This is never going to be a fashion blog – god, imagine – but if you follow me on Twitter you’ll probably know about my interest in (obsession with) the Northern Quarter’s vintage clothes shops. Junk specialises in reworked fashion; Oxfam Originals on Oldham Street is great for accessories; Retro Rehab did a ‘fill a bag for a tenner’ sale in May that still fills me with bags of joy when I think about it; Rags To Bitches sold me those beads I wear all the time for a pound…I could go on. That end of town is full of second-hand wonder.
However, just lately it’s also full of smoke, noise, and occasional showers of dirty water, as Bruntwood carries out the renovation of Afflecks. Delighted as I am that Afflecks was saved from closure a couple of years ago, the ongoing building work is making life difficult for other local businesses on Oldham Street – and I was horrified to discover that Best Vintage, the shop responsible for my most wearable unique vintage finds – a gorgeous batwing t-shirt I wear as a dress, numerous Mad Men-style skirts, a 70s-tastic red shirt, a rainbow-striped dress, a handbag the size of a small car, £18 Converse, a flat cap, stretchy belts, and those are just the first things to come to mind – is facing closure due to its unfortunate location directly underneath the Afflecks scaffolding.
If you’re at all interested in reworn clothes then I’d urge you to get yourself to Best Vintage while you still can. It’s one of the most user-friendly vintage shops around – without the cutesy cupcakes-and-antique-dressing-tables decor of some of the girlier shops, but also avoiding the scary where-to-start bulging racks of bigger stores. It’s big on menswear. It’s high-quality stuff you can reasonably afford; the staff are friendly (not a given, even in Manchester); and the music alone makes it worth a visit. (You haven’t lived until you’ve tried on skirts to a bass-heavy Beyonce soundtrack suddenly interrupted by the Glee version of Don’t Rain On My Parade…) Oh, and they’ve got a 25% off sale right now. Get down there.