“I could never wrap my head round that as a society, there is this unwritten rule that we shouldn’t talk about our feelings, that our feelings are to be kept locked away and for only us to know”, says Kay, the brand’s creator.
A full-time photographer from Bolton, Kay Haskins has a passion for storytelling and promoting individuality. “I see clothing as one of the many beautiful ways to express yourself and tell your own story”, she says.
Kay started to experience anxiety in her daily life in December 2019, causing her to experience severe panic attacks and fall out of love with yoga and other passions.
“I found myself cancelling plans, making excuses and even left a fitness event half way through because the whole thing became mentally and physically draining”, says Kay.
Although her recovery has not been an easy journey, this has been massively helped by journaling, working on breathing techniques and developing a healthy morning routine – all of which she hopes to impart on her audience.
It was only when her niece, age 9 at the time, experienced a loss of confidence that Kay realised the effect mental health can have on everyone at even such a young age, and felt a duty to become part of the change.
“Going through that rubbish time earlier in the year made me realise that there are so many more people that are struggling that have no one (and it took me a while even with a pretty epic support network round me!) It suddenly wasn’t about me, it was about everyone else and others that I could help”
Kay recognised that many people with mental illnesses suffer in silence, and so decided to use combine her merchandising experience with her love of storytelling to create clothing that can make a difference.
Their newest release, which will be available from 2nd November, features the pandemic-inspired ‘the universe has got your back’ print. After a challenging and abnormal year, Kay Lou Klub are dedicating this launch to “all of the amazing people that have adapted, shifted, made it work, believed and haven’t given up.”
But Kay Lou Klub is much more than just a clothing brand – they’re entirely dedicated to helping people who suffer from mental illness. From their live yoga sessions and breathing workshops to inspirational blog posts, they are creating a nurturing and positive community for people who are struggling.
“Kay Lou Klub is not a clothing brand. Kay Lou Klub is a way of life, a place to belong, a mindset, a culture, a place for self-development, a movement”
They also share a variety of resources and call centres that people can reach out to if they need additional help, as well as donating 10% of all sales to MQ, the mental health research charity.
Kay also appreciates her hometown of Bolton as playing an important role in this venture. “We always bounce back”, she says, “the pandemic may have made us distance 2 metres but has actually brought us closer together”
Kay Lou Klub is one to watch as they are continuing to grow their platform and tackle the stigma surrounding mental health head first. From yoga classes to wellness events, there are lots of exciting things that are in the works.
You can become part of the change and help advocate for mental health by taking a look at the Kay Lou Klub store, as well as following their Instagram for positive vibes and motivational quotes.
Stare Society – Manchester’s hidden gem, rock n roll vintage shop that’s like stepping back in time
There’s a new gem of a shop in Manchester which is an homage to all things 1970s.
Stores like Cow Vintage, Blue Rinse, and Pop Boutique, not to mention the numerous charity shops and pop-ups that line Oldham Street, have turned that corner of town into a haven for lovers of the fashions of yesteryear.
But now there’s a new outpost in the heart of Chinatown – and it’s possibly the most stylish, charming vintage store in the city yet.
Stare Society opened last December, and has put some serious effort into both sourcing the items it sells, and decorating the space it sells them from.
Tucked away up a flight of stairs in a corner unit above Red Chilli, you’ve probably walked straight past it a dozen times already.
But glance up above the long-standing Chinese restaurant and you’ll notice a slowly rotating disco ball in the window, giving just a taste of all the treats in store.
Venture inside and you’ll feel like you’ve stepped right back in time to the 1970s, greeted by the sound of Fleetwood Mac being piped through the speakers (the legendary group are also the stars of a huge framed photo above the fireplace inside).
Stare Society is decorated to the nines – fringed lampshades, rattan screens, glitter ball plant pots, guitars, and a huge leopard print chaise lounge in the window, draped in retro-printed cushions, vinyl records and vintage hats.
There are 1970s-inspired scented candles named things like Cherry Bomb, Tiny Dancer and Rebel Rebel, and all sorts of knick-knacks (sunglasses, tiny mirrors, antique glassware) hailing back to the glory days of rock n roll.
Then there’s the clothes – racks full of leather jackets, leopard-print furry coats, and fringed suede waistcoats.
Retro t-shirts with contrasting collars, with ‘Manchester 1970’ and ‘Chinatown 1970’ scrawled across them.
Cowboy boots painted with stars, piles of colourful felt berets, and loudly-patterned blouses.
The space is so beautiful, it’s actually available to hire, for things like photoshoots and private events, with a vision to host intimate gigs inside in the future.
Stare Society joins the booming vintage scene in Manchester, like Bare Necessities, the online giant that recently hosted a pop-up store on High Street that everyone lost their minds over.
You’ll find Stare Society at 20 Nicholas Street on the edge of Chinatown in Manchester.
Featured image: The Manc Group
The surprisingly affordable luxury eyewear brand made famous by Peaky Blinders’ Cillian Murphy
Most of us who watched Peaky Blinders finished the later seasons with a new-found obsession with stylish eyewear, thanks to the glasses Cillian Murphy’s Tommy Shelby started wearing as his character progressed.
But did you know that you don’t need to run a dodgy racketeering enterprise to afford his accessories?
The lovely tortoiseshell frames were made especially for the hit BBC show by IOLLA, a Scottish brand who opened their first English store right here in Manchester last summer.
The brand specialises in fashionable, innovative glasses with a totally transparent pricing strategy – no hidden costs or added extras.
So that means you can get a stylish new pair of specs for £85, which includes prescription lenses and coatings.
What’s the catch? Erm, there genuinely isn’t one.
The new store at St Ann’s Square is a stylish space where shoppers can browse and try on the full IOLLA range, from the tortoiseshell MacDonald frames (the closest you can get to Tommy Shelby’s) to the bold cat-eye shape of Kelly.
Then there are the Frosted collection glasses, launched today, which take IOLLA’s best-selling styles and create them with new frosted coloured acetates.
All the glasses and sunglasses are handmade, uniquely designed and built to last – something that caught the eye of BAFTA-nominated costume designer Alison McCosh, who approached them to create a pair of frames for the fifth season of Peaky Blinders.
Anyone who visits IOLLA can have a styling session with an eyewear expert and build their own eyewear wardrobe.
Customers are encouraged to have their eye test prescription to hand (IOLLA don’t offer eye tests) before placing their order through their digitally enabled platform either in person or online.