Worcestershire?... home of Sauce, good at cricket and inspired Tolkien to give the world Gandalf and Gollum. That's the usual set of answers when folk are asked about the county and city. But look deeper and there is more, and it's growing. One of those areas of growth is the independent retail offering, so with the Fuji in hand it was about time to show that the city is spot on when it comes to keeping the Shire's men dressed well.
Jingo Menswear Worcester
Jingo opened in Hereford in 1980 that's a strong 35 year history. Later a gap was spotted in Worcester's market for exclusive product, so in 1997 the doors opened on a new store in Worcester to help fill a gap and lead the way. The ethos is simple Mike Paine the owner explains "We have a diverse mix of brands and styles in the store. Our target age group is 16 to 60 ! We want that shopping experience to be a dad and his son, both shopping with us , we think we cater for both. He notes current trends, mixing street wear and casual wear, this is the influence of music and media coming together. Heritage cuts from brands like Deus and Carhartt are also strong, and customers are picking up the cleaner lines and simpler cuts this season too. We carry approx 30 brands, so you get an idea of choice ! Some examples of brands we stock are Carhartt, Clarks Originals , Fred Perry , Patagonia, Deus Ex Machina , Farah, Brixton, Huf, Universal Works, Pendleton, Edwin, Eastpak, Only NY, Native Youth, Krew and so much more !! There's more new brands to come too ! We are sourcing brands globally"
With the hard times that indies have felt since 2008 and along with strong online growth Mike explains that it's been tough, but feels that the public are getting back to wanting to visit stores and support the local high street. He is optimistic that growth will continue with the ongoing redevelopment of the city centre. The focus of service, knowledge and having unique store environments will help customers get involved. The itself store is decked out with a homely chilled feel, local art sits on walls alongside reclaimed lamps and nic nacs. It has the feel of an antique shop filled with gold and encouraging exploration. Along with the staple brands like ONLY, Huf and Clarks local brands are also supported like Birmingham's sinister Dark Circle. It also is hub for getting the latest news on gigs, shows events and events in the city. Keep an eye on Jingo as they have new lines and brands coming in this year as they aim to keep it moving.
Jingo is located at 15 Pump Street Worcester. WR1 2Q
Twitter @Jingo_Clothing Instagram @jingo_clothing
Prophecy Menswear and Goodlife Barbers
Not far from Jingo is another but different menswear store, Prophecy Store and Goodlife Barbershop. Owner Grant Gibbs opened the store three years ago having been in retail for twenty years he said it was a "no brainer' to go solo when the chance came up. Inside it's a speakeasy bar, come barbers, come clothing store, Dickies, Lee, Herschel all add to the heritage look and feel along with own brand Prefect Defect which features small goods alongside menswear lines. There is a strong pull to biker heritage brands and later this year they will introduce Belgium garment brand Eat Dust to the store. The barbershop was added three years ago and adds to the theatre of the store you, feel that either Nucky or Al Capone could drop by, but these guys... friendly and relaxed, needed for a good wet shave. Later this year they are collaborating with Lee Jeans which promises to be good indeed. The guys have also just started a youtube channel for obtaining shaving skills. Grant explains he like the fact that the city's compactness add to a sense of community within Worcester. He feels the retailers need to come together to help drive the growth of the city forward. Good advice.
Prophecy and Goodlife Barbershop are located at Cornmarket Worcester
Twitter @perfectdfect Instagram @perfectdfect @goodlifebarbering
The third store is Pockets, located within the tudor and medieval buildings on Friar Street. This is a different affair offering a more casual to tailored service. The manager Kate Oliver has been dressing Worcester's men for fourteen years and the store has a feel of knowing how to get the right look for a customer. Simply laid out with clean aesthetics the clothes are up front and centre. It's a big store reaching right back deceptively so, casual to the front to tailoring at the back, this is the full wardrobe. It actually feels like a big private walk in wardrobe everything ready to go. Classic Ralph Lauren cut and sew is big this year as any other with Hugo Boss, Belstaff, Oliver Sweeny and British sartorial looks from Paul Smith and Eton its all here. Kate mentions that polo's in an array of colours are staple this year as are classic chino's and not just in a regular colours. Lightweight linens are be key to their collection this year some very nice Hugo Boss cuts standout. Tailoring comes in strong solid colours for suits, with bold colour blocks and stripes for shirt and tie touches . One of the new brands to Pockets this year is Acqua Di Parma this will add to the strong line up which is complemented by bold classic Italian Stone Island pieces, which has seen a resurgence recently and looks stronger than ever in store. Don't let all this suave fool you though some stores would have that stuffy feel, not here. Again its about community and offering a quality service that online or big city stores sometimes lack.
Pockets is located at 39Friar Street Worcester WR1 2NA
twitter @pocketsworcs instagram @pockets_worcs
Worcester is growing and fast, as people tire of big cities but still want quality service and offerings it's a good time to see whats out there. Even the mighty Wu Tang Clan are here in July headlining the Nozstock festival... The Wu are coming to The Woo. So should you.