As you’ve probably heard today Oi Polloi is rumoured to close its Thomas Street store after 20 years of trading in the heart of Manchester’s iconic Northern Quarter.
I remember venturing into the Northern Quarter in the early noughties. It wasn’t the street art clad hipster café chic you see today. It was actually pretty seedy. Sex shops, second hand shops, surplus army stores and deserted mills were all that the Northern Quarter really had to offer. If London had its Shoreditch, Manchester had its Northern Quarter.
A hot bed of creativity, independent cafes & vintage sportswear stores, Oi Polloi was one of the founding members of the re-generation of the previously run down Manchester city centre neighbourhood. Growing up not far away from Manchester everyone knew and talked about Oi Polloi. If you were into your clothes heading over on the train to Manchester city centre was like a right of passage for many clobber obsessed lads (and lasses).
You simply couldn’t get that kind of gear anywhere else back then. The internet was in its infancy and many Saturday’s were spent browsing the rails of unknown Japanese brands, Scandinavian rucksacks and different types of wallabies you didn’t even know existed. Oi Polloi was where I really found my passion for clothes, a passion that still lives on some 20 years later. I remember first meeting the founders Steve & Nigel at the Lacoste L!ve showroom in London back in 2014 when I was buying for my own store. The conversation quickly turned into Northern banter. Apparently I was there for a free polo shirt. I probably was but little did they know they had actually inspired me to do what I was doing.
Thank you Oi Polloi x