Manchester has never been short of true innovators, and today is no exception as we stand on the precipice of the world stage in many sectors, be it fashion, sport, science, architecture and art.
These brands represent a creative attitude and mindset that still permeates the streets of the city, from former university side-hustles turned worldwide streetwear pioneers, to exclusive collaborations with some of the biggest acts on the globe – these brands are super hot right now…
With a recent collaboration with Aitch under their belt, Drama Call has gotten the attention of many, a brand that incorporates not just the spirit of Manchester’s music community, but also takes in some serious charity endeavours, including raising over $32,000 to help re-build black-owned businesses in the US. Founder Charlie Bows has garnered a cult following with his ‘Trackeh’ collection, also commended for being the “heaviest in the game”.
With the broken down barriers between fashion fans and the industry’s elite creating a constantly changing cycle of hype and trends, Manchester’s own Sampaix have their anchor firmly nestled in the seabed of streetwear’s up-and-comers. The brand’s CEO is Jared Knight, who started the brand with very limited resources and knowledge but has grown exponentially through a development process that embraces not just a DIY attitude, but also plenty of trial and error, and a reputation for heavyweight, durable fabrics of only the highest quality.
With a fierce reputation for its conceptual trainers, Clints started when sneaker connoisseur Junior Clint combined his love of design into a footwear-inspired apparel brand, which then quickly moved into shoes. The brand recently took part in a collaboration with Patta, cementing itself as a true tour de force in the current British streetwear scene.
Co-founder and resident DJ of one of the hottest nights in the city at the moment – Habitat MCR – creator AK Williams also runs the clothing brand Gramm, full of neon colours, bright graphics and constant odes to Manchester’s past and present. From setting up ‘Corner Shops’ to collections using just re-purposed materials, Gramm is brought to life by functionality, and a city which informs who wears the clothes, the fabrication behind them and a catalyst in driving the brand forward.
Private White VC
With their own factory in Cheetham Hill, employing a range of skilled professionals who still stitch, cut, treat and design every piece that they produce. Unapologetically expensive, Private White VC is made to last a lifetime and if there’s ever anything that goes wrong with it – you can take it back to the factory and they’ll sort it out for you. Their ‘Ventile Mac 3.0’ is pretty much the only raincoat you’ll ever have to own.
With a background in upcycling, and influences from the ‘Donk’ movement of late 00s Bolton, Donkwear itself was created by designers Sam Shep and Madi Marcantonatos as a direct response to Manchester’s association with the world of fast fashion. The label takes old fabrics and pieced and completely transforms them, with paint, bleach, and graffiti – there are seemingly no rules or restrictions when it comes to the creativity on show. Recent movement has been into “couture-based experiments”, including personalised tracksuits for various rappers, DJs and artists.
Native Youth started in Manchester nearly 10 years ago and has since been spotted on the backs of many. Focusing on a mix of eccentric British heritage design techniques and fabric with simple, no-fuss Japanese tailoring, Native youth have secured themselves as a trendy, cult brand that constantly innovates and offers sustainable solutions in a world of fast fashions.
Activewear is fast becoming a mainstream staple of the fashion industry, helped considerably by the recent global pandemic which saw people stuck in their houses for months on end. Adanola has always had an edge with loungewear, with a very simple premise; every single item they produce matches every other, as well as the majority of your pre-existing wardrobe. With the average woman wearing just 20% of her wardrobe 80% of the time – this has been key to Adanola’s popularity and success over the years.
Far From Home
A Manchester brand with its roots firmly established in Angola, as founding trio Erike, Etiene and Chiela all moved over from the Portuguese city over a decade ago. In 2020 they launched Far From Home, with styles that incorporate everything from tracksuits to silk shirts and denim – all centred around not just being comfortable but also affordable. Inspiration comes from 90s Portugal, but they’re also looking to launch homeware too, with towels, candles and even sofas.
“A brand, a lifestyle, a culture.” That’s Mnt Cndition’s mission, a brand that has built up a cult following with its non-commercial, conceptual visuals, bold graphics and cut and sew collections. Garments are designed to have a minimum impact on the planet, with 100% organic cotton produced in factories where the workers are treated fairly. They also offer a ‘Recycle Scheme’ where you can trade-in your worn MNT CNDITION garment for a discount on a new piece from their collection.
Boda Skins’ leather jackets are hand crafted, and with them still operating from within the city, over the years they’ve managed to become truly internationally renowned by all sorts of A-listers and celebrities. This is mostly down to their classic biker jacket – the Kay Michaels, but recent collections have included leather trench coats, winter shearlings and goose-down bubble jackets. ‘Manchester-made, internationally cool’ as the brand likes to put it!
From a university side-hustle to a fully-fledged streetwear brand, Represent pays homage to both British identity and Britpop – characterised by their recent Spinningfields pop-up with Liam Gallagher. Founded by brothers George and Michael Heaton in 2012, Represent is well-known for its high-quality materials used to handcraft and create luxury t-shirts, shirts, and sweaters. Their recent 247 collection has been a big success, focusing on garments that you can wear for any or all occasions.