Unit 4, Barton Arcade, Deansgate
The clean, utilitarian interior of Intro’s ground floor is in stark contrast to the basement’s uneven concrete floors, red-cushioned walls and log piles. But each design reflects the different brand mix of this menswear indie.
While the ground floor features more tailoring-led brands like Buckler, Unconditional and Gibson, the basement is a treasure trove of streetwear labels, from big names like Luke to lesser-known labels such as the retailer’s own brand, Waffle.
“We buy plain polos, T-shirts and hoodies and get them customised from a guy who works from home,” says owner Irvin Grant of Waffle. Delusion, a new brand set up by
Grant which launched this season, sits with Intro’s more formal offer, and Grant will look to wholesale the brand from next season.
He says: “We’re not brand-led, we’re product-led. We don’t go for well-known brands because they’re sold in department stores and multiples; we do brands that are right for our customer.”
Even though the store is making a profit, turnover has been hit as shoppers rein in their spending. But Grant is still optimistic. “There are plenty of people who want a different and better service. And Manchester has its own fashion; it’s more adventurous than London.”