Over recent years, the fashion industry has started to face a crisis. I remember a world where fast fashion was at the forefront, with most companies focusing on the manufacturing of insane volumes of clothing using low-quality materials in order to bring the catwalk to the high street in the quickest way possible.
But, recently, the shift has changed to sustainability, meaning consumers are becoming more conscious of their buying habits.
Mass market brands that once dominated the wardrobes of many have found themselves cast out and ultimately shamed for their poor working conditions, reliance on plastic-based fabrics and massive carbon footprints – all of which have a detrimental impact on the planet.
This, in turn, has forced people to choose other ways to consume their clothing. The rise of apps such as Depop and Vinted have made it much easier to shop second hand online, with the option to buy and make money from unwanted garments available at your fingertips.
Cities like Brighton and Norwich are also leading the way with the best in-person thrift shops and independent boutiques the UK currently has to offer.
These stores stock sustainable brands that use eco-friendly materials and offer small batch runs of collections alongside hand-picked vintage garments, something that brand-new Northern Quarter vintage store, Margot & Lux has recently brought to Manchester.
“When I moved to the city, I was really surprised to find the lack of vintage boutiques for women, especially here in the Northern Quarter,” began Hollie Edgar, Owner and Founder of Margot & Lux.
“There are loads of options for men, as well as great independent bars, cafes and restaurants, but that was it. I was really shocked and knew straight away that I wanted to set up my own vintage boutique in the city.”
Hollie’s love for fashion began back in her hometown of Newcastle, where the weekly jaunt into town for a stroll around the back street vintage shops was somewhat a ritual for her and her mam.
It was her degree in Fashion and Buying at Brighton University, though, that fully immersed her in the culture of thrifting. She discovered a love for 1930s fashion and felt free to explore her own personal style journey outside of the constraints of her close-minded Tyneside town.
Margot & Lux brought its physical store to Northern Quarter back in November last year, and is currently based in the Grade II listed building at 54 Port Street. The shop front is coated in a regal forest green, and, once you step inside, you’ll find a dainty shop full of bespoke vintage clothing, homeware and accessories.
Hollie runs the business with her good friends Michaela and Steph, and it draws its name from two of her biggest style inspirations, Margot Tenenbaum and Lux Lisbon. Both characters have an eclectic, unmatched dress sense that is completely individualistic, something that the store aims to champion.
It’s got an undeniable charm about it and a welcomeness that plonks you right in the front room of a Geordie family home. “Sometimes the fashion industry can be very intimidating, and I didn’t want that to be the experience at Margot & Lux at all.
“I want people to come in for a chat and a cuppa, I want them to feel completely 100% comfortable expressing themselves and their style.”
Hollie hand-picks each item, scouring charity shops, wholesalers, warehouses and the internet for unique, one-of-a-kind pre-loved pieces. Margot & Lux also stocks limited runs from sustainable brands such as Sandra Alexandra and Summer Morning Studios.
Setting up a business right before the pandemic obviously brought its difficulties, and, recently, Margot & Lux set up a Crowdfunder to help the shop recover from the devastating impact of COVID-19, as the business also got some bad news from the folk at Manchester council when they were told that they’re ineligible for any COVID recovery support.
This means that, as it stands, Hollie is unable to plan for the future or cope with any current overheads. “There are some days where we have zero customers in store,” she furthered. “The business is still in its infancy, and I feel that after the huge spike in Omicron cases at the end of last year, we’ve been unable to operate to our fullest potential.”
Through the Crowdfunder, Margot & Lux is hoping to raise £20,000, so that it can continue to exist in the Northern Quarter, which is currently crying out for retail diversity. The money will go toward the opening of the upper two floors of the store, where Hollie aims to introduce a space for brands to host pop-ups and a photography studio that will be available for rent.
“I’m not from a particularly wealthy background, but that doesn’t mean I don’t deserve to have my own business that’s thriving! I want to put Manchester on the map as not just a great place to eat and drink, but a great place to shop, too.
“If we survive and do well, it will encourage other business owners to take up one of the many empty retail stores across the city, which is not just great for them, but also for the surrounding hospitality industry. If people are out shopping, they’re more than likely to stop somewhere for a drink or bite to eat.”
Margot & Lux is offering huge benefits if you donate to the Crowdfunder, too, from exclusive, all-year-round discounts, to vouchers, priority studio bookings and free shipping when ordering online.
“We’re so ready to become a permanent fixture of Manchester’s independent retail scene, and we genuinely believe we’re offering something completely different. There’s a huge gap in the market at the moment for a business like us, everyone that has visited has sung our praises, however, it unfortunately takes more than this for us to be able to survive and thrive.”
The Margot & Lux Crowdfunder is looking to raise £20k to help recover from COVID and continue to trade and thrive in the Northern Quarter…
Margot & Lux Vintage, 54 Port St, Manchester M1 2EQ