Picture the scene – you’ve arrived at your office night out feeling a million dollars in an outfit that you spent hours shopping for. Then, your biggest work rival shows up wearing exactly the same outfit! Unfortunately, that’s the risk with high street shopping. One way to avoid that is to try shopping somewhere a bit alternative, maybe a little quirky and certainly a bit different. In fact, somewhere like the Northern Quarter in Manchester.
Cutesy tea dresses, military wear, sexy or retro; the Northern Quarter has them all covered. But it’s not just about clothing. The Northern Quarter is recognised as Manchester’s ‘Creative Quarter’ and has an abundance of artists’ material suppliers, second hand and rare book shops, clothing warehouses, crafts shops and photographic studios. Even eating out there is different as the food outlets tend to be fast food, healthy eating or vegetarian as opposed to upmarket restaurants. If you want to get hold of a vinyl record, some handmade jewellery or a piece of unusual furniture, then this is the place to do so. You will also find plenty of ‘value’ hotels and guest houses.
Afflecks is probably one of the best known shopping areas in the Northern Quarter. It is frequented by the young and trendy and the student population of Manchester, probably because of its alternative nature coupled with reasonable prices. Apart from the diverse range of clothing, you will find a tattooist, face painting, body piercing, second hand goods and even a traditional barbers shop.
For retro clothing, a good place to go, aside from Afflecks, is Retro Rehab on Oldham Street, which sells vintage and customised dresses as well as many other clothing items and accessories. On the same street, Pop Boutique is another retro shop selling clothing from the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. For originals, you could try the Fashion Market that is held every Saturday on the Corner of Tib Street and Market Street. Here you will find one off items of clothing, shoes, handbags and jewellery from local, up and coming designers.
The Northern Quarter has for a long time had an individual, Bohemian vibe and in 1995 the council decided to harness that individuality by investing in the area through its Northern Quarter Regeneration Strategy. Despite this investment, however, parts of the Northern Quarter still look shabby and this could be off-putting for many people. However, if you manage to see beyond the derelict buildings the area is well worth exploring, and there’s a good chance that you will leave with at least one gratifying purchase. Before you dash off to the shops, however, be sure to check our current Manchester deals to see if you could save some money.