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COW Vintage Gets Bigger & Brighter NQ Store

L'Oréal Blackett thinks Oldham Street is a better fit for this vintage superstore

Written by . Published on August 29th 2014.

COW Vintage Gets Bigger & Brighter NQ Store

COW Vintage MCR has relocated its cult vintage clobber to the Northern Quarter after spending five lost years squashed between a Quality Save and Tesco Express by Piccadilly Garden's bus station. 

The store has now beefed up its operation (pun approved by editor) by occupying an impressive two-storey space on Oldham Street, opening last weekend to a great response.

"The difference between high-street stores and COW Vintage is instead of 90s replicas you can wear the actual clothes from that era."

As the Northern Quarter has become much affiliated with vintage clothes and youthful nostalgia, COW has been eagerly embraced by the thriving ‘sustainable fashion’ network.

Here, the many boutique independents aren’t necessarily rivals but happy neighbours. Slotting comfortably inside the building that used to accommodate the Bench store, COW Vintage finds itself in great company with vintage havens Pop Boutique, Junk Vintage and Afflecks Palace all within a stone’s throw.

It's a huge and welcome change from the loitering punters of Piccadilly Garden's betting and gaming shops.

Dsc_0691COW Vintage, Oldham Street

 “It was a shame because even shoppers who truly love vintage didn’t know where we were in our old store. Others had come across us because they were buying sweets in the Quality Save,” laughed web coordinator and stylist, Helen McGuckin.

“The option was to either revamp the current store or take up a space in the Northern Quarter. When this space on Oldham Street was made available we jumped at it. COW needed to join an area with a bit of edge. People have come to identify the Northern Quarter with vintage and COW is much better suited here.”

When it came to decorating the large new space, COW went the whole hog (or cow). Maintaining the store's ethical yet trendy fashion focus, they’ve taken a modern spin on the old and left the building's original features exposed. Throughout the store there's a running theme of dangling orb light fixtures and they've made efforts to utilise the huge space with stylish quirks, such as a pyramid walkway, giant doll's house till station and kitsch red and white candy cane feature walls.

On the whole, the new COW Vintage is an organised retail operation and the complete antithesis to the mish-mash hodgepodge of other vintage stores (that's you Ryan, sort your racks out). Split into trend sections, you can shop leisurely instead of diving into a rubble pile of second-hand clobber.

Plus the store is so big there’s enough space to swing a bull.

Dsc_0660Upstairs COW Vintage

There’s also a generous menswear section mainly consisting of sweaters and Ralph Lauren and Lacoste shirts. Womenswear dominates the shop and both original vintage and reworked designs carry on into the large basement. 

“We haven’t upped the costs," reassured McGuckin. "There’d be no point getting this great new store but putting our prices so high that no one would be able to afford anything. We have very young customers, starting from around 15 and going into the 30s, so we want them to keep shopping with us.”

COW Vintage is a by-product of the trend led high-street stores populated by 80s and 90s inspired street fashion. Or rather it's the high street stores that have carbon copied COW's throwback style. Now with concessions in Topman and rolling out more in Topshop from mid-September, alongside a successful online-shopping venture, COW is certified as a one-stop shop for stylish second-hand wears.

And it's cool veneer mostly appeals to the young'uns who consider the early 90s as a vintage era rather than formative years.. 

“Well, this is me speaking and not COW, but I would only consider 70s and earlier as vintage. I don’t particulary want to class 80s and 90s fashion as vintage as I was a kid of the 90s – and that would mean I’m old,” laughed McGuckin.

She added: "We’re lucky as currently 80s and 90s style is having a fashion moment. The difference between high-street stores and COW Vintage is instead of replicas you can wear the actual clothes from that era."

You can immerse yourself in a whole 90s bubble of nostalgia and memorabilia at COW Vintage. Here hawaiian shirts, vivid colour boiler suits and the hair scrunchie live on and prosper in a more vintage friendly corner of town. 

Oldham Street, Northern Quarter, M1 1JN. wearecow.blogspot.co.uk

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