The Mancunion’s Fashion & Beauty section is on a mission to find the best online shops as an alternative to the powerhouses of Topshop and ASOS
As great as the brand Goliaths are for releasing covetable items daily, the field of online shopping is extensive, and it is well worth having an off-piste foray into the less well-known shops for fresh inspiration. Here is a rundown of some of the hidden gems at the best lesser-known websites on the market:
1. Runway Bandits (found at http://www.runwaybandits.com/)
The ethos: Soft-focus, with monochrome and block pastels. Featuring elegant girly with collars, dresses, and skirts.
If it was a person: Collects ‘texture’ cushions, especially Mongolian ones, and likes Yankee candles. Least likely person to fall over in a puddle.
Best of: The Silas dress or the Narth Dress.
2. Olive Clothing (found at http://www.oliveclothing.com/)
The ethos: Casual heritage. Much knitwear, including knitted hats and jumpers, styled with tartan skirts. Baggy, stripy layers under dungarees.
If it was a person: Has a beard/dates a beard. Most likely to be surrounded by exposed wood, bookshelves, coffee, and lots of literature. When being photographed will always look somewhere other than the camera lens.
Best of: The Corduroy Pinafore dress, every single one of the striped tops, and for men, the Brixton Beanie.
3. Front Row Shop (found at http://www.frontrowshop.com/)
The ethos: Eclectic, no definitive overall ‘vibe’ other than being streets ahead of trends. PU skirts, faux fur coats, and tapered trousers.
If it was a person: Unpredictable. Pursuer of wide-ranging hobbies including: chess-boxing, life drawing, and panto society. Most unconsidered dancer you will meet.
Best of: Robot Resin Earrings, Navy two-piece ‘Spliced’ dress.
4. Beyond Retro (found at http://www.beyondretro.com/en/)
The ethos: The vintage holy grail. Every clothing imaginable, beaming between ’20s Flapper Girl to ’90s Grunge. Extra special lingerie section including vintage slips and bed jackets.
If it was a person: Has perfected pin-up victory rolls and the Gibson girl, and is in demand for their in-depth knowledge of fashion evolution. Has been to every Itchy Feet night at Mint Lounge and teaches Swing dance classes.
Best of: The range of leopard print faux fur coats, or the entirety of the ‘Gothic Regal’ section.
5. Nasty Gal (found at http://www.nastygal.com/)
The ethos: Every item is a ‘statement’, bold verging on Rihanna. Chains, rips, laces, deep thigh slits, sequins, and flares; sounds anarchic but looks amazing.
If it was a person: Has a wall calendar just for house parties. Has already clocked the ‘glitter roots’ hair trend and bought the tools ready for take-off. Is fiercely protective over their cat, and once drunk-ordered it a tent.
Best of: Katarina Mesh Blouse in beige, or the ‘Renaissance Woman’ Bell Sleeve Velvet Top