Glasgow’s Style Mile may boast some big name brands, but when it comes to shopping in the city, the real gems are to be found off the beaten path.
From cool record shops to vintage clothing gems, all-in-one gift stores to books old and new, Glasgow’s independent retailers are proving just how much style the city has – so hit the streets (and lanes) with our handy guide loaded up on screen, get browsing and find something unique.
Certain films, music videos and the like show a softer side to Glasgow – a twee indie heaven where music reigns supreme and ’60s haircuts are all the rage. If ever there was a shop to confirm the city’s fey side, Monorail would be it. A dream come true for music lovers, this railway cubby boasts a wide selection of limited edition vinyl and one-off finds – not to mention more than a few Glasgow music royalty guests playing low key slots or just browsing through records.
12 Kings Court, G1 5RB, 0141 552 9458, www.monorailmusic.com
Young’s Interesting Books
When it comes to old-fashioned book shops, the west end often steals the limelight. Still, if you want intriguing hardbacks and stacked paperbacks galore at reasonable prices then a trip to Shawlands is heartily recommended. This Skirving Street shop is the stuff of bookworm dreams, with titles stacked loosely according to genre without succumbing to chain store organisation. Young’s will take you from the history of tenements to French philosophy in three paces – as well as providing the buzz on (and tickets for) the latest southside events.
18 Skirving Street, G41 3AA, 0141 649 9599, www.facebook.com/pages/Youngs-Interesting-Books
It’s perhaps a cheat to include a whole street in this list – but with so much going on in the west end’s cobbled lanes, it’s hard to know where to start. If Glasgow’s city centre is a mecca for big brand names, then the west end is the place for one-off finds and unique boutiques. Cresswell Lane is at the centre of it all, with vintage, homeware, cakes and bakes, tapas, jewellery, furniture and one-off gifts all crammed into one narrow walkway. Head to De Courcy’s Arcade for cake at The Cup and Saucer or gifts at Elements.
Cresswell Lane, G12 8AA, www.cresswelllaneglasgow.co.uk
Hankering for a slice of cake and a coffee, but facing a list of errands which need attention? Head to west end all-in-one Penny Black and you can check off present-buying, homeware shopping, letter posting and coffee thirst-quenching all in one go. The boutique boasts an in-house post office and a tempting array of treats – a one-stop gift emporium, complete with gifts for yourself.
721-723 Great Western Road, G12 8QX, 0141 342 4375, www.facebook.com/pennyblackgla
Those who frequent the west end in search of a bargain know that Ruthven Lane is the place to go. Sure, there are authentic vintage shops galore to hit on this side of town – but when it comes to newer pre-loved items, Glorious is the go-to for fashion lovers. From those shoes you missed in Topshop last year to Marc Jacobs at a fraction of the cost, you never know what you’ll find – and rummaging is half the fun.
496 Great Western Road, Kelvinbridge 0141 357 5662, www.facebook.com/GloriousSecondHandClothing
Paper Plane/Butterfly Kisses
The southside is coming up in the world these days – and Skirving Street stands out as a sign of the times. From higgledy-piggledy bookshops to new and exciting eats, this small Shawlands street offers plenty to the independent shopper – and Paper Plane and Butterfly Kisses are must-visit spots. Looking for a gift for Mother’s Day, or the perfect handmade card? Paper Plane has it covered. In the market for an adorable new dress and some unique accessories? Butterfly Kisses it is. If bird cage decor and Cath Kidston florals are your idea of heaven then these two are for you.
Skirving Street, G41 3AA, 0141 649 5450/649 3552, www.butterfly-kisses-shop.co.uk
Blame it on an ever-rising interest in craft beers and small-time brews if you will, but off-licences have gone specialist in Glasgow. There are a few contenders for the beer and wine shop crown, but Great Western Road booze emporium Valhalla’s Goat just about swings it in terms of selection, prices and – let’s face it – name alone. You’ll find fridges stacked with everything from local Drygate brews to international beers, as well as floor to ceiling wine offerings and fancy chocolates under the counter too, beating chain liquor barns any day of the week.
449 Great Western Road, G12 8HH, 0141 337 3441, www.valhallasgoat.com
If ever there was a subject crying out for a guide in Glasgow, it’s vintage shops. The city boasts a wealth of retro clothing treasures – but perhaps top of the pile is Mr Ben. Long located in the hip Kings Court alongside vegan restaurants, solid gold music venues and the odd favoured goth hangout, this retro emporium is Glasgow’s answer to Edinburgh’s Armstrongs, with historical uniforms and period dresses hanging side by side with ’60s shifts, ’70s leather bombers and more. This mish mash of sequins and lace has popped up in multiple TV shows and films – and one visit for a browse among packed rails will explain it all.
Kings Court, 101 King Street, G1 2RB, 0141 553 1936, www.mrbenretroclothing.com
Vintage furniture? New carpets? An old VHS of Celtic scoring that momentous goal back in the day? What about clothes from an up-and-coming leather designer, or dance records guaranteed to blow your socks off? Nowadays, the Barras is something of a mash up, with old-fashioned traders exclaiming “two fur a poun’!” alongside an emerging band of east end artists and creative types working out of the Barras Art and Design Centre (BAaD). The result? A great combination of old and new Glasgow – and the ideal Saturday afternoon jaunt for the shopper in search of something unique.
Gallowgate, G1 5AX, 0141 552 4601, www.theglasgowbarras.com
Artistic hubs are great for finding up-and-coming designers, artists and the like – and new to the Glasgow scene is Factory 45, a Merchant City retail emporium dedicated to the city’s creative movers and shakers. It’s non-profit, run by Impact Arts and aimed at championing the work of emerging stars in art, fashion and design – although there are some vintage finds to be had too. Hard-to-buy-for hipster friend with a birthday coming up? This could be the place.
45 High Street, G1 1LX, 0141 552 5226, www.impactarts.co.uk/content/factory-45
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