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Sophia Rosemary posing in Manchester, wearing a vintage blouse and patterned A-line skirt

In conversation: Manchester fashion blogger, Sophia Rosemary

Manchester-based fashion blogger and influencer, Sophia Rosemary, started her Instagram account in 2013 to share her outfits and style inspiration. Now with over 200,000 followers, she creates regular content for her blog and Instagram, and she recently launched her online vintage store, Top of the Town. Her trendy take on vintage style and dedication to the fashion industry are to owe for her online success.

Sophia says she has always been interested in fashion and wanted to pursue it in some form: “I’d always had it in the back of my mind that I was going to work in fashion, it was always in my peripheral, I just didn’t know where.”

After studying Fashion Marketing at Manchester Metropolitan University, she tried her hand at merchandising and assistant buying, and it was whilst working for Joanie Clothing that she fell into blogging. “I was using it to share my outfits and style inspiration. It wasn’t contrived at all, I was literally just doing it cause that was all I knew and was all I cared about”. Just over a year ago, Sophia made the difficult decision to leave her secure job and venture into the world of influencing, allowing her to concentrate more on developing her personal style and how she represents it online.

Sophia’s personal style isn’t massively trend-led because she prioritises self-expression, explaining that: “I buy pieces that make me feel comfortable, make me feel happy and that I’m going to look at in ten years’ time and love.”

She is also largely inspired by her upbringing on 60s and 70s Motown music as well as the French New Wave and Hitchcock films she watched as part of her Film Studies A Level. Her style is incredibly varied and what Sophia describes as a “weird mixture of girly meets androgynous”. Whether she’s dressing down a floral tea dress with a pair of old trainers or pairing a boyish pair of jeans with a more feminine blouse, what’s important is that she has a genuine passion for each item.

Above all else, Sophia’s style is distinctly vintage and has its roots in the iconic fashion looks of the 60s and 70s, which she has been fond of from a young age. “I’ve always hunted vintage, that’s been such a big part of my style and there are so many pieces in my wardrobe that I’ve collected over the years that I still adore”. Vintage fashion enables her to not only explore her interest in these eras but also to pay homage to her past self, still to this day wearing items like her Beatles sweatshirt that she bought at age 17.

Hand in hand with her style is her roots in Manchester. Sophia was born and raised in the north and attributes a large part of her current style to that. “Manchester is a really creative city, and there is so much culture, especially musically, which has really influenced me and allowed me to be myself. [Compared to London] Manchester is more laid-back and inviting, which is definitely reflected in style.”

In fact, Sophia’s online vintage store has its roots in Manchester, as the name Top of the Town is an ode to the nightclub in Manchester her mother frequently visited as a teenager.

Top of the Town, Sophia’s latest business venture, has allowed her to spread her passion for vintage clothing to a wider audience whilst also tackling the struggles she commonly faced as an influencer. “A big part of being a blogger is people want what you’re wearing to be shoppable. One of the main obstacles that I kept facing was that people kept asking me, yet they can’t buy it.” Sophia singlehandedly curates various collections of vintage looks, ranging from workwear to partywear. Each one is inspired by a particular film, song or person that she admires, such as the most recent Doralee collection referencing Dolly Parton’s character in 9 to 5.

Another huge motivator for her business was the influence of sustainability, an unavoidable topic for anyone working in the fashion industry nowadays. “Vintage is an amazing way to be eco-friendly with your wardrobe, and it’s nice to be a cog in the wheel of showing people that pre-loved is just as good”.

Sophia is championing sustainability in her wardrobe through the capsule wardrobe, a method of curating your clothes, choosing staple pieces rather than buying into trends. She also recognised the toxic role of Instagram in encouraging single-wear outfits and fast fashion brands, and she instead tries to look within her own wardrobe, re-wearing pieces in a new and inventive way.

For anyone looking to try their hand at vintage shopping, Sophia indicates how “compromise is key” and that it’s essential to recognise you might not get exactly what you’re looking for. Pieces are old and may need altering but for Sophia this allows her creative freedom to run loose.

Sophia was quick to spill her secrets about her favourite vintage stores in Manchester: “Lou Lou’s Vintage has a market at Manchester Cathedral and they always have amazing pieces that are super cheap, and I absolutely adore Retro Rehab on Tib Street. It’s really shoppable and I think it’s got that high-street feel to it and everyone could go in and buy something.”

Although her ultimate dream is to have her own standalone vintage store, Sophia recognizes that it would require a step back from her current line of work, and she’s not quite ready to move on from her well-loved blog and Top of the Town, huge passions of hers that she is excited to continue pursuing.

Tags: blogger, Fashion blogger, influencer, instagram, sophia rosemary, Vintage

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