It’s hard to stay on top of the trends as a student. The only clothes you seem to buy are for fancy dress nights – but you can’t wear that fluorescent tutu to a lecture. Fortunately, with a little bit of know-how, you can kit yourself out for less. Obviously, there is Primark – Nottingham has its own just off Market Square. They’re famous for their budget buys while keeping up with the latest styles and are an excellent go-to store if you’re more concerned about your bank balance than labels.
However, if you like your clothes a bit quirkier and individualistic, you should head over to the vintage district of Nottingham’s city centre, located in and around Broad Street. Here you’ll find a collection of charity and second hand shops, with low prices to boot.
Don’t find yourself turning up your noses at clothes that aren’t brand new – most vintage stores still have the designer labels that you pine for. They also re-work a lot of their pieces, to give them trendier fits and a unique twist – they’ll probably get you noticed far more than everyone else who’s wearing exactly the same mass produced shirt or skirt with Armani or Prada’s signature emblazoned on it.
In fact, vintage is in right now.
“High street shops are on the wane. Charity shops are the new chic” says Grace Walker, manager of White Rose, an Aegis trust charity shop in Nottingham.
It’s true. Arcadia, who own Topshop, Topman, Burton, Dorothy Perkins, Miss Selfridge, Wallis and Evans, announced a 38 per cent fall in profits in the 2010/2011 from £213.2 million to £133.1 million.
They recovered last year to see a 25 per cent rise in profits before tax and one-off items to £166.9m. This was not due to an increase in sales, merely an increase in management efficiency, as total sales remained at £2.68 billion and like for like sales fell 3.2 per cent in the UK.
In short, everyone is heading elsewhere to get their garments.
If you don’t want to stray too far from the pack and still like the Topshop offerings – try Walker’s store. They sell “high street vintage with a 90s vibe” – essentially, they rework their clothes to mimic the latest trends sold by chain stores.
They sell clothes, accessories and even furniture. Manager, Grace Walker, says denim jackets are hot right now and her store is a perfect haunt for budget savvy students.
“You can get one (denim jacket) for about £9 here, comparative to Topshop’s offering at around four times that. No-one would be able to tell you’d bought it second hand either – we make sure we only sell quality.”
If you have a want to have a bit more choice in your style and snag some Levis 501’s – try Cow. They have four stores in the UK, one being in our fair city.
Keighan Kelly, manager of Cow says “People can come into my store and get a complete outfit for under £20 – we stock a lot of designer stuff which we’ve reworked. You get the class of higher end items but something totally unique too. I think that appeals.”
Get your wallets and purses out then. You’ll probably have enough change from a twenty for a tipple to celebrate your bargains in the pub afterwards.