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.