Bare Essentials

Fashion, music, places

Instagram has a lot to answer for – roughly 90% of my procrastination, for one thing – but one of its great benefits is that it helps us come across people and brands that you would otherwise never discover. One such brand is Bare Vintage, and such people are its founders, Lauren and Gus.

Bare is an independent retailer of handpicked vintage clothes. Available on their website, as well as on social shopping app Depop, Bare’s ever-changing collection offers pre-owned branded and designer picks. A selection of one-offs, their aesthetic lands comfortably in mid 90s sportswear territory, alongside the occasional kitsch pop culture find.

Imagine the coolest person you’ve ever met was selling all of their clothes on eBay and you’d be somewhere close to what Bare Vintage is. Fittingly, that is basically how the brand got started.

“When we began we had no idea what it would become, we were just selling some of Gus’s vintage pieces that wouldn’t fit in our tiny apartment!” admits Lauren. Two years on, it’s safe to say that things have taken off, though not without difficulty.

“The biggest challenge has been trying to find time… We both work full-time, and everything we’ve done for Bare has been evenings and weekends. It’s our dream to be able to pursue it full-time eventually and have the time to try and focus on all the projects that at the moment are just ideas.”

Aside from expected streetwear/vintage fodder Reeboks and Nikes, the Bare collection is also littered with names like Ralph Lauren and Tommy Hilfiger – the quintessential duo of preppy turned sporty turned hip-hop turned vintage style.

The team really have an eye for spotting unique finds too, whether it’s a burgundy varsity jacket or a sweatshirt embroidered with Looney Tunes characters.

“Every single item we sell is hand picked,” they announce proudly. “When we choose an item, we ask ourselves ‘Would we use this piece in a photo shoot?’ which keeps the standard high. A piece has to be great quality, unique design and you shouldn’t want to put it down!”

I had the pleasure of visiting their pop-up shop in Manchester a few weeks ago to take a look at their collection first hand. For the London-based brand, it was their first venture up North, but any apprehension was unfounded as the response was unequivocally positive.

“We are both still absolutely amazed at the turnout we had at our Manchester pop up,” Lauren and Gus confess. “There was a real sense of community up there and we can’t wait to come back again!”

The event took place at The Grey Shop, housed in Jutah Studios – a boutique streetwear space in Manchester’s Northern Quarter (past readers will know I’m a big fan of the Northern Quarter). Over some pulsating beats and a few gin and tonics (clear liquids only to minimise damage to the clothes in case drinks spill during particularly passionate skanking), I had a peruse of the collection.

Two standouts for me were a couple of varsity jackets – one in a golden hue and the other a Lakers branded number in mustard yellow. Definitely not for the faint-hearted, I quite enjoyed the obnoxious yet undeniable cool of the pair.

So, what’s next for Bare Vintage? I ask.

“Our next pop up is 25th – 26th of this month (August) in Birmingham! Neither of us have ever been to Birmingham, so it’s another adventure for us. We plan to host more events across the U.K. and beyond, so keep an eye out.”

A good place to keep an eye on Bare Vintage is on Instagram where they post choice items and snaps from their photoshoots. Having already amassed just under 15,000 followers however, you might have to join the queue.

 

@ediadegbola

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The North(ern quarter) Remembers

places

A couple of weekends ago I spent some time in Manchester.

Manchester is an incredibly cool city and while I was waiting to meet my friend (this is the friend who is a part-time wizard), I spent some time mooching around The Northern Quarter – the city’s recognised hipster refuge.

Home to “alternative department store” Afflecks alongside a barrage of vintage shops, record stores and pseudo-quaint cafes, the pretentious side of me was positively salivating.

Perhaps my favourite location was We Are Cow – a vintage shop whose range is stocked at Topman among other places. Independent fashion meets big business. I enjoyed the decor – the highlight of which had to be a sign that spelt out the word ‘cow’ with filament bulbs in mason jars suspended from the ceiling. I love the ridiculousness of that sentence.

Aside from kitsch decor and lifeless mannequins that were still somehow cooler than I am ever likely to be, We Are Cow clearly took pride in their extensive range of preloved, restored and repurposed clothes that sprawled over two floors of nostalgia. Alongside the usual assortment of classic jackets, jeans and knitwear sat unique Frankenstein-esque creations such as Polo by Ralph Lauren shirts with cotton sweatshirt arms spliced on. And vice-versa.

After leaving the shop, safe in the knowledge that I too am in fact Cow, I wandered around a couple of record stores and a few more vintage shops until I was drawn in by the distinctive neon sign outside Pop Boutique (an independent vintage chain) which said “Come and Worship” in green and electric blue. I thought it might be a hipster church or something, I don’t know.

Inside I was greeted not by a vicar, but a by bearded man in a wood panelled room full of retro clothing, leaning nonchalantly on a glass topped counter in front of an onsite barbershop. That was good enough for me. Downstairs was the furniture department, which was basically like stepping into the set of a Wes Anderson film, with its nostalgic yet somehow timeless yet still very 70s atmosphere.

I popped into self-proclaimed “design store and speciality coffee bar” Fig + Sparrow for a drink and a sit down. The cafe (which also boasts an apartment, rentable on Airbnb) has a light and airy interior – tall ceilings, white walls and lots of pine. After enjoying a delightful peppermint tea, I had a browse of the products on offer which were mostly cool knick-knacks for the home.

I also got the chance to have a brief look in book and magazine shop Magma. I’ve always loved magazines and this design-focused shop didn’t disappoint with their unprecedented range. They basically stocked all the cool design publications that I already followed on Instagram. Supplementing the literature was an array of cool gifts and fun things. Pretty MAGnificent.

I’m sorry, there was no need for that.

Ok, that’s about the extent of my Northern Quarter wanderings, really.

As you can probably tell from the reference that I crudely shoe-horned into the title of this post, I’ve been watching a lot of Game of Thrones recently, so I thought I’d sign off in classic Westerosi style.

Yours sincerely,

Edi Adegbola of House Adegbola, First of His Name, King of the Andals and the First Men, Lord of the Seven Kingdoms, and Protector of the Realm.