If there is one thing us Mancunian's are mad on - it's the way we style our selves. Just like the impact of our music, our fashion has also created waves in the fashion world and reflections of the Manchester style influence can be seen nationwide and WORLDwide. Manchester is renowned for it's vintage clothing style which is funny because we have lots of vintage and retro clothes shops. However, to answer '"What came first? The chicken or the egg?,' I am not sure whether it was the shops that came first or the style - lets just call it a mix of the two.
Anyway, I'll leave that thought with you as well as this list of all the vintage and retro shops located in Manchester City Centre.
39 Parker St, Manchester M1 4AJ
Located on the forever growing Oxford Road corridor, Bare Necessities opened its shop in 2019 to offer an alternative solution in the fight against fast fashion.
Bare Necessities mission is to source the highest quality of second-hand retro and vintage clothing at the lowest possible price for their customers. The store is ideally located close to the University of Manchester and Manchester Metropolitan University grounds.
Customers can expect to find an abundance of clothing organised in a beautiful rainbow to make your shopping experience more enjoyable and less tedious sifting. Lots of jeans, sweatshirts, dresses, shirts all at amazingly affordable prices.
39 Parker St, Manchester M1 4AJ
In the prime of the city centre, you can hop off the bus and walk straight into Thrift Shop store. Thrift Shop is part of the We Are Cow family, so you are guaranteed to find some cool and trendy vintage bits and pieces.
What sets this shop apart from the rest is their nifty pricing scheme – rails with hangers in certain colours are priced at a set price and a good price at that too! Which is perfect if you’re on a budget as you can shop in the suitable sections without any price jump scares.
The rails are always full and vibrant, you may have to do some digging but the finds are so worth it!
51 Piccadilly, Manchester M1 2AP
I know you have probably heard of The British Heart Foundation charity shop before, but what makes the one in Piccadilly Gardens extra special, is the fabulous vintage section located at the front of the shop. You can find some one-hit wonder items of clothing spanning back all the way from the 1940s.
As always, the rest of the shop is filled with lots of other second-hand garments, as well as brand new with tags clothing from various brands such as Zara and Pretty Little Thing. I know, not exactly slow fashion but it’s still closing the gap in the circle, and I guess a guilt-free way of buying a fast-fashion garment.
1 Newton St, Manchester M1 1HW
To pre-warn this shop is rather whacky and should definitely be renamed to The Eccentric Empire Exchange Emporium. If you do not manage to hear the shop via the retro sound system blasting some classic vinyl records out of the front, then you can find the shop manually on Newton Street just off Piccadilly Gardens.
This second-hand, collectables shop has been going strong for over 35 years and has been left in a time frozen bubble ever since, stepping down into this lair, if you dare, is like taking a trip down memory lane.
A cave full of nostalgic treasures, from vinyl to CDs (CDS? What are they?), to trinkets, comics, and ginormous props from the BBC, as well as a naughty adult corner for some vintage X-rated content. The iconic Empire Exchange Emporium is a place that is so vintage you could go in and come out forgetting what year it is!
We encourage everyone to visit this iconic shop, as we must protect it at all costs from the big corporate shops taking over!
1 Newton St, Manchester M1 1HW
Blue Rinse started off as an online vintage clothing company and now they have 2 physical stores with 1 choosing to open its doors here in Manchester! Don’t get me wrong, online shopping is very fun and convenient but to be able try before you buy, especially with vintage clothing it is quite the blessing.
Alongside the regular stock of vintage clothing, Blue Rinse sell their very own range of reworked clothing. All of the items of clothing are one-off pieces – haute-couture if you will, handmade by the brilliant team at Blue Rinse. What I love most about this shop is the number of cool accessories, from funky earrings, to wavy sunglasses, tremendous ties, bags – they even sell braces for your trousers! Now that’s what I call true vintage.
34 - 36 Oldham St, Manchester M1 1JN
Pop Boutique was founded back in 1983 and its first permanent shop was opened inside our very own Affleck's Palace in 1985. Nowadays, you can still find this fragment of history and take yourself back to shopping like its 1985 in Affleck’s Palace, or you can visit their larger independent store, located opposite Afflecks on Oldham’s Street.
Pop Boutique is still as much of a shrine to vintage shoppers as it was back in the 80s. You can guarantee all clothing is of a high-quality and you’re guaranteed to exit the shop with a real vintage treasure.
The layout is impeccable with rails and rails and rails and rails, plus mannequins and yes, you guessed it, more rails. Included in these rails are vintage Levi’s jackets and jeans, as well as silk shirts, retro sweaters and all the bits in between…You can also find completely one-off pieces by shopping through their rePop range of recycled materials turned into new garments, which compete with the current trending silhouettes without the fast-fashion guilt.
52 Church St, Manchester M4 1PW
Warning, you might get lost in the iconic Afflecks but it’s so worth it because when you eventually make your way out, you’ll be leaving with a whole new and extremely trendy wardrobe. There are multiple shops full of trinkets, retro gadgets, copious badges, plants, incense sticks in every flavour, tattoo parlours, piercing shops, vinyl and tapes and of course, lots of pre-loved vintage clobber!
A personal favourite, (if that is allowed) would be Beg, Steal, Borrow, located on the second floor of Afflecks. The shop is like taking a step into a 2000s groovy chick’s dream bedroom! The pink painted walls are decorated with iconic 2000s memorabilia including fluffy telephones and funky framed mirrors. Clothing wise, there are lots to choose from, clothing is carefully sorted into separate rails for dresses, skirts, jackets, trousers and clearly labelled in sizes. There are also an abundance of bags and shoes, which for a vintage shop there aren’t many genuine vintage shoes. The clothing is reasonably priced and there are also boxes where you can dig and find some real bargains!
The staff are also as equally friendly to the level of trendy they are. A particular service that Beg, Steal, Borrow offer is a trade in. Customers can bring their unwanted clothing and staff will choose items and in return you can get a voucher of equal worth to spend in the store!
Milner and Son's
If it’s a nice vintage jacket you’re after or some deadstock Docs, then Milner and Son’s shop is the place to go. Located amid the midst of it all on the second floor, Milner and Son have a variety of vintage garments and gadgets from a wide scope of different time periods. Stocking classic vintage pieces and brand names. These brands include Carhartt, Barbour, Harley Davidson, Dickies & many more. They also do their bit to fight against fast fashion trends by saving unwanted clothes from ending up in landfill.
On the second floor there is also ‘Vintage Wardrobe’ who pride themselves on being allies with the LGBTQIA+ community, their products are non-gendered, and they promote fundraising and events. In the vintage wardrobe you can find all sorts of archived pieces, from glittery tops, crochet shawls, checked shirts, fur coats, patchworked dresses and lots more!
As well as the store on Oldham Street, Pop Boutique also has a little space packed with their vintage and recycled pieces in Afflecks.
ZEFFA is the longest standing, OG shop if you like, of Afflecks and has a reputation for selling alternative vintage clothing. A vast selection of Levi’s, competitively priced vintage leather jackets and trousers. There is also a diverse range of accessories for both men and women.
If you don’t fancy going all the way into Afflecks and need a quick vintage fix, GRIN who are located on the ground floor, a small collection of vintage clothing and sunglasses but they do also stock a range of hair dyes if you want to completely revamp your style and complete your look.
Unit 8, Smithfield Buildings, 51, Oldham St, Manchester M1 1JR
What sets Oxfam Originals apart from the average Oxfam charity shop is that the clothing and accessories are strictly vintage and designer pieces. All items have been hand-picked specifically for the stores, so that customers can be ‘Original’ when shopping.
The shop has clothing from all areas, 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s! From eccentric ties to vintage skirt suits, shirts in all colours and patterns, to dresses for every occasion – including your own wedding!
And of course, Oxfam welcomes you to donate any of your own unwanted clothes and accessories.
61 Church St, Manchester M4 1PD
Cow Vintage have several stores across the UK. Everything in the store is ethically sourced, even the furnishings are made from 90% of recycled materials! We Are Cow handpick their items from various hubs around the world and sell them for affordable prices.
You can find pieces that have already stood the test of time from the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s and the not-so-distant 00s. We Are Cow, also sell a wide variety of iconic archived brands alongside their own rework range so, you are bound to find something unique!
33 Tib St, Manchester M4 1LX
Another Manchester ye olde favourite vintage shop would of course be, Bags of Flavour. You know like how even in a 30g of Walker’s Cheese Onion Crisps the flavour is still strong? That is exactly this shop…even though Bags of Flavour is small regarding space, it’s well stocked! This is a perfect shop for those when the idea of trawling through endless mish mashed rails of clothes is all too daunting.
In the well-organised Bags of Flavour shop, you can find all the classic vintage brands such as Tommy Hilfiger, Burberry, Ralph Lauren, Fred Perry, Nike etc. for a decent price. The shop owner who runs the place is also incredibly friendly and knowledgeable in the fashion field.
40 Spear St, Manchester M1 1AS
103 Oxford Rd, Manchester M1 7ED
You can find Suzy Loves Milo in two places in the city centre. One of the locations is inside HATCH off The Oxford Road Corridor. The second, just off of Stevenson Square on Spear Street, under the name of Concept NQ.
What sets the shops apart from the average vintage shop is that the owners Bob and THE Suzy, have personally handpicked all of the items and not bulk bought from wholesalers. Bob and Suzy take fashion influence from all corners of the world, particularly taking inspiration from Korea and Japan hence you’ll see a lot of Evisu.
Slightly on the more expensive side of the second-hand spectrum but it’s very worth it!
Written by: Ciara McNulty, Digital Executive