It is a sentiment which is repeated by many new visitors to Manchester, as well as those who leave the city to move elsewhere; the city claims a definitive style which can be identified from other locations.
But what exactly is signature Mancunian style and how has it been influenced by trends past and present? STYLEetc. decided to delve further into Manchester’s colourful past to see which iconic trends it has been shaped by and in turn the trends in which the City helped create on it’s own.
In a City of such great athletic achievement it’s only natural such status would trickle its way down into Manchester’s fashion. Athleisure is a trend which will always do the rounds in the cycle of trends, reworking itself to fit any agenda.
The Manchester element stays true to tradition, with classic brands such as Ellesse, Reebok and Nike having consistent homes within this style. The two sides of the coin to this trend are the retro aspect, continuing to source evergreen brands which will stand the test of time, and the modern take, drawing in the latest trainers and sportswear (perhaps taking inspiration from our two football teams latest sponsorships).
The worry with this look is going overboard and going full Chav (not recommended) so be sure to incorporate some of your own personal flair when styling this look. Cara Delevigne has recently launched a campaign for Puma which perfectly captures the way to work the modern athleisure aspect of this trend.
For those looking for the retro side, try browsing one of Manchester’s many vintage shops to bag an original piece. Blue Rinse and Cow are front-runner favourites within the city for shoppers who know about their classic brands, but you’ll have to be a veteran visitor to get full scope of the collections on offer. Modernists will find better home in Footlocker, JD Sports and the brands own stores, easily found at either the Arndale or the Trafford Centre for the best variety.
Nodding to Manchester’s illustrious music scene, Rave inspired fashion naturally occurred from the Hacienda Madchester days of clubbers past. Colour is the key to this look, the brighter the better to befit your strobe light and smoke machine surroundings still visible.
Not just designed for heavy nights out, this style can be adapted to everyday in a more understated approach. Slogan Tees can be teamed with jeans and casual trainers for a standard day out and about. Colour can also be incorporated through any item to adhere to this style, be it with alternate coloured jeans, shoes or simply accessories.
In more recent times the Rave trend has been adapted to suit an enduringly popular festival and big events culture, particularly with the resurgence of Manchester’s music events scene (we’re looking at you Warehouse Project and Parklife). The types of events encourage the playful aspect of Rave, where neon facepaint and OTT hair accessories are standard attire. Brightly coloured crop tops are teamed with barely there shorts and High Top Trainers (for practical dancing).
Shopping for this trend you’ll find plenty of places to browse in the City Centre. The Northern Quarter homes many independent boutiques offering affordable and stylish pieces. Likewise, online retailers are always a good shout for browsing for the best deals, with ASOS being top of the list to look at. For accessories, smaller hubs such as Duty Free can provide more quirky garnishing for your outfits as well as facepaint and make-up.
You only need to visit Afflecks Palace in the City Centre to see that Gothic fashion is alive and well within Manchester. What completes Manchester as a community is having this freedom to don any fashion, no matter how alternative, and still find acceptance. Goth fashion has its subcultures of course, but we’ll just stick to the basics to give an overview.
On the topic of Afflecks, it certainly is a great place to start to sound out your Goth style. Indoor Marketplace to Black Skinny Jeans aplenty and all sorts of unusual side-buys, you could spend hours browsing each store. The building is even home to a host of Tattoo and Piercing parlours if that’s your sort of thing.
As with some of the aforementioned trends, the key to Gothic styling is in the immersion of the whole culture, along with the fashion come music and interests, hand-in-hand. Again, Manchester caters to this perfectly with it’s solid choice of live venues to check out the latest bands, as well as being a regular stop-off for big bands to play when in town.
It goes without saying hair and make-up take up a big dimension in the Goth look, the more statement the better in assessing you individuality. Alternative Beauty brands are becoming more commonly accessible to cater to these nicher markets, with brands such as Jefree Star understanding a desire for more unusual hues and aesthetics rather than churning out standard nudes and basics. Shopping for these alternate brands are tricky in the real world, but online sites like Beauty Bay and Cult Beauty offer harder to find products, all available to the UK.
Sixties style has had a huge influence on Manchester’s fashion scene, giving birth to the regurgitated Modern Mod style which we so commonly see paraded around the Northern Quarter on a daily basis. Popular in both mens and womenswear, Modern Mod has taken on a life of its own, visible in bowl shaped haircuts and sixties shaped ensembles.
Local Fashion Bloggers like Megan Ellaby really have this style nailed down, throwing together A-Line minis and Baker Boy caps, complete with Polo Jumper for full effect. The point of this trend is to re-imagine Mod rather than copy it piece for piece. Adding contemporary accessories to this keep things current, bringing the modern element in subtly.
When putting looks together, opt for a bold, colourful print for your statement piece then build around. Denim usually juxtaposes loud patterns eloquently and takes the style out of one decade dedication. Shops like Retro Rehab and Pop Boutique tailor to this trend adequately, offering pieces a little different from the high street, although versatile styles can still be found in your affordable favourites in the Arndale and across Market Street.
Colour blocking works well for this style, as do straight-cut mini dresses and pretty boots. For completing this look head to toe, you can’t go wrong with a strong red lip. Tousled hair adds further intrigue, for a more casual approach. The purpose of this trend is not just the look itself but the whole lifestyle to boot. Immerse yourself in the film, music and culture to be fully inspired when channelling new wave sixties chic.
One of the benefits of living in the North is the cheaper taxi fares, making it much easier to get ready in the comfort of your home (and take your time) before hitting the town on a night out. The result of this is a heavier focus on going all-out with your look in addition to your party attitude.
The first key component of this look include skyscraper heels, which will be undoubtedly ditched by 1am when you can no longer dance and strewn across the crook of your arm, assuredly followed by an appropriate clutch to contain your make-up top ups, keys and phone securely.
Coats are a divisive decision for the Northern Girl’s night out, with braver souls on the side of baring it all in the cold and saving the two quid fee, again this fits with the easy and cheap availability of taxes, thus shunning having to take public transport at ungodly hours with bare legs and/or shoulders on show.
For the actual main outfit, styles do vary tending to individual preference, however the typical archetype of this description befits the standard Party Girl, who, naturally, opts for glitzy dresses to show off her best features. If trousers are donned, they are done so with a skintight top to balance curves and create a feminine silhouette.
To obtain this look, Manchester plays home to some of the leading UK Fast Fashion brands which are made to service this aesthetic, with Boohoo, Missguided and Pretty Little Thing being the top players.
What Manchester trend is your favourite? Let us know on social @STYLE_etc or comment below to have your say.