Glasgow may not have the majestic grandeur of Edinburgh or the pristine beauty of the Scottish Highlands, but what Scotland’s most populated city lacks in elegance it more than makes up for with hip, urban style -- which lately has been closely tied to a vintage shopping explosion.

“In the last five years, vintage shopping has really boomed in Glasgow,” said Clare Nicolson, one half of Made in the Shade, a Glasgow and London-based vintage-style craft and design company that frequently hosts shopping events all over the city. “Lots of new vintage stores have opened across the city and every other weekend there's a vintage clothes market of some shape or form taking place.”

Given the city’s massive student population, the eclectic art and music scene and even Glasgow’s reputation as a working-class city, it makes sense that vintage fashion would be popular. “The city's had a long history of being relatively poor,” said Carrie Maclennan, Nicolson’s Made in the Shade business partner. “So some people have always had to be creative in their approach to fashion and frugal in what they invested in.”

No matter what the reason, Glasgow has become one of Europe’s best cities for finding blasts from the past, and its West End neighbourhood has become the epicentre for used coats, dresses and handbags. Other areas, like Merchant City, have also seen a steady rise in vintage vendors.  “Glasgow's older, more established vintage shops know that quality and style are important,” Nicolson said. “And they could easily give some London bulk-buyers a run for their money!” 

Add to that a collection of high-street chains like Topshop and Urban Outfitters, standalone stores from international chi-chi brands like Ralph Lauren and Mulberry, and even indie boutiques like W2 -- which offers harder-to-find-labels-in-Scotland like Adam Kimmel -- it is no wonder that Glasgow has turned into a consumer’s paradise; but it is truly the ever-growing selection of vintage outposts that is driving more eyes to the city on the River Clyde.

We Love to Boogie
Childhood friends Greg Milne and Natalie Codona’s We Love To Boogie stocks a tightly edited selection of women’s and men’s clothing and accessories that conveys  a hippie, rock-and-roll vibe. Lace wedding dresses from the 1930s share rack space with fringed bags from the ‘70s and grunge-inspired pieces from the ‘90s – and everything is handpicked by the pair. Milne and Codona have also added to their hoard by occasionally introducing capsule collections of items they have designed themselves, including on-trend slouchy jackets, satin maxi skirts and graphic t-shirts.

Mr Ben
This 20-year-old shop is the largest vintage resource in Glasgow and offers an enviable inventory of items that dates as far back as the 1700s, which can make rummaging through its racks and bins a taxing exercise. But for the determined and enthusiastic, everything from original Victorian capes to mod suits from the ‘60s to old-school cameras await. With its bottomless supply, it is no shock that Mr Ben has become a go-to for editorial, celebrity and prop stylists looking unique pieces and even fashion designers in search inspiration.

Postcard Limited
One of the newest additions to the Glaswegian vintage shopping landscape, Postcard Limited is the brainchild of husband-and-wife team Fraser McFadzean and Jennifer Paley, who started their business as a daytime pop up in a local nightclub in February 2011. A year later they turned it into a permanent outpost on West Regent Street that not only sells past-era clothing and accessories but records too. The couple usually sells items from the 1950s to the 1980s, though you can occasionally find Victorian or Edwardian pieces as well. Iona Baker, a local designer whose jewellery line Lilias Farlos is sold in the shop, is on-hand to alter vintage items for customers.

Miss Lottie Lou
If you would rather something made-to-order, head to Miss Lottie Lou, Charlotte Newell’s two-year-old operation at De Courcy’s Arcade, where she uses vintage fabrics, buttons, zippers, buckles and more to create custom-designed clothing. While Miss Lottie Lou does stock vintage – including some old-school lingerie -- Newell, who herself dresses in mostly ‘40s and ‘50s attire, is tapping into a market of shoppers who like that vintage aesthetic without having to play around with the tricky sizing and measurements that come with buying clothing from yesteryear. One of her standout orders? A leopard-print wedding dress with a matching jacket for the groom.