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Name Layla Mallen I Age 24 Occupation Buyer, Dr lives

On Or Jives merchandise 'All the labels we’ve got are exclusive to us in Glasgow and some for Scotland as well. It’s new and innovative; you always know what's happening with the run-of-the-mill high street stores, but we've always got something just a little bit different.’

On the store's location 'It‘s off the main streets and that reflects what we do. Things around here fit in with what we do; it's all independent-type shops, so it's cooler, quieter and more mellow.’

On Or lives customers 'Since we changed the women's wear side of things, you get a lot of older, more distinguished looking women and they really love what we do, but the majority of our customers have been shopping here for years. Because we’re not on the high street, we don’t get many walk-ins, so our customers are usually looking for something special.’

Celebrity patrons Robert Carlyle, Sharleen Spitteri and Damon Albarn have all exercised their plastic in Dr Jives. Trivia tit-bit The shop was once the Glasgow Needlewoman, so it is often visited by bemused old women in search of sewing notions.

I Dr lives, 7 7 7 -7 7 3 Candleriggs,

0747 552 5457


Glasgow's Merchant City is thriving. We spoke to people living and working in the area about what makes it so special. Words: Maureen Ellis. Pictures: Jonathan Littleiohn

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The Merchant City: A microcosm of the best in independent and stylish Glasgow. Discuss.

OK, let’s dispense with the pseudo-formality brought on by memories of my misspent academic youth at Strathclyde Uni and get down to the nitty gritty of what makes this cluster of streets straddling the City Centre and the East End a bit special.

The Merchant City is renowned for the quality of its restaurants, the diversity of its bars and the individuality of its shops, a tribute to being blessedly free of faceless UK chains. For eating, drinking and relaxing there’s the haughty elegance of Arta and the Corinthian, the student-friendliness of the cavernous Bargo, the intimacy of Rab Ha’s, and the unassumingly relaxed bars of Fiddlers Court and Blackfriars. For retail therapy, the Italian Centre satisfies designer indulgences, Concrete Skates or Tribal Junki provide retro and urban wear, and would-be interior designers can find solace in Nice House.

Even the clientele is mixed; office workers, shop staff and students use the area with equal enthusiasm. And all this within stumbling distance of an excellent chippy and reasonably-priced taxis; what more can you ask for?

Name Bruce Urquhart

Age 28 Occupation Restaurant Manager, Loop On the Merchant City ’People are willing to try new things. As you go further into the city centre, you have to have big money to do anything and you get all these bland chains. But here you get young people rlnrng something they've always dreamed of.’ On Loop 'The crowd we get in here is so mixed, you’ve got the university up the road, and there are a few iwndy restaurants so you're getting people with money as well. Then you get older people who are nostalgic about it, maybe they worked around here 40 years ago in the Fruitmarket or the Cheesemarket.’ Celebrity patron Billy C onnolly. Trivia tit-bit The building used to be the bank where Gerard Kelly worked in City Lights.

Loop, 64 Ingram Street, 0747 572 7472