Elena Bowes

New York-London design & culture writer of a certain vintage looking for meaning and wholeness in life

Rail: Work-Wear that Works Off Duty

June 24th, 2015
Mayfair, London

I keep going back to pop-up shop Rail on Clifford Street. And it’s not just for the music and beer. Founded by Hugo Ross, Gigi Ettedgui and Ariadne Irving,  three highly creative, quietly determined, good-humoured and totally adorable Edinburgh students, Rail is a  pop-up worth popping into. It closes end of day Tuesday, July 1st so hurry up.

I know, I know – there’s Masterpiece, Christie’s, Sotheby’s etcetera all vying for your attention. But they aren’t as much fun. There’s nothing quite as refreshing as seeing young talent on the cusp, while also watching them deal with a temperamental cash register, coffee runs, cigarette breaks and finicky customers. They are the opposite of jaded.


First time I went I got myself a trendy purpley-blue jean jacket.


Then I remembered I have kids so I went back and bought them some artist t-shirts and overalls (and myself a pale blue knitted top). And then my daughter wanted to see the pop-up herself so, yes, more damage was done.

Isn’t this dress fetching? It’s long in the back and short in the front – keep em guessing. 


And it can be dressed up to Grandma-approved standards …


Ettedgui, who registered the name Rail when she was 17, came up with the idea of showing vintage work clothes while driving through France looking for linen with her mother.

I found this old work-wear and thought it would work well  with the rest of the collection and the art. It’s the kind of clothes you’d wear in a studio or atelier. 

Resourceful Ettedgui then went on-line and spotted French antique clothing store Bazar des Poilus who has since created a collection of bleu-de-travail serge work-wear for Rail.


The dungarees above have already been snapped up, but there are plenty more jackets and trousers in washed out blues, utilitarian and cool.

Rail also collaborates with other artists.

We pick up people as we go along, a bit like a rolling stone.

Our vision is to curate a space where clothing and art collide and co-exist

First artist they picked up was Oisin Gallagher, a promising student from Edinburgh College of Art whose “Impractical Table”  won this year’s Astaire Art Prize. Rail has also collaborated with top Edinburgh gallerists Richard and Florence Ingleby to show artist David Austen (see below).


Or is it really just…


And these witty illustrations below are by Angelica Hicks.



 See ya there.

June, 2015