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Born to shop

Vanessa Lees finds a renewed passion for fashion

Published on April 20th 2007.

Born to shop

Ever find that when you go shopping at Tescos or Sainsburys you’re on auto pilot, sleepwalking through the aisles? But take a trip to the market and your soul and appetite for food is reawakened. Your mind is alerted to the texture, the taste, the variety, the unquestionable quality.

Clothes shopping is a similar experience. It’s so easy, although incredibly mundane to stalk the rails of the chain stores, clutching robotically at new romantic dresses, or whatever trend it is that Ms Miller is draped in for one week only. So wake up, sleepy head and take conscious control of your shopping habits, starting with Unique Boutique in The Triangle.

It’s a delightful boutique of exploration and experimentation. Independent designers from across the globe, modelling alongside more established one, clothes that encourage individuality and style, kooky jewellery and handbags which open your heart as well as your wallet.

These are exciting times for Maria McGreevy, who opened Unique Boutique just over six months ago. Having completed a fashion degree in Manchester, Maria pursued her creative flair for designing but due to the nature of the cut throat fashion industry, found it increasingly difficult. So it was when she started working in independent fashion boutiques that she developed an interest for the commercial value of clothes and naturally fell into buying.

When Unique Boutique was set up in September, Maria brought with her both an eye for design and a head for business that could be weaved into her new venture.

“It’s a really fun shop to look at and it’s a break from the norm. It makes shopping more exciting to see such different items.”

Maria concentrates on providing pieces of interest such as intricately designed and decorated t-shirts by Brazilian designer Joth, which come with potpourri scented hangers and handmade labels.

As Maria points out: “You get that little bit extra from independent designers.”

Then there’s a South African designer who customises trainers, a vegan company Matt and Nat from Candada who have produced the most delicious canary yellow bag and Brighton based company Good One who make trendy garments from recycled, handpicked fabric. Even Maria’s Aunty Carol has got in on the Unique Boutique action by knitting the most adorable children’s cardigans - apparently they are flying off the shelves.

Although Maria tends to steer away from featuring graduates’ designs, she has made a exception to Oliver Goddard, a recent graduate from Manchester Metropolitan. “He is very commercial and his stuff sells really well,” says Maria.

“This is an excellent space for small independents to sell their stuff, we offer a really good service and it’s something that stands against the faceless chains. You can buy an item here for the same price as the high street that’s heartfully made and a lot of thought behind it.”

Prices range from a modest £25 to a feeling thrifty £400. There’s an item to suit all styles, whether it’s the small and selective men’s range or something for art lovers as the shop exhibits the works of local artists. Currently featured is the work of Daryl Higgins.

We think Unique Boutique is definitely worth a peep, peeps.

Unique Boutique, The Triangle Shopping Centre, Exchange Square, Manchester M4 3TR, 0161 839 6651 www.unique-boutique.co.uk

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