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Best Of Manchester Indie Menswear

David McCourt makes his choice of the best shops for men’s clobber in the city centre. What's yours?

Written by . Published on July 14th 2012.

Best Of Manchester Indie Menswear

THIS is a personal choice of indie and proud menswear, for young dapper Mancunians.

The list does not include the high street powerhouses that everybody knows and loves/hates – so don’t expect to find any Topshop, Primark, or H&M here. The list also excludes ultra-premium stores where a shirt costs more than the monthly rent.

If Thomas Street Post Office ever opens up again, it will rejoin its peers on the list.

The top three is the top three. The rest are in no particular order.

If you think something's been missed enter it into the rant box below.

You can follow David on Twitter here @DavidPMcCourt

Oi Polloi
Mon – Sat: 10am – 6pm (opens 10:30am on Wednesdays), Sun: Closed
The best menswear shop in the city – simple as that. Oi Polloi started life on Manchester’s menswear scene in the summer of 2002, and has since become the place for a splashy purchase. It’s not cheap, but you get what you pay for, and what you pay for here is quality that will still be in fashion in 12months time. For contemporary classics at the top end of the quality spectrum, you can’t do better in this city, or any other I’ve come across outside of London.
63 Thomas Street, Manchester, M4 1LQ Website

Oi-PolloiOi-Polloi, Thomas Street

Bags of Flavor
Mon – Sat: 11am – 6pm, Sun: Closed
Bags of Flavor has been in Manchester since 2000, but it’s been moving around to keep you on your toes. Originally in Affleck’s Palace, and after stints on Church Street and Oldham Street, this hidden gem has been tucked away on Tib Street since the end of 2009. Bags are what they do best. They’re all made from recycled materials, vintage sports goods, fine tweed and leather. Aside from a genuine one of a kind bag, they do vintage bespoke clobber, and this remains one of the best places in the city to buy classic casuals. You’ll hardly ever see the same item twice, but go in on the right day and, with a bit of luck, you could find they’ve got the retro item of your dreams in stock.
33 Tib Street, Manchester, M4 1LX Website


Bags Of FlavorBags Of Flavor, Tib Street

Mon – Sat: 9am – 6pm, Sun: 10am – 4pm
Originally a shoe shop, Ran started to branch out and sell trendy outwear and cutting edge sports garments long before Oi Polloi and Selfridges got in on the act. Nowadays you can get a lot of what Ran stock at other places, but this is still the place to go looking if you want it first. Be sure to check out both sides of the store, as it’s split across two separate sites on either side of St Ann’s Arcade’s passage. 
7&8 St Ann’s Arcade, Manchester, M2 7HQ Website

RanRan, St Ann's Arcade

The best of the rest…

Mon – Wed: 10am – 6pm, Thurs: 10am – 7pm, Fri – Sat: 9am – 6pm, Sun: 11am – 5pm
Aspecto may not be as consistently brilliant across it’s range as Oi Palloi or Ran, but it’s easily worthy of it’s place as on the list for it’s collection of footwear and outwear. Aside from the Barbour store in St Ann’s Arcade, where you’ll seldom get any discount, this is probably the best place to get one of the infamous wax coats. Aspecto is also one of the largest stockists of the Tokyo’s Edwin Jeans in the city.
Unit 22, Corn Exchange, Manchester, M4 3TR Webiste


AspectoAspecto, Corn Exchange

Fred Perry Laurel Wreath
Mon - Weds: 10am - 6pm, Thurs - Sat: 10am - 7pm, Sun: 11am - 5pm
Don’t be mislead into thinking this is just another Fred Perry shop. The ‘Authentic’ stores are all over the country, but this is one of only three Laurel Wreath’ stores in the UK (the other two are in London). What that means is, Police Street is the only place in the north where you can see Fred Perry’s premium label clothing in the flesh, and this heritage inspired range is always rife with collaborations and blank canvas projects.
11 Police Street, Manchester, M2 7LQ. Website 

Mon – Wed: 10am – 6pm, Thurs – Sat: 10am – 7pm, Sun: 11am – 5pm
British brand Jigsaw has been involved in the design, manufacturing and retail of clothes since the early 70s, but has only recently just gotten re-involved with menswear. There’s over 40 stores in the UK, so it’s not that exclusive, but I’ve never seen this place too busy, so you won’t be bumping into folk on the street dressed identically to you if you’ve been shoping here. Whilst the menswear collection is fairly small, it’s all quality stuff. Head here for contemporary classics that you won’t see swamping the high street.
37 Hanging Ditch, Manchester, M4 3TR Website

Jigsaw-Manchester-Photo-1Jigsaw, Hanging Ditch

Mon – Sat: 10am – 6pm, Sun: Closed
This little independent menswear store is known for stocking a wide range of exclusive, cutting edge brands you won’t find anywhere else. Stuff such as Humor, Bolongaro Trevor, Religion, Scotch & Soda, Long, Goliath, Swear, The Cuckoo's Nest, Ignite, Rough Justice, Villain and Sons of Heroes. If low-cut print t-shirts are your bag, you’ll struggle to find a better range in the city centre. It’s only small, but Artisan wastes no space on banal clothing.
7-9 Old Bank Street, Manchester, M2 7PE Website

ArtisanArtisan, Old Bank Street

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16 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

DavidJuly 14th 2012.

Oi Polloi is not the best menswear shop in Manchester.It has become hideously expensive compared to when it first opened and its no longer that inventive in the choice of labels it stocks either.
Personally I could not care less about the so called independent label.I just want the coolest fashions at a fair price.In that respect Kendals menswear is much better than all of these shops put together,and without the snooty,condescending staff.

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousJuly 15th 2012.

Coolest fashions? At Kendals? Are you sure? I find the range there extremely limited, especially for younger men.

DavidJuly 15th 2012.

Yes I am sure.Take a look at the many labels they stock that are aimed at younger men and the prices they charge.In contrast compare what they sell at Oi Polloi.I would suggest that shops average customer must be well over 30 to afford the prices they charge these days.
Urban Outfitters is much better and more affordable than Oi Polloi as well.

UrbanefoxJuly 16th 2012.

Got to echo David's sentiments. I consider the clothes and brands in Oi Polloi to be prohibitive cost wise. Less 'independent' and more 'high end' in my opinion. I don't bother looking unless there's a sale on.

I consider ashopcalledwood and Urban Outfitters at the affordable end of the quality spectrum. There's also a really good high quality vintage store on the corner of John Street / Thomas Street which (last time I checked) didn't have a sign. It had a good selection of mens branded vintage clothing and I spotted a fair few Penfield jackets and YSL jumpers last time I looked.

dragonboyJuly 16th 2012.

Totally agree with the comments about Oi Polloi. Painfully expensive with a very ordinary stock and the staff look you up and down like you shouldn't or can't afford to be in their.

DavidJuly 16th 2012.

It's a shame actually about Oi Polloi,at one time it was very good.But at that time it seemed like the people running the shop had a real enthusiasm for discovering interesting brands and the staff conveyed this enthusiasm as well to the customer.
I don't know what happened in recent years,but the staff now give give the impression that talking to the customer is beneath them.

AnonymousJuly 17th 2012.

Yup, Oi Polloi is expensive, never had a prob with the staff though, seem ok to me. Despite the prices it is still the best menswear store in Manchester by far (along with Ran). To be fair though what else do we have to chose from?

I am sure Artisan closed about 6 months ago! Did anyone even check their website link before they posted it?

Even if it was still open it's shows the sad state of independents in Manchester.

AnonymousJuly 17th 2012.

Yes, Artisan closed around March time....

what about LiFE? its there 20years yet its not included in this article!?

AnonymousJuly 17th 2012.

ARC, has been around the Manchester scene for 20 odd years.....!

Stephen CoxJuly 18th 2012.

Artisan is owned by Intro on Deansgate - think they closed it due to lack of footfall - it wasn't the best street to be on really! Intro's website now has all of Artisan's stuff on there.

AnonymousJuly 18th 2012.

Oipolloi is pretty much the best shop outside of London. The reason it's harder these days for them to find these new brands and stand out is due to the number of oipolloi copy cat shops that had opened around the country.
As for the staff never had a problem, always friendly and welcoming - they'd even make a brew for my wife when she was pregnant.
Anyone who feels they are being looked up and down is wrong, and this feeling is probably more to do with your own insecurity about whether you should be in the shop than what the staff are thinking.

3 Responses: Reply To This...
DavidJuly 18th 2012.

Can you name please any of these Oi Polloi copycat stores that you claim have sprung up all over the country?
You also don't address the question of the very high prices they feel the neeed to charge these days

UrbanefoxJuly 19th 2012.

Anon there are lots of times when I feel insecure; when my boss makes that strange half sigh / half yawn when he looks at my work; the walk from the changing rooms to the swimming pool in my trunks; when more than one ex-girlfriend is in the same room at the same time...
Generally, I don't feel insecure when I go into a shop to spend money. If I do, it's a pretty strong indication there is something wrong with the shop, not me.
I've got to agree, they're not the friendliest in Oi Polloi.
Kudos to them for being nice to your wife though.

AnonymousJuly 20th 2012.

Well you've got End, Shed, Weavers door, superdenim. Hip in Leeds may have been around longer but it's becoming more and more like oi polloi every season. You also had kiosk 78 in Leeds but thats recently closed down. Anyway thats just a few of the shops in the north - I could go on and on.
As for the prices they don't charge anymore than the other shops do for the same item. Yes stuff like engineered garments, and Nigel Cabourn is expensive, but they also sell more reasonably priced brands such as Fred Perry and Penfield.

AnonymousJuly 21st 2012.

primark mate

AnonymousNovember 16th 2012.

Totally agree with the comments above about Oipollio. Very stuck up staff. The clothes they sell are for people with too much money; £95 for a t-shirt, give over.

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