City Centre

Intro, the 90s Manchester menswear store that survived the IRA bomb

A fixture in the city centre for two generations, it was initially opened by the late Irvin Grant in 1990 on St Ann's Square under the name Zico.

Georgina Pellant Georgina Pellant - 23rd September 2022

With a glut of new luxury menswear stores opening in Manchester city it’s easy to overlook what we already have.

In the past few years, Manchester’s welcomed the likes of KershKicks, KickGame, Sneaker63, Yards Store, Clints Inc and, more recently, END. Clothing, significantly upping its premium menswear game.

Whilst it’s been a long time coming, right now it feels like there are endless options for male shoppers looking for some luxury. But for those who knew where to look, there have always been a few reliable gems.

We’re talking about Intro, a local family-run clothing store that’s been dressing well-heeled Mancs ever since the nineties.

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A fixture in the city centre for two generations, it was initially opened by the late Irvin Grant in 1990 on St Ann’s Square under the name Zico.

The first floor of Intro clothing on Deansgate. / Image: The Manc Group
MPD BOX Varsity Jacket Green/Orange / Image: The Manc Group

Named after the famous 80s Brazilian footballer Arthur Antunes Coimbra, better known as Zico, the store became something of a go-to in the eighties and early nineties for fashionable gents – until the bomb hit it, anyway.

After many happy years, the storefront was forced to relocate after it was nearly destroyed by the devastating 1996 IRA Bomb, which famously left little more than a bright red Market Street post box standing in its wake.

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Fortunately, Irvin had already opened a second store, Intro, with the same philosophy six years earlier. This meant that when disaster struck his sought after collections of exclusive, premium menswear were able to relocate to Intro, which remains in the same spot today.

Sadly Irvin passed away from cancer earlier this year, so now the family legacy is being carried on by his son, Oliver Grant.

Oliver tells us: “Basically dad originally started from my grandma. My grandma owned a leather company in Portugal, she had a factory, making leather shoes and jackets, and my dad learnt everything from [her].

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“My dad Irvin opened up a shop in the seventies called Just In Fashion, men’s fashion, all menswear, with his mum, my grandma, Joan.

“In the eighties, he opened his own store called Zico, and Zico was famous from the Brazilian footballer, a famous 80s footballer, anyway he opened the shop and it was a big hit.

MPD BOXVarsity Jacket White/Black. / Image: The Manc Group

“A lot of people from Manchester from the older generation all know Zico from the eighties. Always the same philosophy: different, funky, exclusive and premium.

“We’ve always done that, and that’s what he’s always stuck by and the philosophy continues this day from the original is keeping it different, keeping it exclusive, and that’s what we’ll always be like.

“We’re not going to do commercial labels, we’re about being different a bit European […] We do things differently.

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“So from the 80s he had a shop called Zico then he opened a shop called Intro in 1990, because Zico was at the Royal Exchange.

“We had two shops at the time, Intro and Zico, and 1996 when the bomb went off Zico got hit hard and it affected business so Zico was written off, so that was the end of that in 96. But Intro continued, yeah. and like I say 1990 established and hopefully we’ll continue.”

Read more: The hidden Manchester sneaker store selling £10k Air Jordans and rare Yeezys

Image: The Manc Group
Image: The Manc Group

Today you’ll find Intro on Deansgate inside the Barton Arcade. Thirty-two years on, it’s still going strong and stocking some of the most sought-after luxury menswear brands on the market.

Inside, you’ll find clothing and accessories from Manchester’s own Off The Rails, Transit, Kangol, Cote & Ciel, Anthony Morato and many, many more.

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Split across two floors, a quick dig into the rails reveals graphic t-shirts, branded coach and varsity jackets, hoodies, luxury trainers and rows upon rows of designer jeans.

Elsewhere, for those after more business-appropriate attire, you’ll find a mix of smart suit jackets and tailored but casual sports coats, jackets and overshirts, perfect for taking busy city lads from day to night.

As well as having a physical shop on Deansgate, Intro also has an online store where shoppers can browse at leisure online. To find out more and visit Intro’s website, click here.

Feature image – The Manc Group