Manchester’s Northern Quarter is a mecca for vintage lovers, offering a network of streets where the best thrift shops in the city can be found within a few minutes walk from each other. This alternative area of the city is where to head if you’re seeking retro boutiques or bespoke charity shops catering to Manchester’s vintage-loving locals. Whether you’re seeking ’90s nostalgia, ’70s style or a ’50s frock, we share our little black book of the city’s finest vintage shops.
We Are Cow
The stylish interior of We Are Cow | Courtesy of We Are Cow
Situated in the heart of the Northern Quarter, on the corner of Oldham Street and Church Street, We Are Cow is the go-to place for Manchester’s student population and anyone else seeking a ’90s-inspired look. You’ll find both menswear and womenswear nestled within the two floors; the first floor showcasing a selection of re-worked and vintage garments, with a staircase descending to an Aladdin’s cave of vintage. The emphasis here is on a ’90s aesthetic, with plenty of ditsy floral dresses, pinafores and flannel shirts, but you’ll also find items as varied as velvet shorts and distressed denim jackets.
Pop may now have stores scattered around the UK, but its very first retail outlet was located in Manchester, just across the road from its present-day boutique in Afflecks Palace. Each piece of vintage stocked in this store is carefully selected by a dedicated team of vintage lovers, who pay close attention to detail to ensure that only the best quality and most interesting styles secure a coveted spot on the rails. The two-storey space also stocks Pop’s own branded collection and a variety of retro furniture and accessories, as well as housing Barberella’s hair salon and a cute little café.
The funky, decorated exterior of Pop Boutique and Barberella hair salon Courtesy of Pop Boutique
A beloved Northern Quarter institution, Retro Rehab is a funky boutique located at the top of Oldham Street, selling dresses from the 1940s to the 1980s. Featured on The Telegraph’s list of the best vintage fashion boutiques in the country, Retro is a must-visit for anyone with a keen interest in the styles of times gone by. The majority of their vintage finds are lovingly restored and they also stock a collection of reworked dresses and skirts crafted from vintage fabrics.
Vintage dresses arranged by colour | Courtesy of Retro Rehab
Inside Oxfam Original | Courtesy of Oxfam Original
There are plenty of great charity shops situated in Manchester and its suburbs, but it’s Oxfam Original on Oldham Street that local fashionistas flock to. Renowned for gathering curated collections of the finest vintage garbs, this store is more akin to a specialist boutique than your local thrift store. Unearth the odd designer gem, rediscover forgotten highstreet staples and seek out unique accessories at this long standing Northern Quarter favourite.