Monday, 12 April 2010

A look around Oi Polloi's new store...

Peering through the window of Oi Polloi's new store.

Since opening its doors back in 2002, Oi Polloi has offered an antidote to the mass of bland, uninspiring men's fashion stores lining the high street. As their website puts it: "with a vision of putting together the ultimate selection of classic, functional outerwear with innovative contemporary labels and a serious arsenal of casual footwear, Oi Polloi was born". Over the subsequent years, one of our favourite independent stores has managed continued growth without sacrificing any of its identity or core values. Whenever Steve came up to Manchester we always made the trip to the Tib Street store.

The main window display

The major drawback to Oi Polloi was how teeny tiny the store was. Politely and in true Estae Agents speak we'd call it cosy. Bluntly though, it was just too small. Much of Oi Polloi's business comes from their excellent online shop, but sometimes you just can't beat a bricks and motar store. On the back of their continued and obvious success Oi Polloi moved to a new 1,600 square foot space just before Easter, providing double the size of the previous store. So, when Steve came visiting last week we just had to take a look around...

It was great to see that Action Man and his trusty sidekick had made the trip to the new store. Here they take pride of place on the Brooks' cabinet.

The large cabinet of Brooks' saddles and accessories. A Brooks saddle is a British design classic and it takes centre stage at the new store.

A glass cabinet showcasing the handpicked look of the season. The choices reflect the ideal sartorial arsenal for a weekend getaway...

We were both taken by this display of Fjallraven Kanken bags. A classic lightweight day pack in hard wearing vinylon fabric in a Spring/Summer friendly selection of colourways.

We particularly took our time over this rail. Nigel Cabourn's clothing for obsessives, with production split between England and Japan, using only the finest British materials and fabrics. The detail is phenomenal.

Another well stocked rail of delights

This workbench sat in front of the huge denim wall and features fabulous knits from Folk.

One of our favourite features of the new store is the full shoe wall. Everything from Yuketens to Clarks, moccasins to brogues is on display.

A closer look at the Sperry Top-sider and bucks by Sander. The Topsider blueprint for the American boat shoe, and the cornerstone of Classic Nautical Style.

And what a change it's made. Still stocking as many great brands as before, it is now easier and more enjoyable to browse (did we mention that the staff are really friendly, knowledgeable and happy to chat? Though we should warn you that the Manc accent seems to be infectious judging by the way so many of their customers speak once they step through the doors) and you realise just how wide ranging and varied their stock is. As you can see from out excitedly snapped images above, rails of the latest pieces from Nigel Cabourn, Our Legacy, Heritage Research, Engineered Garments, Oliver Spencer, Folk, Saint James, Barbour, Lavenham (oh the list goes on and on) are accompanied by glass cabinets showcasing cycling and outdoors accessories. Although it is so much larger than the intimate Tib street store, the new location just feels right and you get the sense that the guys are loving the extra space.

At the risk of sounding cheesy, Oi Polloi seems to be more than just a clothes store, bordering on a lifestyle. The Brooks cycling accessories are beautiful enough to make us want to enter the Tour de France just to have an excuse to buy them. Along similar lines they mentioned to us the desire to have kayaks and a couple of tents in store as well. Perhaps if Oi Polloi have their way by this time next year we'll have all have taken up (very stylish) camping? We'll just have to wait and see. In the meantime the new store gives an even bigger reason to make the trip to Manchester.


rrrich said...

I've wanted that building for myself for years. So I'm glad it's gone to Oi Polloi :)

Justin FitzPatrick, The Shoe Snob said...

Cool looking store, love the shoe selection, where did you say it was located? Machester, England?

Donald said...

Boring shop. Edge? Theses no edge. Same ''heritage'' rubbish that all the menswear blogs are now filled with. I'm sorry but look at the shoe selection on their website! Omg... it's all exactly the same. And the rest...Edwin..Fred Perry..Acne...Levi's... Wow, very original. Please let's be REAL!

Anonymous said...

Good write up and some lovely pictures.

It's great to see the boys moving on to bigger and better premises, it looks like they're filling the space nicely.

I really have to make the trip over there next time I'm home.

Matthew Spade said...

glad you guys went in the end, it's a pretty impressive shop to suit us northerns

Style Salvage Steve said...

rrrich: EJ has loved that building for years as well!
The Shoe Snob: Yes the store in located in Manchester's Norther Quarter.
Donald: Workwear is not your thing then I take it? Ha! I can see how you might be bored with blogs writing about the same things and stores selling very similar brands but to vent your frustrations out on Oi Polloi is madness. These guys have been leading the retail way in recent years and it's hardly their fault that a number of buyers have been inspired by what they do. Oi Polloi are always looking forward and the new shop is like nothing else I've been in to. Boring? Where do you shop? I'd love to know where the action is.
Lineageofinfluence: Thanks. Yes, you would love it I'm sure. Despite the space being twice the size of the old store, they've really made it their own.
Mat: It is, London could do with it to be honest but hey ho, it just gives me another reason to come up and visit EJ more (disclaimer: Not that I need any other reason to see her)

EJ said...

I appreciate the disclaimer, Steve.

Anonymous said...

Looks heavenly.

Andrew said...

I can notice how you might be jaded with blogs writing about the same things and stores selling very similar brands but to vent your frustrations out.


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