Skinny Pig Fashions is owned by Cate and her business partner, Susan who is living abroad at the moment.
This unusual name was really an accident and came from a misunderstanding of something the pair were talking about, but they decided they quite liked the sound of it. So that was the name that went above the door in June 2014!
You are not to be put off by it however – they have something for everyone of any size, and they sell men’s fashion too.
They sell recycled fashion and accessories with designer labels, vintage classics and quirky items scattered around the shop!
Cate told The Edinburgh Reporter about the business: “Originally I studied clothing design and management at The School of Textiles in Galashiels. Afterwards I opened a shop called Tommyrot in St Stephen Street too selling vintage wear and making ballgowns and bridal wear. I was there for five years till 1987 and then went off to travel in Central America and then bring up a family.
“After that I retrained as a psychotherapist and I now work as that during the week, but cycle into Stockbridge at the weekends to open the doors of Skinny Pig. I had always kept up with buying and selling clothes anyway so this seemed like a natural progression.
“We cater for everyone. Some people are not stock sizes and they either hate shopping or they simply don’t have time. I can shop for them and then they come round and try things on – usually with a glass of wine!”
Proving that this is not just a women’s fashion shop, and that there are many items for men here from coats to shirts, here is Colin on the left with his latest acquisitions.
Cate explained why she likes having a shop here: “I am self-employed, working alone a lot of the time, so I like the street because it is a very social environment.
“I came back to Stockbridge, and particularly St Stephen Street as I already knew it. This shop was an office for the Jazz Festival before, then lay empty for years, so we had to do a bit of a clear up before we moved in!”
But now the area is becoming known as a mecca for clothing with a difference.
Cate continued: “There are a lot of clothing shops on St Stephen Street so people know if they come down here there’s a range of clothes to choose from. We all have very different stock on sale, and are happy for people to browse from shop to shop.
“Our stock is pretty well mid range and features some pre-loved High Street clothing too so we attract everyone from students to those in their fifties and beyond who perhaps don’t want to buy new clothes or turn up at a party in the same outfit as someone else. I find what is on the High Street can be pretty dull really. We have lots of regular customers and it is always good to see people returning.”
The other part of what Skinny Pig do is to recycle your pre-loved items so you can arrive with one bundle of clothes and leave with some new things to wear.
Cate travels a lot and so getting stock for the shop is not a problem. She always shops when she is travelling. For example in Lithuania, where she attended a summer school she brought back lovely hand-knitted shawls which nobody else here has in stock.
She said: “I love the combo of vintage and preloved, but also offering something quite unique to our customers at a decent price is high on our priorities. I am off to Tasmania in January and will bring back new stock from there too.
“Last time I went down under I brought back different styles of Levis. We have a big range of those, and also Blundstone Boots which are Australian workwear boots. These have become quite trendy. I also have some hand knits from Tasmania made by Australian designers that people will not ever have heard of.
Keeping shop is one of Cate’s favourite things to do. She concludes: “I like to move our stock around – so that people don’t get bored when they keep coming back! It always looks different.”
Skinnypig 29 St Stephen St, Stockbridge Edinburgh EH3 5AN