63 Thomas Street, Manchester
Who you need to know
Owners Steve Sanderson (top left) and Nigel Lawson (bottom left)
Situated in Manchester’s super-trendy Northern Quarter, Oi Polloi is cool with a capital C. Its stated mission is to provide its customers with “the antidote for stale and uninspired menswear, the holy grail of form and function over fast-fashion and fad”. A tall order perhaps, but Oi Polloi’s buying team travels the globe to ensure it stays ahead of the pack.
With a brand portfolio that includes the likes of APC, Garbstore and Ma Strum, Oi Polloi’s reputation in the industry means labels such as Henri-Lloyd and Paul Smith are queuing up to collaborate with the store on exclusive product lines.
2010 was a busy year for owners Nigel Lawson and Steve Sanderson - not only has Oi Polloi relocated to a new store, twice the size of its previous site, it is also gearing up to launch its own menswear label, Cottonopolis, in 2011.
Lawson says the secret behind the store’s success is “we use our own ideas and we choose products that we like, unlike everyone else that copies us.”
Oi Polloi is also on the lookout for a store in the London area. “The exposure and the size of the [new] shop has doubled our turnover so we are just making an obvious move,” adds Lawson.
One fan reveals the reason Oi Polloi gets his vote: “In this day and age when everything is mass-produced it is nice have somebody who is a little bit passionate about what they do, where it is not all about money, but they do it because they love it.”