sit alongside newer faces Obscure Couture, We Are Rushworth, Abetwix and G69, creating a one-stop shop for Scottish talent.
Dennis Jones, centre manager at Ocean Terminal, says, “The Limited Edition shop is a vibrant departure for Ocean Terminal. We are injecting a new stream of excitement and dynamism by bringing a whole collection of designers to the centre. Much of this work isn’t available on the high street. We want to give these designers access to new customers and at the same time to bring an entirely new dimension to the centre.”
With 21 designers involved, there is something for everyone. Rosemary Eribé, founder and MD of Eribé, which produces fabulously colourful Scottish knitwear which is recognised worldwide, established her company in 1986. She agrees that there is renewed interest in the individual and the handcrafted.
“The Limited Edition Store is a fantastic opportunity for lots of great Scottish designers and brands to showcase together and reach a new audience. There is definitely a resurgence in the popularity of hand-crafted items. People are getting back in touch with craftsmanship and appreciating the time it takes to make something of true quality,” she says.
Orkney-based designer Kirsteen Stewart, who has a capsule collection of clothing and accessories, echoes the sentiment that shoppers are looking for something different. “I think that people have so much choice now, through online shopping in particular, that customers are really seeking something new, something different. Also, I think that when buying, you want a brand to have a personality.”
Former construction worker turned fashion designer Mark Bradley, who owns independent menswear brand G69 Clothing (named after the Glasgow postcode where the company was formed) displays bags of personality with his first collection. Clean lines and contemporary tartan details feature on polo shirts, t-shirts and sweatshirts, which are inspired by his surroundings, past and present.
“We believe inspiration can be taken from many places. As design-minded individuals it comes from our surroundings, specific forms of art which relate to thought processes at the time and, obviously, as fashion designers, we are influenced by other designers and their collections both past and present. Fashion is a regeneration of past ideas, on which we hope to put our own slant.”
Victoria Rushworth, founder and owner of Berwickshire-based clothing label We Are Rushworth, has also been influenced by her surroundings as well as those who surround her.
“The inspiration for our t-shirts came initially from my kids who were looking for a t-shirt that said something about them and less about which Disney character they liked.
“My daughter didn’t want pink and glitter, and my boys didn’t want the latest cartoon hero. It was getting difficult to find many options on the high street and the t-shirts they did like were for adults.”
The result is imaginatively designed hats, scarves, tank tops and t-shirts, ethically produced and showcasing a variety of artists’ work, which changes each season.
“I chose illustrators for some of the designs,” Victoria explains. “I have also taken some sketches my kids have done and put these on t-shirts.”
Tourists visiting the Royal Yacht Britannia nearby and looking for a memento of their trip are in for a treat with the pick of genuine Scottish talent in one accessible space. Glasgow company Buchanan Bespoke’s handcrafted tweed and tartan brogues sit happily alongside Juicy Couture’s fashions, while Quiggleys knitwear and Iona Crawford’s dresses and beautifully printed cushions reside next to lace specialist MYB Textiles, with its new range of baby blankets.
Accessories make an impact in the shape of Glasgow watchmaker Tom Kennett, who, stuck for a present for his dad’s 60th birthday, designed a watch for a gift, which led to his company, Kennett, being established in 2010. His watches are now worn by the likes of Gerard Butler.
Jewellery designer Euan McWhirter also launched his company in 2010, and he too can lay claim to celebrity fans – his Lucky Bitches ring has been spotted on Kylie Minogue and Shirley Manson. His new collection features Swarovski pearl Bombus earrings, inspired by Bumble Bees, the intricately woven Dove Collar Necklace and gorgeous rose gold Chrysler Wing earrings.
Handcrafted leather messenger bags and satchels in an array of colours make a striking centrepiece. The handiwork of Rhodesian of Edinburgh, the mother and daughter team behind the brand, Charlotte and Katrina, have taken a classic bag and updated it in a 21st-century manner. You can even customise your choice of colour in their two-tone range.
Danielle Rattray gives her luxury scarves a fresh look with a modern take on tartan, while Arran-based Katie Lees is a jewellery designer whose silver and semi-precious stone pieces take inspiration from Glasgow’s shipbuilding history.
For online retailers such as Chris Blott, the fashion and portrait photographer, and founder of knitwear brand Quiggleys, the shop environment is something new. With an emphasis on simplicity, quality and authenticity, his company produces classic shapes and traditional patterns with contemporary style. The current collection, Ardnamurchan, takes inspiration from the drama of the Scottish seascape and the warmth and nostalgia of the shipping forecast.
“It’s great to get jumpers in front of people and get their reactions. It’s really interesting as an online brand to witness how different things sell in a shop environment compared with online. I’m sure this experience has enriched the brand and our thinking for future styles.”
Limited Edition, Scotland Re:Designed, Ocean Terminal (First Floor), Leith, Edinburgh until 31 January