Official Guide to Edinburgh
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Uncover Edinburgh's Hidden Design Gems

24 September 2016

Edinburgh’s city centre is celebrated for its creative industry, from shops and museums, to galleries and festivals, but there is so much more to explore off the city's beaten track. As part of Scotland's year of Innovation, Architecture and Design (#IAD2016), fashion curator and blogger Ruth MacGilp discovers some of the top hidden gems of Edinburgh's design world... 

Thistle Street Boutiques

[Image credit: covetedinburgh]

Thistle Street Covet

Thistle street is a tiny lane in the new town nestled away from the hustle and bustle of the centre, but only a few minutes walk from popular Princes street. It houses many wonderful independent boutiques, including Scandinavian fashion store Kakao by K, luxury handbag shop Covet, and designer clothing stockist Jane Davidson. If you are looking to #shoplocal and see the antithesis of fast fashion and sterile store design, this is the shopping location for true fashion leaders.

Thistle Street, Edinburgh EH2 1EN

The Scottish Design Exchange

Design Exchange

[Image credit: sdxfashion]

The Scottish Design Exchange is a not-for-profit concept store in Leith, bringing artists and designers together to share an innovative retail space that benefits the community. A one stop shop for any gifts, souvenirs and unique treats, SDX stocks nearly 100 different Scotland-based painters, furniture makers, jewellers, fashion designers, illustrators, book publishers, independent musicians and more.

First Floor, Ocean Terminal, Ocean Drive, Leith, Edinburgh EH6 6JJ

Dovecot Gallery

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[Image credit: dovecotshop]

Dovecot Gallery is a landmark centre for contemporary art, craft and design built around a leading international tapestry studio. The Gallery occupies an extraordinary building in the heart of Edinburgh working to programme, commission and produce exhibitions and events for audiences and clients who share Dovecot’s passion for making and the creative arts.

10 Infirmary Street, Edinburgh EH1 1LT

Process Studios

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[Image credit: processedinburgh]

Process Studios are a large design and craft studio space for local creatives, also providing workshops to the public. Classes include woodwork, bookbinding, pattern cutting, stained glass, ceramics, millinery, screen printing and more. Try and get to their Open Studios event, where design-lovers can see behind the scenes of this fascinating design space. 

2 Easter Road, Edinburgh EH7 5AN

Gayfield Creative Spaces

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[Image credit: gayfieldcreatives]

Gayfield Creative Spaces are a cluster of venues and workshops within the tranquil Gayfield Square in an old tyre depot, just off the bustling Leith Walk. The present contemporary artwork in gallery format exploring meaningful themes within art such as mental health and wellbeing. Various events showcase throughout the year, from expert talks to interactive exhibitions.

11 Gayfield Square, Edinburgh EH1 3NT

Life Story

Life Story

[Image credit: lifestoryedin]

Life Story is an independent lifestyle store in Broughton inspired by Scandanavian/Nordic design concepts. They describe themselves as Edinburgh's home store for stylish and creative homewares, furniture, jewellery, accessories and lighting, aiming to inspire contemporary living.

53 London Street, Edinburgh EH3 6EX

Pillar Gallery

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[Image credit: theimagecollective]

The Pillar Gallery is part of a wider area on the top floor of Ocean Terminal called The Space, taken care of by The Image Collective, the Leith photography community. On large pillars and industrial wall space, 7 days a week, the public can view rotating exhibitions from various emerging and established artists and photographers.

The Space, Ocean Terminal, Ocean Drive, Leith, Edinburgh EH6 6JJ

The Biscuit Factory

Biscuit Factory

[Image credit: biscuitfactoryed]

(picture from @biscuitfactoryed instagram)

The Biscuit Factory is an arts and fashion hub housed in an old biscuit manufacturers in Leith’s old industrial district. From art installations to fashion shows, editorial photoshoots to glitzy parties, The Biscuit Factory is the place to see and be seen for the Edinburgh creative community. Check out their website for upcoming events.

4-6 Anderson Place, Edinburgh EH6 5NP

Dazzle Ship

Dazzle Ship

[Image credit: rebeccaaisthorpe]

The Dazzle Ship is a major project currently docked in Leith, made possible by a partnership with Edinburgh Art Festival and 14-18 NOW. Artist Ciara Phillips has covered the entire surface of a ship with her own response to the dazzle designs that featured on ships during the First World War. 

The ‘Dazzle’ concept was developed by the British marine artist Norman Wilkinson to counter the threat posed by German U-Boats, which is intended not to camouflage, but to distort a ship’s appearance when viewed through a telescope. Using strongly contrasting blocks of colour, stripes and curves, dazzle designs transformed ships into a confusing array of multi-directional shapes, making it difficult to gauge a ship’s direction or speed.

6 Ocean Drive , Edinburgh EH6 6QT

Ruth MacGilp is a fashion communication student and award-winning blogger based in Edinburgh. She works for The Scottish Design Exchange, a creative community in Leith, and interns for various fashion companies. She creates and curates ethical fashion and lifestyle articles on Urbanity Blog, and you can find her on Instagram as @urbanity_blog. Twitter as @urbanityblog and on Facebook as /UrbanityBlog.

Looking for more Edinburgh creative hotspots? Take a look at our art and design itinerary >