If you’re the sort of person who gets excited when items of clothing have pockets, you’ll probably be a fan of Radley.
This bag brand was founded in 1998, and its designs are known for being ergonomic as well as good-looking. As they say, “style on the outside, and functionality on the inside”.
There are compartments for phones, internal purses for change, and lots of room for makeup, sweets, receipts and general handbag detritus.
Whenever we’ve owned a Radley handbag, our rummaging time has been cut by half.
Anyway, you probably wouldn’t notice those details if you were skimming through their website.
Thus, Radley have just launched a pop-up shop at Edinburgh’s St James Quarter, which will run from now until December 24, Christmas Eve, with longer-than-usual opening hours from 9-8pm, Monday to Saturday, and 10-6pm on Sunday. It provides the perfect opportunity for bag lovers to touch and ogle their autumn/winter products.
In common with almost all their bags, these are named after London streets and many feature their Scottie dog silhouette logo. (Apparently, he was added in the Noughties for a bit of fun, and became so popular, they had to keep him in case their customers got separation anxiety).
“We know what a loyal customer base we have in Scotland, so we jumped at the chance to launch a Radley London pop-up store in Edinburgh”, says the brand’s head of retail, Kevin Morris, who works from their London’s Mayfair headquarters.“The shop is perfectly located and we are excited to be trading in such a prestigious retail space. Our team is thrilled to welcome customers into our store, where they can find their new season bag, shop for a Black Friday deal and join us for one of our Christmas shopping events.”
Although they still have their Glasgow Buchanan Galleries store, in common with many other brands, they recently closed some of their shops, including the Edinburgh and Aberdeen branches. However, now they have temporary premises in the capital, as well as, we hope, a potential view to eventually opening a permanent store in the quarter, alongside other shops like Zara, Aesop, & Other Stories and Bershka.
The small venue, which is in the Sook unit on the St James Quarter’s ground floor, features all their new bag collections, and is designed with a library/curiosity shop feel, with the addition of oversized hardback books, golden stag beetles and glass cloches.
Sadly, they won’t be stocking Radley’s first ever capsule womenswear collection, which has launched this autumn, and includes Fair Isle jumpers and padded jackets, so you’ll have to shop for those online. However, there is a selection of their footwear, which mainly consist of winter-friendly Chelsea boots and shearling slippers, as well as a central display of Christmassy paraphernalia, like pyjamas, totes, mirrors, socks and purses.
“Our winter collection brings you everything from new party handbags to beautifully updated classics, plus Christmas gifts for friends and family”, says Jackie Hays, chief product officer. “Our designers bring you a new colour collection every month, and for this very special season the colours are exciting and bold – especially when paired with such soft and luxurious leathers”.
Get used to delayed gratification, as the St James Quarter shop is especially unusual in that you can’t take away your purchase. They don’t hold any stock in this pop-up space, which previously hosted Hydrafacial and Scottish designers, Isolated Heroes.
Instead, the masked staff each have an iPad, which they use to order your bag or shoes, so they can be delivered to you a few days later.
It might be a bit difficult to accept the wait, when it comes to bags like the Tulip Street, which resembles its flower namesake, with a bucket bag style that has overlapping “petals” at the top. It comes in various colours, including Teal, Ginger, Merlot and Black, and is made from a vintage style granular leather.
The Cranwell Close bag is studded with pearls, and the Mill Bay features metallic studs.
Although we love the Nineties minimalism of the Duke Street bags, which are a bestseller and have those internal zipped pockets that we love, there are plenty of other totes that have a bit more of a fashion edge than you might expect from Radley.
Take the Hyde Road bags, which are padded like Chesterfield sofas and made with very squishy napa leather that comes in a variety of colours.
If you’re not in the market for real hide, there are also Radley Responsible bags that are made from other materials, like recycled polyester derived from plastic bottles, BCI-accredited cotton and water-based PU. These include the Finsbury Park collection, which includes a bumbag, tote and other pieces. This year, all of their non-leather bags are created using environmentally friendly fabrics.
There’s also their rather quirky new Beano Collection. Radley is the official partner of the Beano: The Art of Breaking the Rules exhibition, which runs from October 21 to March 6 2022, at Somerset House in London.
In the pop-up shop, you’ll find limited edition Book Street bags, which are appliqued and look like hardbacks, as well as card holders and purses that feature heroes straight out of the pages of this Dundonian comic, including Gnasher, Dennis and Minnie the Minx, who are getting up to all sorts of shenanigans alongside the Radley Scottie dog. This isn’t the only nod north of the Border that the brand has made over the years. Apart from the Scottie dog reference, they’ve also paired up with Harris Tweed twice, and they collaborated with Scottish designer, Holly Fulton, back in 2013.
We suppose that it’s only apt that it should have a fresh new presence in the capital.