We recently saw the doors open to Patagonia’s first brand destination in the UK. Their move follows that of fellow outdoor brand Fjallraven, the Swedish label having also selected Manchester as the location for its first UK store. So why Manchester? It has a reputation for being cold and wet and has a strong tradition of big coat culture… makes perfect sense.
The major influence is undoubtedly the weather and the fact the North West has some incredible scenery to trudge though. The Peak District, Lake District, North Wales all on the doorstep. I can remember walking Kinder Scout and Dovestones Reservoir as a 12 year old in my first proper outdoor jacket - Berghaus Goretex. But also wearing it very proudly to school. It's a brand that looks good but also gets the job done, whilst coming with a certain level of kudos - not easy to do, but this is the trick that Patagonia and Fjallraven also manage to pull off. It’s also the reason they’ve been around for so long and have such a loyal following.
Another interesting fashion trend is the emergence of ‘Gorpcore’. Fleece vests, colourful, too-big puffer jackets, durable raincoats, all-waterproof-everything, bumbags… the list goes on. Once the uniform of the geography teacher, these items have become the mainstay of street style stars and celebrities alike — taking the bumbag from an absolute fashion faux pas to something Drake and ASAP Rocky wear like a badge of honour.
And so, if fashion-conscious kids are following celebrities in their fashion choices, buying into Gorpcore (which looking around our streets they are…), it would seem that The Outsiders Store in Liverpool has got their timing just right. A unique space geared towards those with a love of outdoors who appreciate a more refined and modern retail experience. The Outsiders has been set up by the team behind Ellis Brigham (a Manchester outdoor institution) and we were very proud to be part of developing the retail space.
Trends do come and go, but well made, technical outdoor clothing will never go out of fashion - putting all the previously mentioned brands in a strong position. People will always need jackets that keep them dry. So these strong ties to outdoor clothing here in the North West and especially Manchester mean that Patagonia and Fjallraven are in exactly the right place in calling M2 their first UK home.
As with all Patagonia locations, the King Street site was chosen due to its historic nature and work has been done to preserve the integrity of the building, honouring its surrounding history and culture. And also for its proximity to the wide range of outdoor sports opportunities offered within easy reach. A programme of events are to rolled out, including Worn Wear Tour stop – whereby customers can receive free repairs on their clothing irrespective of brand. The 3 storey space has an authentic outdoor feel to it, using reclaimed materials to give a rugged and heritage look. The focal point of the store is a massive tiled walled running from the ground floor up to the first. The tiles are reclaimed from a police station in Ormskirk and are hand printed with a map of the North West and surrounding landscape. Impressive.
This new store gives Fjallraven fans the opportunity to step inside a fully-branded shop where a full product range will be presented within a Scandinavian-manufactured wooden, internal layout. The brand’s trademark product, ‘the Kanken’ backpack, makes a big impact as you walk through the doors with a rainbow wall of colour. The light wooden finishes of the fixtures and fittings give the space a clean, light feel, allowing the product to breathe. The stand out feature of the store is the attention to detail, from the joints of the handmade fixtures to the direct print to ply in the fitting rooms. Whilst small pots of greenery throughout the space bring the outside in.