Manchester Fashion Week: Is pricing the perfect fit for consumers on the high street?

By Ben Burrows & Gareth Westmorland

As the inaugural Manchester Fashion Week comes to Spinningfields next week, MM takes a look at its impact on typical Mancunians – and what customers really think of the role of high-end fashion in a recession.

The event, which will take place from April 9 to April 14, will be held in Manchester’s luxury retail quarter.

The fashion spectacular, sponsored by, comes to town just two weeks after nearly £110million worth of budget cuts were announced by Manchester City Council.

It is believed that low income households and city centre residents in particular are to be the hardest hit under the new budgetary constraints.

High-end fashion brands Mulberry, All Saints and Flannels boutique are all using the week to showcase a range of their new lines.

Cost of living calculator Numbeo estimates the average after-tax salary in Manchester to be £1448.84 per month.

Several Mulberry handbags are significantly more expensive than this figure, with some retailing in excess of a staggering £2000.

However Mulberry remains one of the few companies in the UK to maintain their roots in home grown manufacturing and is currently trying to expand its Somerset factory.

Mulberry Chief Executive Godfrey Davis said: “Mulberry has always sought to represent a unique juxtaposition between global fashion influence and a heart routed in the English countryside.”

Creative Director Emma Hill said: “Mulberry will continue to take timeless styles and give them a contemporary twist.”

Numbeo figures suggest that Mancunians spend less than 4% of their disposable income on clothes or shoes.

A utility bill consisting of electricity, water, gas and rubbish collection costs Manchester residents on average £138.29 with much of the high-end garments on show far exceeding this amount.

MM went on to the streets of Manchester to gauge Mancunians thoughts on the week and whether they would spend their hard-earned on the high-end fashion garments showcased next week.

Students Annabel, 15, and Jamie, 16, were shopping in All Saints on Market Street.

He said: “I bought a £30 polo shirt in Topman, but wouldn’t pay £50 for an All Saints one.”

She said: “I don’t shop here. If I was to buy a pair of jeans from here I would ask my parents to pay.”

Celia and Derek Darbyshire, 63 and 64, from Chorley, were browsing for bargains in House of Fraser in the Arndale Centre.

She said: “The last pair of jeans I bought cost £60 and I would only ever spend upwards of £40 on such an everyday piece of clothing.

“I don’t usually buy bags now I’m retired but when I was working I would spend around £70-£80 on a bag,” she added.

On buying from high-end boutique shops: “I wouldn’t pay Mulberry’s prices. To attract me they would have to bring the prices down to at least half, something like £100 for a bag.”

Sharon Oglesby, 47, was shopping for her young daughter in Primark.

“I would say to Mulberry that they should look into sourcing cheaper materials,” she said.

“To pay over £1,800 for a bag is insane and I would rather spend that money on my kids.

“Think of the children around here who have no food on the table.”

The week will also see Manchester bred talent put on show as work by fashion students from Manchester Metropolitan University is also scheduled to be displayed.

For more information on Manchester Fashion Week visit

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