On a typically dire Mancunian evening I attended the opening of Goodstock, a new concept charity shop that has opened on Oxford Road. If anything was going to warm the cockles, this was it.
I entered to the sound of a live DJ, a free wine bar, nail bar and clothes customisation station (from Chorlton based customising collective ‘Stitched Up’) and rail upon rail of pre-loved clothing covering three floors.
They also sell donated DVDs, books, accessories and shoes all presented in a fresh and modern way, but retaining that inimitable second-hand charm. Created by vInspired, an independent charity that helps young people find skilled volunteering opportunities, Goodstock is a brand new retail venture. Fashionable and affordable second-hand clothing has been sourced and edited to create a unique and memorable shopping experience for young fashionable, money and eco-conscious people. The shop is a newly designed and inviting space, with empowering messaging dotted around on the walls, aiming to engage with the young audience that are at the centre of what Goodstock is all about.
The shop is run by young, trained volunteers who want to develop their retail and entrepreneurial skills so that they can go out and give back to the community. Additionally, there will be workshops and events in-store to show off the creativity and enterprise of young people based in Manchester. One example of this includes live music every Saturday afternoon from up-and-coming Manchester based DJs. In the words of Moira Swinbank, the chief executive of vInspired who spoke at the official opening, young people will ‘stock [Goodstock], run it, gain experience and give back to the local community’. They really are at the heart of Goodstock’s creative retail vision.
Along with benefitting young people, Goodstock has at its core the idea of giving back to local people and communities. It is the first of its kind in the country but it is hoped that it will expand across the UK. What is so great about this, for me, is that they chose Manchester to be the epicentre of this cultural change in the way we think and go about shopping. vInspired’s director of retail Jane Cartwright quoted that priceless piece of folklore: ‘What Manchester does today, the rest of the world does tomorrow’. The city of Manchester has been specifically chosen for its vibrant and bustling creative scene but also for its profound sense of community. One day, Goodstock hopes to harness this sentiment and take it all over the country.
Like many others, I firmly believe in the importance and value of charity shops. Goodstock Manchester aims to take the concept of the charity shop mainstream, with its central student-based location and its carefully curated collection. Although it’s not the sort of place where you would find a vintage gem, it still aims to make the whole experience of shopping both economical and ethical. For a generation growing up with austerity and economic disparity, who want to help their community and dress to suit their individual style, Goodstock is a great addition to the Mancunian landscape.
words Elizabeth Harper