Author Sara Lieberman Photography Emma Pilkington
It’s possible that there isn’t anyone as fashionable and funny in all of Manchester as Shannon Oakley of online retailer Accessoryo. The witty 23-year-old studied English at university but quickly rose through the fashion ranks, moving from Accessoryo’s social media assistant to its head buyer and creative director within just a year. Here, the fringe-loving fashionisto talks high streets, Harvey Nichols and Mancunian style.
How would you describe fashion in Manchester?
Manchester is very trend-conscious. Mancunians have a taste for high fashion with a shoestring budget. We prefer fast-moving fashion, so head-to-toe high street with timeless designer details. Manchester is very daring and adventurous—trends usually start here and filter down south.
What are your favorite places to shop?
My shoes, bags and accessories are usually from luxury brands, so I go to Harvey Nichols on New Cathedral Street. There’s always an event on at the restaurant, brasserie and wine bar, which has panoramic views of Manchester. The Northern Quarter is home to hundreds of vintage shops, like Ryan Vintage. That’s where I find my original and most treasured pieces.
Have you always loved fashion?
Yes! I love the pace, the constant change and the hypocrisy, the “I will never be seen dead in a fringe jacket.” Then, next season, “Yes, I’m wearing a fringe jacket.”
Is there an item in your wardrobe that you’re currently obsessing over?
No. Every morning I pull my wardrobe apart, sit on the pile of clothes and rock back and forth, back and forth, hoping some miracle outfit will appear. I have thousands of clothes, but nothing to wear!
So how did you come up with today’s outfit?
I like color! My purple coat is Selected Homme, the gold jumper is Reiss, and the peach trousers are Gucci. I finished it off with Dior So Real sunglasses, Vivienne Westwood patent brogues and a man clutch from Accessoryo. It’s funny because people will say I dress weird, and I’m like, “I’m wearing a coat, jumper, trousers and shoes. How is that weird?! Is it the man clutch? I can throw that at you!”