Fashion workers’ welfare laid bare at ethical Edinburgh boutique

Godiva Boutique, West Port, Edinburgh.
Godiva Boutique, West Port, Edinburgh.
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The imminent onset of autumn promises a windfall of new designs at Godiva Boutique in the Capital’s West Port.

Well-known for sustainable, ethical and eco-friendly fashion, the unveiling of the new season’s collection is much anticipated by those in search of one-off or limited-edition pieces.

Established by Fleur MacIntosh as a small vintage clothing store in 2003, Godiva set out to be unconventional and innovative, offering an affordable alternative to the high street norm.

Iniviting art college students in to rework some of the second-hand garments, Fleur tapped into a rich vein of homegrown talent – some graduates going on to become designers in their own right and still supplying the shop today.

From modest beginnings, the boutique now has a separate front room offering an eclectic mix of garments and accessories by local designers and independent brands. In line with Fleur’s belief that ethical shopping should not be dependent on budget, the back room is still dedicated to vintage.

“When it comes to our hand-made pieces, we don’t really know what is coming in for autumn. Our designers will create something and sell it to us; all we know is that everything will be unusual, colourful and beautiful,” says social media manager Natasha Cornall.

New ethical lines recently introduced to the shelves include Scottish knitwear Eribé – whose sweaters, cardigans and winter accessories offer a contemporary twist on traditional Fairisle patterns with bright modern colours – and Armed Angels, a German brand using organic fabrics and promoting workers’ rights through “fair fashion not fast fashion”.

Godiva Boutique, 9 West Port, Edinburgh, EH1 2JA , 0131 221 9212, www.godivaboutique.co.uk. Open: Mon-Sat, 10.30am to 6.30pm; Sun, 11.30am to 5.30pm.