Streetwear trends and the latest streetwear drops drive student fashion in Manchester. Many are seen in items from well-known brands on the market like Unknown London and Corteiz, wearing matching coord sets, cargos and tracksuits. We spoke to owner of Manchester brand Ssstock, Mitchell, to turn our attention to a smaller brand making its way onto the market. The brand began as a streetwear start-up, ran alongside university studies, and has since grown to what it is today. Their recent drops have seen popular rhinestone designs, featured on zip-up tracksuit sets, and graphic tees.
Can you tell me about the brand?
I started the brand when I was in my first year at uni, I studied English so it wasn’t related to my degree. It started out half-heartedly because I didn’t really have the time. I started making some t-shirts in November 2019 and then took a break whilst I was in my final year to focus on it. In July 2021 I left completely, and after saving up during my time at uni, started taking it seriously.
Where does the name come from?
I just thought it sounded cool. The extra letter S’ are just a copyright thing.
What was the idea behind Ssstock, did you have a particular vision?
Its all streetwear. Most of my designs are slightly different, they have my own twist. It’s pretty much just stuff I would wear myself that’s not already on the market.
Where do you get your inspiration?
I don’t get my inspiration from any other brands; I think it’s good to have your own take on things. The only inspiration I have is from pop culture. If you look at my t-shirts, most of them are references to films or music that I like myself. I think that’s the best thing to do for a brand – to have your own personal touch, because then you know another brand hasn’t already done it.
What’s the design process like?
It takes quite a while from design to production. When I’m designing I keep changing my mind. I’ll think of an idea and change it at least 10 times before I’m happy with it. Production itself happens abroad in Hong Kong. It takes 6 weeks, then 2 weeks for shipping.
You’re a Manchester brand, how does that come into play with what you make?
Some of my designs have been inspired by Manchester culture. Some are to do with the Smiths, and I have ‘Manchester’ written on one of my old t-shirts. I’m thinking of going back to that actually – putting the city on my t-shirts to try and connect with the people of Manchester.
Any future plans?
I’d like to carry on making similar stuff to what I am now. I’ve been experimenting recently with new printing methods – rhinestones and ‘puffy-print’. I think the best thing to do is to experiment and go out of my comfort zone, that’s the only way I’m going to progress really.