Manchester, a shopping city: Renovations in Retail

GM Business Week recently reported apparent rumours that Manchester’s reign as the hub for retail and leisure in the north west was dwindling, with the rise of new and exciting offers in neighbouring Leeds and Liverpool. 

Balls to that, Manchester is as incredible as it has ever been and now, finally, our neighbouring cities are catching up! 

Across the hills, Leeds welcomes Trinity, a gargantuan retail development in the middles of the city centre housing massive names in global retail, from Armani Exchange to Warehouse and will be the UK’s only new retail complex built this year. It launched this season, with a party choreographed by Henry Holland and to crowds of shoppers ready to part with their cash despite the economic gloom. Whilst Trinity is a success story in many ways and Leeds should be proud of the kick up the bottom that their shopping offer has had, just because there’s an Arndale on the other side of the Pennines doesn’t mean Manchester’s closed for business. 


Central Village, Liverpool

Similarly, Liverpool’s Liverpool One development continues to be the success story of note for the city and their newly polished St John’s Shopping Centre and upcoming Central Village development will undoubtedly spark more column inches reporting on Manchester’s dreary future in retail, poor Piccadilly Approach area (agreed) and maybe even those awful tiles on the arse-end of Manchester Arndale, what are they all about?


TOPMAN Festival Video

But, c’mon guys, why all the hate? Manchester’s been the no. 1 for so long, can’t we all just share the love a little and remember that Manchester doesn’t need to reinvent the wheel because what it’s got, works pretty well.

Whilst other cities redesign whole districts to bring their shopping offer up to par, Manchester is polishing its assets, giving a few face-lifts here and there and generally getting it’s growth spurt on.

 Manchester Arndale may have always been home to the highstreet in the city, but the city’s undercover shopping hub steps into the global arena with the world’s largest TOPMAN store now open to the public.


TOPMAN Personal Shopping Fitting Rooms

An impressive store, set over the ground floor with TOPSHOP occupying the upper mall space and the next floor above, the launch proves Manchester still packs a punch when it comes to providing shoppers with something new and exciting. A newly remodeled personal shopping suite, a mammoth denim department, dedicated footwear section and a stock of brands exclusive to the store outside of London’s Oxford Street. Finally, Manchester can truly say it has a flagship store from one of the Arcadia brands, one that looks, feels and works like a major city centre flagship should.

Primark also opens its doors fully to its newly refurbished floors of bargain fashion and homeware, welcoming punters into the largest Primark store in the country. Four entrances, three floors, too many onesies and a whole lota fashion, who can say we’re falling behind?

How else does Manchester prove itself?

  1. Only ck Calvin Klein store in UK (and?)
  2. Only city with two Selfridges stores, ner-ner-ner-ner-nerr
  3. Largest Ugg Store, Armani (menswear), All Saints and inner-city shopping centre (Manchester Arndale) in UK
  4. The Manchester Trafford Centre remains the only shopping and leisure destination that’s like Disney, on acid, with loads of shops.
  5. Affleck’s Palace, need we say more?
  6. Actually, the whole bloody Northern Quarter is a stroke of genius
  7. Kendals is bloody lovely, nothing like any other House of Fraser
  8. One of the biggest regional Harvey Nichols stores in the UK, very posh
  9. We do markets pretty well. Craft, Food, Christmas
  10. Balls to you Grazia, Manchester rules!–who-wins-your-vote-for-the-most-stylish-city  


    Diesel Waykee Jeans: ‘avin’ a Larkee in Waykees

    I popped by USC in Manchester Trafford Centre t’other night because Diesel are making a right fuss about something called a Waykee.

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    USC Manchester Trafford Centre

    I know, WTF? But, apparently, Waykee is a type of jean. Who knew? Those of loyal Diesel persuasion (and enviable bank accounts) will no doubt have heard of the Larkee, the brand’s best selling jeans style, a simple loose fitting regular straight leg in a plethora of shades and finishes. Well, in an effort to capitalise on the success of the Larkee, Diesel sought to reinvent the wheel with the Waykee, which is the Larkee, only with a waist band 0.5 inches higher and a leg 1 centimetre more tapered from the knee down.

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    The Larkee, in all their glory.

    Not exactly revolutionary you say? Well perhaps not, after all, 1 centimetre, when all is said and done, isn’t a lot. Mind you, in jean world it can make quite the difference. It turns a regular straight leg into a regular straight with a leg (from the knee down) 1 centimetre more tapered. See? No really, it is a noticeable difference.

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    Vest, Diesel, at USC £45.00
    Jeans, Diesel, at USC £120.00
    Shoes, Converse at Ryan Vintage £15.00

    Now, I’m not a Larkee man. I don’t have the build to pull off a jean style any wider than a (silk-cut) cigarette leg and regularly opt for a pair of skinny jeans over any other style. So, when Waykee was introduced to me as a the leaner younger brother of the Diesel “Dad jean” Larkee, I was excited to see what it was all about.

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    So, I tried them on and they are a lovely fit, the 807R blue style includes that pinned-up ruffed look on the hem, a leather back patch reads “made to last” and there’s a discreet metal plate, which reads 1978, that’s a nice touch. 

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    The rise was flattering, that 0.5 inches made the difference, but the leg was just too wide for me and I think that, since the style launches at USC for this season, the dark blue and black colour options are too Autumnal when consumers want light hues and fabrics for summer months. 

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    Having said that, I adore the vest I nabbed, also from Diesel, it’s a kinda retro wall-paper pattern, perfect for the summer months when I may eventually get a tan!

    But, what do you think? @jordanjmcdowell