With their signature colourful knitwear and relaxed, natural clothing, Ragamuffin have been delighting locals and visitors to their store in Armadale, on Sleat, for nearly 40 years.
Whilst owner Lesley Robertson once used to make everything herself on Skye, these days you are just as likely to find a hand-pintucked Japanese shirt or a beautiful Indian Kantha-work jacket amongst the Scottish Fair Isle and Icelandic style knits.
"We pride ourselves on looking forward and evolving the collection year on year," explains Lesley, "I'm interested in textiles and influenced by design techniques from all over the world and the shop reflects that."
Alongside Scottish and Irish knitwear and accessories, Ragamuffin stocks clothes from all over Europe, America, Japan and India. "We try to buy what other countries do best, Californians do effortless casual separates so well, we have chic timeless coats from Paris, hand-appliquéd dresses from Łódź - the textile capital of Poland - and intricate textiles from India's Jaipur region.
"This Autumn we have a coming collection from a Taiwanese designer," says buyer Tanya, "our customers are going to love their quirky, cosy clothes! They really fit with our aesthetic."
Ragamuffin are advocates of the "lagenlook" - layering clothes and playing with texture and proportion to create unique outfits that can be worn multiple ways.
"It's the way we put clothes together that really excites our customers," explains Tanya, "we love people to go out looking like individuals, and often mix clothes from different designers to create something new and inspired for each person."
For those looking for something Scottish to take home, Tanya is sure you won't be disappointed, "We always have a beautiful selection of knitwear, gifts and accessories made in Scotland. We even stock a collection from a member of staff", stylish Shetland wool knits from Marta, aka Dinky Dot, "and from one of our very dear customers," Karen Leckenby, who hand-knits exquisite accessories as Jaggy Thistle.
"We also stock a great selection of menswear – all of which is made in Scotland." The team at Ragamuffin also create hand knitted accessories from chunky wool, "We sell the yarn," says Tanya, "it's great that we can have fun and knit with it too!"
Staying in touch with customers is very important to Ragamuffin. "People who love what we do really love what we do," laughs Tanya, "often they've visited from abroad or elsewhere in the country and would like to shop with us again when they get home. They can stay in touch with us through our Facebook page - we post new pictures daily and we are happy to ship worldwide."
The shop itself is situated by the start of the pier at Armadale, Sleat, across from the ferry terminal. Visitors who are new to Skye are often amazed by the stunning scenery of Sleat - known locally as the "Garden of Skye".
"The shop has its own car park," says Kerri, a long time member of staff, "and we actively
encourage people to leave their cars to go and explore the area."
Sleat has some lovely shops, a friendly cafe for lunch, coffee or an ice-cream on the pier, and some great walks. "If you're feeling energetic the panoramic views from Armadale Hill are just stunning," adds Kerri, "although you should wear sturdy footwear!"
Open seven days 9am-6pm (11am-5pm Sundays): Ragamuffin, Armadale Pier, Sleat, Isle of Skye, IV45 8RS Facebook