Manchester is a city that has style. There is always opportunities for new, up and coming shops. At the University of Manchester we are fortunate enough to have such a shop in our midst — The Closet.
The Closet opened in February 2016 by a group of students, it is now headed up by Alex Neilson-Clark; a third year Fashion Marketing student who has been involved since the beginning, plus her team of fellow students. You are likely to have noticed The Closet, in between Academy one and the Students Union, a little cubbyhole full of all sorts of vintage treasures. The Closet is a not for profit organisation, with all proceeds donated to Manchester Mind charity and the fantastic causes they support.
Picture: The Closet
Previously, the majority of the stock had been from donations, mainly drop offs and with a few collection bins. This year Alex and her team have adapted a new approach — additional collection bins around campus. Hopefully in Owen’s Park, Withington Library, and the The Students Union, alongside an order from a vintage wholesaler. These changes are the first of many steps being taken to progress the brand of The Closet and establish its position as a vintage shop in Manchester.
First and foremost the plan is to decorate the interior of The Closet so it’s a fun, vibrant, fashionable space. Look out for the upcoming tie-dye event so you can add to wavy vibes inside. Participation, student involvement, and entrepreneurship are fundamental to Alex’s ethos for The Closet, “people really enjoy it, that’s why we do it.” Students who choose to get involved in The Closet don’t just get retail experience; they get business, marketing, PR, visual merchandising, and buying experience.
One of the biggest achievements for Alex and The Closet so far has been organising the first ever Missguided sample sale. How do a group of students manage to achieve such a thing? “we basically just nagged and nagged and nagged them until they answered our call. We said this is what we do, we know that you must have a lot of sample stock as a fast fashion retailer.” Thanks to this level of persistence The Closet were able to give customers a unique shopping experience, “when people were coming to the sample sale they were getting a one-off piece”Picture: The Closet
What about the future of The Closet, when Alex has gone off into the big wide working world, will she miss this project? “I’m really attached to how much potential I know this project has, like a crazy amount; I know how well it can do. The good thing about finding the core team is that when you find people with a similar vision you know how determined you can all be together.” It’s fair to say that it’s not just one person who has built up this incredible shop — The Closet is a collective.
Following the huge success of the £1 kilo sale The Closet is planning more events and sales over the coming months. Make sure to stay up to date about when they have fashion film screenings, and, hopefully, maybe, a second Missguided sample sale.