Afflecks (often affectionately known as Afflecks Palace) is a cornerstone of alternative culture, as well as Mancunian spirit. Spread across four floors in an ex-drapery business and department store at the heart of the Northern Quarter, here you will find over 100 small and independent businesses bringing weird and wonderful wares with them.
And there is not just one entrance – there are three. Enter the weird and wonderful world of Afflecks from Church Street, Oldham Street and also the corner of Tib Street.
It also seems to be a place of initiation. People of Manchester often tell tales of their first visit to Afflecks as a teenager, tempted by its charm and bold independence. Outside is encrusted with Manchester-themed mosaics (created by local artist Mark Kennedy) and it’s even more impressive inside – stairwells seeping out iconic music and plastered in posters, shops selling everything from corsets to cakes.
The independent nature of the shops means that stock changes frequently and a number of different things seem to be going on here at any one time. It is also remarkably easy to get lost. And it’s not just its labyrinthine quality. Here at HAUNT Manchester we bring you our top 10 best places to shop Goth:
You won’t just smile when you step in here – you’ll be grinning. After all, Grin is often the first place people come across as they stumble into Afflecks, and it is an emporium of the dark, devious and eccentric. Here you’ll find top-hats, umbrellas, Goth-inspired dresses, hoodies, slogan T-shirts and seriously striking UV makeup. Right by the door on the Ground Floor, you have no excuse.
Bringing awesome accessories to Manchester and beyond, based for nearly 20 years in Afflecks, it’s Extreme Largeness. This shop goes all-out to ensure that your look will stand-out and stand tall – with a number of Goth-inspired options including on-trend chokers, collars, jewellery and patches – on the ground floor. A range of badges made in-house are a brilliant addition to coats and bags. You can also pick out some unique piercing jewellery or if you want to go even more hardcore, there’s a second store upstairs (second floor): what was their festival stall, made permanent.
Also fondly known as ‘the corset shop’ – Strawberri Peach on the first floor is the place-to-go for quirky corsets and stand-out dresses as well as a range of Gothic shoes and boots; some of the tallest you will see in the city. Made-to-measure bespoke options are also available, so you can create your own unique dress or corset combination, popular for proms and weddings. This first-floor haven is a popular place with Whitby Goth weekend attendees, so you know you are in good hands.
The Little Niche
Gothic meets gorgeous. This lovely little shop is an ideal place to buy goth-inspired gifts, which combine the darkness with something delightful. Think: celebratory goblets, cute cushions, clothing and accessories – with a number of Fair Trade items available. A broad range of artful greetings cards are also available, with beautiful designs which beat the High Street hands-down. On the first floor.
For genuine Goth culture clothing and accessories, Elysia is the shop for you. Expect a suitably dark and delightful soundtrack to playing as you shop, as here you can browse a range of rock and gothic clothing including trenchcoats, dresses and design trousers. Find this dark den next to The Little Niche on The First Floor.
Abacus & Tigers Eye
Set on the first floor, this is your one-stop-shop for body piercing jewellery of all kinds. Glass cases full of delights for your eyes to feast on. From simple studs to elaborate chains, you will find a design to suit you – with real silver available. Or to delve into something even more mysterious, there are also crystal balls, tarot cards and unique gifts for you to ponder over.
Looking for one-off accessories that make a fun impression? Trippy Kitty on the first floor is the place for that – with an eclectic range of stock which varies from themed clothing and unusual accessories to cute charms. Some of the most popular items include their pop-culture style leggings, whilst there are a number of ‘one off’ pieces ideal for tying into a Gothic look. For something darker, their range of pendants and keyrings will be sure to impress.
Trading here for over 30 years, Zeffa is the longest-established shop in Afflecks boasting a range of genuine vintage accessories – many of which could be utilised for goth-glam effect. Leather jackets, long dresses, boots with a story to tell: there is plenty here. Flying jackets and leather trousers add to that eclectic feel. Up on the second floor, it is worth remembering that this place also has a number of antique items, which has included everything from pottery and pendants to guitars, over the years.
Rowfers makes you go wowsers! An emporium of alternative clothes, accessories, seriously colourful make-up and an array of incense (you can smell the shop before you see it); this is one of the longest-established traders in Afflecks. There are some great Gothic-styled coats you can get your hands on here, as well as Goth-inspired accessories such as studded belts, voodoo dolls and one of the biggest collections of body piercings in the building. Even better, they are proud stockists of Directions hair colour and Stargazer makeup, both of which are not tested on animals. Find them on the second floor.
Imagine walking into a dressing box the size of a shop. That is the feel of American Graffitti – the place to go for vintage, retro, kitsch and random clothing. So no, it’s not street art…but you are sure to leave looking more than a little artful. Ideal gothic options include their bewitching accessories, faux fur coats and a notable array of spooky spectacles. We’ve even found studded goggles in there – promise. Also on the second floor.
Stag & Raven
Beautiful tattoo-inspired artwork on the top floor (third floor), with many pieces having a distinct gothic feel. Here you will find not just limited-edition art, but also homeware and accessories. The beating heart of Stag & Raven are Hannah and Kate, who support the creative tattoo community and source the artwork; many intense, interesting pieces you are sure to love. Featured artists have included Rheannon Ormond and Tom Hall.
Midnight Coven Crafts
Also on the third floor, this is a deliciously dark shop selling gothic-inspired crafts and accessories including collars, harnesses and necklaces. They also stock homeware pieces which tend to be snapped up fast due to their unique nature – and have included coffin shelves and bleeding candles. The shop mannequin ‘Cruella’ will also typically be modelling some designs for you to enjoy, and the window is even complete with hand-made cobweb curtains.
By Emily Oldfield
Photography – with thanks to Zarina Akhtar
Established in 1982, Afflecks has become an icon in the heart of Manchester’s Northern Quarter. Regularly voted a ‘must see’ for visitors to the city, our vibrant and eclectic market is packed full of independent traders who put their heart and soul into their products. With over…