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Clan Chief

Gordon Nicolson Kiltmakers

Trading handmade kilts and highlandwear since April 2009, the flagship store of Gordon Nicolson Kiltmakers is nestled into the shop floor of a seventeenth-century tenement on Edinburgh’s historic Royal Mile, at 189 Canongate, to be exact.

The man with his name above the door - Gordon Nicolson himself - had a simple dream: to promote a better standard of kiltmaking. He’d worked in the industry before and wanted to do things differently. How? By focusing a little less on turnover and a lot more on authentic Scottish craftsmanship. 

Gordon is committed to the preservation and celebration of his national heritage through his favourite medium. He is a progressive traditionalist. (Or a traditionalist progressive!) The dawn of an age of a higher standard of kiltmaking became official when Gordon opened the Edinburgh Kiltmakers Academy in 2016.

In 2017 GNK opened its second outpost on St Mary’s Street, providing a new home for both the academy and an already thriving kilt hire service, known for distinctive jackets, retail-worthy kilts in exclusive tartans, and the ability to outfit large (very large) groups. 

That same year, LoullyMakes moved into a small corner of the Canongate store. This is the colourful offspring of Mrs (Louise) Nicolson, who combines Liberty fabrics, tartans and tweeds to make very beautiful, rather useful things. 

In 2018, Gordon increased the GNK family still further when he took over Kilberry Bagpipes. The last handmade bagpipe maker in Edinburgh, and another embodiment of GNK’s heartfelt artisanal values.

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Raising The Standard

Edinburgh Kiltmakers Academy

Founded by Gordon Nicolson in 2016, the goal behind the Edinburgh Kiltmakers Academy was simple - Standardise the practice of kiltmaking to the highest possible level and secure the future of handmade kilts.

For too long the standard of this hand craft had been slipping - there was no telling what quality of kilt a customer would receive and those with the knowledge of kiltmaking were reluctant to shout about it, despite the demand for handmade kilts growing. 

Gordon Nicolson devised EKA in a bid to keep the skill going, bring it out of the shadows and train up new, talented kiltmakers who would set the standard.

​Now, through EKA training, kiltmakers can confidently and consistently create the best quality hand sewn kilts for each and every customer. A new generation of kiltmakers is successfully being trained and the skill upheld at the highest level, ensuring a solid future for this beautiful craft.

Led by Head Tutor, Kirsty Kinnear, Edinburgh Kiltmakers Academy offers the most comprehensive kiltmaking course, nestled within the walls of Gordon Nicolson Kiltmakers, right in the heart of Edinburgh. Our students not only gain a great deal of skill and knowledge here, but always find a network of like-minded friends and colleagues - endless laughs are had as we take on kiltmaking!

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Artisan Craftsmanship

Kilberry Bagpipes

Based on St Marys's Street, just off Edinburghs historic Royal Mile, Kilberry bagpipes was established in 1990 by schoolfriends and fellow pipers, Neil Manderson and Dave Wardell.

After leaving school at 16, Dave completed a 4 year bagpipe-making apprenticeship at Inveran House and has been honing his fine skills ever since.

When Neil left the business in 2010, Kilberry Bagpipes came under the guardianship of double gold medal winner, Dougie Murray, who worked with Dave to further develop Kilberrys pipes and chanters.

Soon after Gordon Nicolson Kiltmakers opened their dedicated Hire Store on St Mary's Street, Kilberry bagpipes became available for sale. Upon hearing that the business would close without a buyer, Gordon Nicolson stepped in to purchase in 2018, protecting Kilberry Bagpipes immediate prospects.

Since then, Kilberry Bagpipes has further secured its own future by taking on talented young piper Ruari Black as Apprentice Bagpipe Maker, under Dave's expert tutelage.

The Kilberry team firmly believe that every set of pipes should be created bespoke to the piper and offer the highest levels of service in-store and online, to ensure that every musician receives the highest quality of instrument to meet their needs.

Kilberry Bagpipes are very proud to make every set of pipes completely by hand, using traditional methods.

If you happen to find yourself on St Mary's Street, whether you are in the market for a set of bagpipes or not, you will be able to view the craftsmanship at work, through the workrooms street-front window !

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Timeless Scottish Style


Let me say "Hello!" and introduce myself - I am Louise Nicolson ( aka Loully, to friends ! )
Originally taught to sew at home by my Mum, pattern, print and texture have remained the enduring focus of my creativity, and since graduating from the Scottish College of Textiles, I have relished a spectrum of retail experience from youthful days with Liberty of London, to the ongoing successes of our family-run Highlandwear business, Gordon Nicolson Kiltmakers.

Inspired with such glorious traditional fabrics at my fingertips, LoullyMakes was borne from a combined need to utilise our kiltmaking remnants, reduce waste and to let creative ideas become reality - all the while, working from home, raising our young family !

Since launching online in 2014, LoullyMakes continues to evolve as a brand and offers a focused range of beautiful, useful pieces that I love to wear myself and to have around me, day-to day.
Each simply constructed design is the result of my own insight and further development. Each item is carefully handmade by our small, skilled team, here in Scotland.

Select individual pieces are available from our Edinburgh store, Gordon Nicolson Kiltmakers, and on occasion you can also find me selling from Artisan Fairs or Special Events.

Browse The Collections
  • Loullys Office


    Owner, Designer, Maker

    Creative force of LoullyMakes & director of Gordon Nicolson Kiltmakers. The diversifying LoullyMakes brand was born of Louises inspiring use of remnant fabrics (surplus to Kiltmaking) in simply stylish, handmade accessories. Her canny command has allowed this colourful offshoot to carefully evolve from accessories into ladies apparel, and the journey continues !

  • Gordon

    Owner, Tartan Designer, Curator

    Gordon Nicolson, owner of Gordon Nicolson Kiltmakers, founder of the Edinburgh Kiltmakers Academy and husband of Louise ! Gordon designs & registers our own exclusive, authentic tartans ( including John Muir Way and Flodden Tartans ) and further develops extensive product ranges which we create in-house as well as via trusted partnerships.

  • Eve handsews for LoullyMakes


    Studio Assistant, Dispatcher

    Eve Nicolson has now joined the family team - in between her Equine Studies, Eve is on hand to keep on top of Stock Inventory, Ticketing & Labelling, Order Picking, Packing & Shipping (and occasionally modelling, too !) Eve also plans to develop her production skills through training, and her handsewing abilities are already flourishing !

  • Niamh at the cutting table



    Skilled local seamstress Niamh has now joined our powerful wee team, as we move to larger premises. Niamh can turn her dextrous hands to any textile task that we ask, which fits perfectly with the flexible nature of our growing accessories business. Her experience and organisational skills help keep our busy workroom running smoothly.

  • Helen


    Helen Blackstock, talented seamstress & experienced kiltmaker. As well as teaching the heritage craft of handsewn kiltmaking to our Edinburgh Kiltmakers Academy students and apprentices, Helen regularly sews customised LoullyMakes accessories during busy periods in order to keep up with demand !

  • Kalopsia Collective

    Product Development, Maker

    We work closely with Dunfermline-based Kalopsia to develop our own products & designs,producing minimum waste & utilising remnants. Their skilled craftspeople help us to produce by hand high quality, ethical, sustainable accessories and apparel.

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Who we work with ....

Lochcarron of Scotland - Selkirk

Lochcarron Tartan Weavers, Selkirk, weave many of our stock tartans and also many of our own exclusive in-house tartan designs. We work closely with them on the manufacture of many of our design projects, creating a selection of custom products.

House of Edgar - Perth & Keith

House of Edgar weave many of our stock tartans, plain velvets and also our own exclusive tartan designs. We often work closely with House of Edgar to produce custom tartan product ranges.

Lovat Mill - Hawick

The Home of Tweed - Lovat Mill has a worldwide reputation for excellence in weaving. Producer of the finest Scottish tweeds. We are proud to have developed our own exclusive Tweed cloth in partnership with Lovat Mill.

Liberty Fabrics - London

Shortly after opening on Regent Street London in 1875, Arthur Liberty became renowned for his silks. By the 1890s Liberty Fabrics was a byword for the very best of avant-garde textile design. Today, every bolt of Liberty Fabric is the product of a bespoke production process.

Carloway Mill - Harris

Carloway Mill is one of three working Harris Tweed textile mills in the world which produces the renowned Harris Tweed fabric; handwoven on traditional single & double width looms by the islanders in their homes in the Outer Hebrides. Made from pure virgin wool, dyed, spun and finished at the mills.

Harris Tweed weavers - Harris & Lewis

We source from several individual weavers of Harris Tweed who all produce unique, authentic cloth in accordance with the exacting standards of The Harris Tweed Act (1993). Every inch of wool is dyed and spun in an island mill. Every yard is handwoven at the home of a Harris Tweed weaver.

Halley Stevenson - Dundee

Manufacturers and innovators in waxed cotton - an independent firm with over 150 years of expertise, we have amassed unique technical knowledge and manufacturing experience. We specialise in waxed cotton and weatherproofed fabrics using responsibly sourced cotton and low impact manufacturing.

Nutscene - Forfar

Scottish based producer of Jute products, ethically sourced, from sustainable crops. Originating in 1922 within the Dundee jute industry, still manufacturing using traditional methods and original machinery.

Mairi Helena - Edinburgh

Mairi Helena designs and creates printed fabrics from her Scottish base, where the landscapes, colours and wildlife continuously provide further inspiration and ideas. We ensure quality, premium and desirable creations: an alternative to mass market production.

Leather Guild- Helensburgh

Experts in the design and manufacture of custom products made using our exclusive tartans and leather. Products are sustainable and bespoke. .

Islay Woollen Mill - Islay

Traditional Scottish Woollen Mill, established 1883. The Mill is owned and run by Gordon and Sheila Covell and produces an excellent range of top quality woven fabrics, much in demand by the Hollywood film industry.

Norman Milne- Edinburgh

Artisan silversmith producing entirely handcarved reproduction historical jewellery and artefacts. Specialising in Jacobean period pieces.

Camilla Seddon - Edinburgh

Camilla is an Edinburgh-based freelance artist & illustrator who we commissioned to produce the beautiful artwork which features on our John Muir Way teatowels and merchandise range.

Edinburgh Sketcher - Edinburgh

Mark Kirkham, artist & Illustrator based in Scotland's capital, known locally as the Edinburgh Sketcher. Mark has produced beautiful images of our retail stores in their historic locations, which regularly feature in our information materials.