We originally wrote this post way back in May 2009 and since then there have been lots of changes on the Manchester vintage and hand-made scene so we thought it was high time to update our guide.
We’ll mainly concentrate on the Northern Quarter area of the city centre so we’ll start with Manchester Craft & Design Centre (17 Oak Street, M4 5JD). It’s a wonderful old Victorian building – a former fish & poultry market.
Spread over 2 floors, it houses a number of fabulous designer/makers, each with their own workspace cum retail outlet.
There are lots of gorgeous jewellery, clothing, home furnishings and accessories on sale.
Special mention must go to Calico Angel at Holm, owned by Susan Kane & Clinton Pilkington.
Not only are their products beautiful but the display was really imaginative – it’s an inspiring space.
There’s also a lovely little coffee shop, Café Aromat, on the premises. On a recent trip we had the best home-made muffins we’ve ever tasted!
As you leave the centre, don’t forget to pop into the RSPCA charity shop opposite (15 Oak Street, M4 5JD). We give it a mention because there aren’t many charity shops in the area and you can find the odd vintage treasure in there.
Just around the corner is James Darby (Thomas Street M4 1ER) a bespoke tailor.
In his words, “Think authentic Saville row meets Picasso, old school quality with contemporary artisan twist.”
James counts many Manchester band members as customers; think Oasis, Happy Mondays, The Courteeners et al.
During the visit Adelle was completely smitten by James’s boxer, Trevor. He completely emptied her pockets of dog treats!
Sticking with the hand-crafted theme, we move along to Craft Saturday.
Its name is a giveaway, it’s an outdoor market held on Saturdays at the Piccadilly end of Tib Street alongside the Food Market.
It consists of a number of outdoor stalls selling clothing, bags, accessories, jewellery, gifts and homewares – many using recycled fabric and materials.
We’ll begin the vintage chapter with Retro Rehab (91 Oldham Street, M1 1JR).
It’s probably the best shop in the area to source pretty, patterned 1950s dresses.
Opposite is Ryan Vintage (46-50 Oldham Street, M4 1LE).
A real rummager’s paradise – both men’s & women’s fashion and very popular with Manchester’s large student population.
Also on this street is Pop Boutique (34-36 Oldham Street, M1 1JN), one of the most long-standing vintage shops in the area.
It always has a few tempting things in the window. Once inside, you’ll find their own label, retro fashion upstairs a bustling, adjoining café (great for people watching) and vintage homewares downstairs.
There are also branches of the shop in Liverpool, London, Leeds and Gothenburg, Sweden.
A bit further along the road on the opposite side is Blue Rinse (21-23 Oldham Street M1 1JG).
Adelle found a bright floral shirt that she quite liked the look of!
Also on Oldham Street is Oxfam Originals (51 Oldham Street, M4 1JR)
… a great selection of clothes, bags, shoes and ties and of course, the money you spend goes to charity!
Close by is Affleck’s Palace, (52 Church Street, M4 1PW) something of a Manchester institution.
Three floors of fashion, vintage and alternative culture.
Across the road & round the corner, Junk Shop (2 Dale Street, M1 1JW) is also a fairly new addition.
This shop’s ethos is all about sustainable, ethical fashion.
They make re-purposed fashion via their own labels – Made In The Mill, Jumble and Label of Love.
The entire shop interior is fitted using recycled and reclaimed materials – including a counter made from Fairy Liquid bottles! They also run regular dressmaking, tailoring and styling courses.
Deep sells lots of up-cycled clothing using re-configured denim and screen-printed sweatshirts in a rainbow selection of colours.
They also have a music station where you can stand and listen through headphones whilst admiring album artwork.
A short walk away from the main Northern Quarter area, across Piccadilly Gardens is Cow (Unit C1, City Tower, Parker Street, Piccadilly Gardens, M1 4AH).
As well as Manchester, there are Cow outlets in Sheffield, Birmingham and Nottingham.
It was by far the largest vintage store on our trail and its merchandise displays were really imaginatively done.
Adelle managed to keep her purse in her bag for most of the trip but, at £15 for the pair, these two dresses proved too much of a temptation – they came home with us!
Here’s a handy map of the Northern Quarter where we’ve highlighted the location of all the shops featured in this post.
On our day out taking photos we only walked round the city centre but there are lots of vintage shops in the ‘burbs. Our favourite out-of-town vintage shop is Wowie Zowie in Chorlton. They have a wide selection of well edited, excellent quality stock. It’s tricky to fill a shop with lots of choice without making it look too cluttered – Wowie Zowie really pulls it off.
We don’t get to visit nearly as often as we’d like – but that’s probably a good thing for our bank balance as we never leave empty-handed!
Here are a few of others we highly recommend:
- Planet Vintage Girl – Often to be seen (wo)manning a stall at vintage events, Laura has permanent pitches at Insitu and Empire House Antiques Warehouse (see below for details)
- Electric Slims Vintage – Also at Empire Mill (upstairs), they have a small but well edited stock of vintage clothes for men & women.
- Levenshulme Antiques Village – The Old Town Hall, 965 Stockport Road, Levenshulme M19 3NP
- Insitu – 252 Chester Road, Hulme M15 4EX
- Empire House Antiques Warehouse – Ashton Road West, Empire House, Failsworth M35 9AB
One of the biggest changes on the vintage Manchester scene is the rise in the number of vintage fairs & events. It suits some folks – no need to have a permanent bricks & mortar shop where you need to be at least 5 days a week (and therefore frees up your time to go hunting for stock!); none of the associated overheads of having premises: rent, rates, utility bills; you get the chance to meet lots of other sellers; you can have a stall in Manchester one week, Leeds the next and York the week after – have vintage, will travel!
Here’s a list of vintage Manchester events & fairs – we’ve covered the whole of Greater Manchester as there are lots of them popping up.
- Vintage Home Show – This event happens 3-4 times per year at the splendid Victoria Baths. They also have separate vintage fashion and vintage wedding shows
- The Manchester Vintage Fashion & Antique Textiles Fair – the UK’s largest vintage fair. It takes place at the Armitage Centre
- Judy’s Affordable Vintage Fair – Purveyors of the Vintage Kilo Sale, now at the People’s History Museum
- Vintage Village at Stockport Market Hall – A fantastic venue, the “village” appears on the 2nd Sunday of each month
- King’s Arms Vintage Fair – A new kid on the block. Events take place at the King’s Arms pub in Salford
- Wigan Vintage & Craft Fair – Fashion, food, collectables and live entertainment at Haigh Hall
If we’ve omitted any vintage shops or events out please let us know – we’ll happily add them!