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@Afflecks Palace in Manchester

May 27, 2010

We left from the busy and crowds in London and head down to Manchester. Manchester is less busier and crowded than London and still owns its stories and identity. From the perspective of history, the south (mainly London) was much wealthier than the North (like Manchester), where was very much working class.  Regarding the fashion industry in these two cities, people in Manchester respect more of its fashion history. So they still largely use the application of vintage elements along with embracing the modern trends.

Manchester Attitude

Manchester is a city with cultural mix and diversity of young, old, many colours and races. It’s the people in Manchester that give this city its edge. According to the quotes from the Manchester Art Gallery, “Manchester is the city of radical thinkers, mavericks and trendsetters. Manchester attitude, the swagger on the street, colours the cultural landscape. It inspires designers, artists, musicians, writers to harness and express the tangible pulse that surges through the city.”

Afflecks Palace

One of the oldest fashion stores in Manchester, Afflecks Palace, which established in 1982, perfectly reflects Manchester attitudes. I believe that compared with the traditional market streets and department stores, the observation in Afflecks Palace will give me more insights into the fashion world in Manchester.

Afflecks positions itself as a “shopping mall” that integrates music and art, most importantly it keeps the origins from the history. Afflecks Palace stands out for its mixture with vintage and modern elements,
such as the boutique dresses with fancy colors, laces and different fabrics, Ho shoes (also called stripper shoes for dancing), as well as its accessories.

Entering the Afflecks Palace, I can hear that it is playing rock music. Unlike the stores in department stores, each stand in Afflecks Palace only has limited spaces for their products. The three stands I did my observation is No Angel, Thunder Egg and Pop Boutique. According to the salespersons from several stands, most people shopping here are students, ranging from 18 to 24. They are looking for uniqueness and different styles from those available in most traditional department stores. Most importantly, some of them are trying to find out the products with the hint of traditional British styles.

No Angel and Thunder Egg enjoy similar designs, focusing on vintage dresses. The several consumers shopping there were all shopping with friends. They wear blouse with bubble sleeves, jacket, Scotland skirts, skinny jeans, tights, flats and short boots. Also, they dyed their hair and have ear and nose piercing. Two girls shopping in Thunder Egg were already wearing Ho shoes and tights.

However, compared with No Angel and Thunder Egg, Pop Boutique has more causal dresses. The one couple shopping there are very young, around 20. The girl was wearing skinny jeans, All-star shoes, lose T-shirt and a bright blue bag. Another couple I ran into on the street also carried the shopping bag from Pop Boutique. The girl’s dress is far more impressive: red hair, blue headbands, fur coat, black tights and cowboy-style boots. Her boyfriend has dyed yellow hair, and wears red and white checked shirt, and black pants.

Therefore, the fashion world in London and Manchester both enjoy the openness and mixture. In some sense, the impact of multi-culture on fashion industry in London undoubtedly plays a vital role in the fashion trends and people’s attitudes in Manchester area. However, compared with the fashion trends in London, Manchester’s fashion trend is a little more reserved and limited to boutique and detail-focused dressing styles. They embrace the traditional British vintage elements in their dressing styles.

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