I don’t need to tell you that in the past few years Leeds has exploded with newness and the city has upped it’s game offering some of the best shopping in the North, and you would be forgiven for indulging in a little retail therapy with the opening of Trinity this year and although creating new jobs, bringing new wealth to the city, and dazzling students and locals alike with multi sensory shopping experience it’s easy to forget about the independent shops lying just off the beaten tracks of Briggate and the Headrow. Having spent a year away from Leeds in Budapest, where the second hand shops are buying in British cast offs and ‘vintage’ shops are hard to come by, I had forgotten about the unequaled luminosity of a thriving collection of independent shops, bars and restaurants and how pride and commitment emanates from the local people and the business owners. It seems distinctly British to support and nurture these micro empires, bearing in mind that some of the best British exports started out as small businesses; it’s good to be back amongst it. Now that I’ve returned I can’t wait to rediscover some old favorites and seek out some new ones, the pleasures that independent Leeds has to offer will be my focus and I will be sharing my findings with you.
I’m about to embark upon my fourth year of Fine Art study and hounded by the feeling that time is precious and of the essence, I wanted to hit the ground running, and couldn’t wait to get to Upstaged Vintage for my first Leeds Student blog and quite rightly so- one rainy and miserable Thursday I hotfooted it down to the Corn Exchange and just behind there, I found it. It’s a glimmering diamond of a shop and due to their previous location one I missed out on in my first years in Leeds, but now they have established themselves in the White Cloth Hall to be closer to what is quickly becoming known as the Vintage Quarter of the city, and now Upstaged Vintage have got it all. Specializing in quality vintage for ladies and gentlemen, they are a force to be reckoned with. Greeted by Lorna and Laura, you walk into a shop full of fresh smelling luxe items, the items they carry are handpicked by Lorna from the local area, which means what they sell was made locally or at least within Britain- it’s indigenous high calibre clothing at it’s best and standards are high. There is nothing on sale which has not passed Lorna’s eye for detail and hasn’t been cleaned, steamed and isn’t ready to be taken out and shown a good time!
Upstaged are selling something a little more special than your average vintage emporium- surrounded by the familiar movers and shakers of Leeds offering the much loved up cycled garments, sweatshirts and levi cut offs, they stand alone as a shop offering mens formal wear and ladies occasion wear alongside pieces easily incorporated in any daytime look. Stocking waistcoats and blazers to dickie bows, straw boaters and fairisle jumpers for him alongside ball gowns, tea dresses, trousers and jumpsuits for her and all forms of accessories; items range from the 1940‘s to the 1980‘s and from ￡3 to ￡100. They even offer an alteration service for a small fee to ensure the perfect fit, and also stock an extensive range of Dr Marten boots in the latest patterns and textures. It’s full of northern charm, the service is excellent, they offer a 10% student discount on all non sale items and you’re guaranteed a one off shopping experience. You can find them on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram @UpStagedLeeds. It’s good to be back, Leeds.