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Chosen by Guy McKelvey, director of Air Agencies, which represents brands including John Smedley and Naturapura.

I take my hat off to Eleven for offering an eclectic mix of directional, sought-after brands in Sunderland - a city that many have failed to tame. Owner Neil Symington worked various shopfloors in the Northeast before setting up on his own, and has an unbridled enthusiasm for product.

The store, which occupies a listed three-storey Georgian town house, mixes minimalism with the comfort of an old colonial house in a way that complements the product without becoming overbearing.

With two floors of menswear as well as a floor of womenswear and footwear, it has built a strong local following since it opened in 2001, and pulls in many people from further afield to view the vibrant and fresh collections. New brands are added each season, including Moncler and The Hillside, which Eleven introduced to the Northeast.

As you wander around the store, you see the owner’s personal touches - from framed vinyl record covers to old childhood toys. It’s this mix of personality and enthusiasm that always makes me want to return.

Address 56 John Street, Sunderland

Telephone 01915 641155

Owner Neil Symington

Brands include CP Company, Folk, Moncler, Universal Works

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