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HIP replacement for Oi Polloi

Written by Sam Walker.
Posted June 28, 2023.

Oi Polloi has been one of the North Quarter’s cornerstones. Over last two decades, it carved a name for itself as THE place for menswear in the city.

Founded by Steve Sanderson and Nigel Lawson, the store championed new and emerging brands with its eclectic mix of leading brands which help to shape the trends you see in and across the city today.

So much so, the brand was regularly featured by leading fashion publications such as GQ as the place to shop in the city. And whilst the Canadian Goose jackets weren’t attainable to everyone, it was their ability to mix high-end brands with curated pics from affordable brands such as Champion and Penfold which ensured that whoever left the building did so with a brown Oi Polloi bag.

Their sample sales became a movement in their own right, and not like a boxing day Next sale. Taking over warehouse buildings around Shudehill, the pop-up stores would have no branding to allude to where they were, just a queue round the block and a bit of red rope and stanchion would give the game away as people tried to get the Oi Polloi look on a budget.

Then something happened which caused outcry with Manchester’s male fashionistas, JD Sports acquired the store from Sanderson and Lawson with the pair rumoured to be supporting the business for next couple of seasons whilst JD got to grips with the way the pair bought and curated products for the store.

In March, further shockwaves. Oi Polloi announces it will close its Thomas Street store with changes afoot, but the brand alludes to rising back like a Pheonix.

It’s a cool. The brand shares a similar story to Oi Polloi, opening up a store in Leeds in the late eighties and becoming synonymous within the city for curating the best clobber. So much so, that JD Sports came knocking, acquiring the brand and its credible customer base.

The store and the website stock many of the brands you’ll already know and love from Oi Polloi, so stepping into the new store won’t feel completely different to what you’re used to. You’ll still be able to pick up the latest and greatest from the likes of Adidas, Birkenstock, CP Company, Carhartt, New Balance and so many more so go check it out.

But, if you’re a diehard Oi Polloi fan, fear not. The rumour mill is alight with talk of a return, but ‘you saw nothing, heard nothing, know nothing!’