- Kirstin Innes
- 5 March 2009
Two Edinburgh streetwear staples are changing location and direction, within the same week. Kirstin Innes finds out why
This week, Goodstead and Oddities, both much loved Edinburgh streetwear boutiques, are shutting their flagship stores and opening new premises. Currently, people tend to assume that any change is related to the economy, so it’s refreshing to find two independent store holders who still feel free to make creative decisions.
‘It’s not as much to do with the credit crunch; more what we wanted to do as a label,’ says Dominic Flanagan, art director of Oddities, the shop and label set up by Vixy Rae as Odd One Out in 1996. The label epitomises a certain sort of Edinburgh skate-street fashion, so it’s a jolt to learn they’ve upped sticks for Glasgow. Their new store, Land of Odds, opened on 1 March in a Finneston bar (formerly 54 Below); the rest has been converted into a bar / DJ space by The Ivy’s owners. ‘The move is about associating what we do in fashion and art more closely with music. If we stayed on Victoria Street we’d be dependent on passing trade. We wanted to cater to a certain audience which I don’t think is big enough in Edinburgh.’
For Graham Blakey of Goodstead, he and business partner Ian Craigie are staying in the city. They are however, moving to larger, more central premises on Rose Street and using the move as a catalyst for a change of stock.
‘Funnily enough, we managed to get such a good deal on the premises because of the credit crunch,’ says Blakey. ‘That expanded space is allowing us freedom to move in a new direction. Our tastes have changed as we’ve grown up, and our customers’ have too: people used to come in wearing t shirts and hoodies, now we’re seeing knitwear.’ Goodstead is rebranding as a more upmarket store, replacing Puma and Adidas with the classier likes of Phillipa K and Surface to Air, and enlarging their womenswear range, with focus on ‘casual officewear to going out clothes’.
‘We started the shop because we found it hard to shop in Edinburgh: there are very few shops that cater to our tastes and we had to go to Glasgow,’ he says. ‘We’ve carved out a niche for ourselves here, though. In Glasgow, our brand mix is similar to the likes of Urban Outfitters, and we can’t compete.’
Indeed, a bigger problem for streetwear stores than the economy appears to be the lure of the high street. ‘It’s a funny time for streetwear,’ says Flanagan. ‘High street stores are so good now, their youth consultants so savvy, I don’t think there’s any point trying to compete and sell to a market who will just buy an H&M or Topshop design. What is important if you run an independent label is to do something very authentic and honest,’ he says. ‘And it has to be a better quality. That’s the most important bit’