You could be forgiven for having never strolled down Tib Lane but to me it's become a destination in itself for one reason. Nestled rather neatly on Tib Lane, number 14 to be exact, lies Lissom & Muster.
Speaking with John the owner we decide on how to pin down in words the offering in store for those who haven't been. "When we decide to stock an item at Lissom & Muster we are much more engaged in its history, detail and provenance than other shops on the high street. We stock bags, trousers, shoes, flasks even literature but what draws it all together is a sense of narrative that relates to the landscape around us." It is great to hear that approach in Manchester and is fundamentally what sets Lissom & Muster apart as a retail experience and destination more so than just a shop.
Working with some of the UK's top craftsman and practicing makers Lissom & Muster are "4 years of hard work in" to a store that offers something that is certainly unique in Manchester. John tells me how they're "not shackled by brands like most stores, we don't rely on orders in bulk and seasonal ranges" which for any fellow ale drinkers out there is in essence a "Freehouse," allowing L&M to stock what they curate, not what they are required to. Alfred Sargent recently teamed up with L&M to produce a run of just 30 tan leather Longwing brogues, L&M's ties are woven and hand made in Suffolk and for a more bespoke requirement, sizing for example, L&M can liase with their makers creating made to order items.
The ethos is very much a focus on investment pieces. John spoke of "using the funds you have and investing in a few peices that will stand the test of time" and I couldn't agree more. Living in a part of the world where "disposable fashion" is the norm UK industry has suffered, but people like John are championing what is still here and actively pushing for more. This investment ethos will be ever present with products in store (and online) remaining for years to come "bring it back in 5 years time and we can replace anything or match anything back because the colours remain, the fabrics and the details remain the same."
The shop itself visually speaking is a personal favourite of mine. In this city of beautiful architecture both old and new L&M have contributed some tasteful and I expect painstaking attention to detail additions to their exisitng facade, including a few sheeps wool lined hanging baskets and hand drawn door numbering by local sign writer Jim Medway. "Our customers find themselves immediately descending intrepidly below ground. Some, we understand, may find this a little daunting the first time. But fortune favours the brave, they say." A great blog post by John describes this in more detail - here.