Robbie Williams did it in trainers. Madonna did it in London. Rob Newman did it in camouflage. Now more and more people are followmg their lead and opting for contemporary non—tartan kilts. Founder of 21 st Century Kills Howie Nicholsby came up With the idea of using alternative fabrics for kilts in 1996. Three years later they launched at London Men's Fashion Week and now the company is flourishing.

High profile clients aside. the company aims to change the public's perception of kilts. According to Nicholsby. the idea that a kilt is a formal piece of dress is an entirely manufactured idea. altered through histOry and the adoption of tartan as its traditional fabric. ‘My theory is that tartan is only a couple of hundred years old.‘ says Nicholsby. 'Before kilts were popularised by Hollywood and Victorians and even the French. they never used to have tartan. So it brings back the traditional sense that the kilt is an everyday working piece of clothing'

Black wool. tweed and denim kilts are easier to envisage as WOFkClOlllCS than some of the company's waCkier creations. Beimagining kilts as a normal part of men's wardrobes might be made more difficult considering the transparent PVC and paper creations they made to attract interest at the outset. That said. three years on. its website still offers a wide range of fabrics including leather. velvet, ribbed satin. and that all-important option ‘other'.

Such a drastic challenge to a hallowed institution was controverial. but ideologies are changing. ‘We did get a lot of stick from traditional kilt companies.‘ he says. ‘And some of those companies have started offering plain tweed kilts for rental. No one offers the same chorce. Those people who try to copy it don't put as much effort into the kilts as we do. We're proper kilts. we're jllSl not tartan.’ lMaureen Ellisl I 2 lst Century Ki/ts is located Within Georffrey (Taylor) Kl/tniakers. High Street. Edinburgh. () 131 6:37 0256. WWW. 2 7 stcenturyki/ts. co. uk


Boxing clever

Shopping With a conscience is the consumer bu// phrase of the noughties. Only. that doesn't stop at investing in a Big Issue outside your favourite department store. Ethical products. produced in a fair manner. are fulfilling the market's desire to spend wrth a clear conscience.

If. like me. you think 'rustic' and 'ethical' go hand in hand. then you might be surprised by the range of products on offer at Earth Sguared. The Edinburgh based interior design company are strong believers in fair trade principles. Moreover. they also believe in high quality and good design; factors often negated by worthy intentions.

The company is working with developing countries such as Cambodia. Vietnam and Guatemala in ensuring contemporary design and the production of high quality accessories. Products it sells include coloured bamboo bowls from as little as 5‘4. through stylish lacquer vases. to bamboo resin mirrors, costing around $3,130.

Another priority of the company is taking ethical goods to a Wider market. and. as such, encouraging more people to spend thoughtfully. While providing these in less fortunate countries With a stable income and more dignified way of life. (Maureen Ellis)

I Earth Squared, 10/5 McDonald Road. Edinburgh. () 131 5:36 098 7. WWW. ear't/ isqi rarer /. cor n

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I LUSH COSMETICS is going into skincare in a big way. The company has branched out to include more

cleansers, toners and moisturisers. The distinctive black packaging might not be to everyone’s taste, but its minimal design should appeal to men as well as women. Our favourites included the Ocean Salt cleanser (suited to darker, oily skins), the Breeze on a Sea Air toner and Mirror Mirror neck cream. It’s more expensive than you might expect - their Skin’s Shangri La will set you back £20 - but we’re assured they’re worth every penny.

I IMAGINE EVERYTHING you hate most about supermarket shopping disappeared, vanished. vamoosed. There are the trolleys that don't separate. the men who can’t steer and hold small children simultaneously, the queuing to pay with plastic. the depleted end-of-day fruit and veg . . . need I go on? Unless you've got the foresight and budget to make full use of the blessing that is internet shopping. then you're probably fully aware of the evils of the supermarket. That is, unless you live anywhere near Hazel Grove. Manchester. Sainsbury's. in its inspired wisdom. has polled customers to establish a shoppers' 'wish list‘. and then designed a whole store with that in mind. Just think: a vending machine selling milk when the store is closed; a friendly personal shopper to do the hard work: a “bring

to your car’ service. Why, it's enough to make you want to move to Manchester.

I HMV IS OPENING another store in Edinburgh. The new branch - all 6000 sqft, with music, video and games - will open on Tuesday 9 July in the Fort Kinnaird retail park. Toddle along to the opening ceremony, if only to see Nipper, HMV’s trademark pooch.

I AT LAST. SHOPPING makes an impact on the festival. Three talented young Scottish jewellers will showcase their work at the Museum of Scotland shop, giving ordinary Joes the chance to browse some of the cutting edge jewellery

currently being fashioned in Scotland. Edinburgh College of Art graduate Emma Gale will join Glasgow School of Art graduates Justine Fuller and Laura Murray in making new creations on the spot. Pieces will be available to buy, with prices ranging from £20 to $600. For tickets call 0131247 4128.

I JUST WHEN YOU thought bra manufacturers had exhausted every possible cleavage enhancer, US boffins go and prove you wrong. A new battery-operated bra, which you wear while sleeping, is claimed to increase breasts by a whole cup size if worn for ten weeks. Ouch. Clinical trials in America have deemed the device, which operates by gently stretching tissue, safe, although the $2,500 price tag might prove to be more prohibitive to the ordinary A-cupper.