Monday, 1 August 2011

fashion Rambler meets Philip Stephens and Jodie Harsh at Unconditional + Manchester Launch

Unconditional, the clothing brand that loves a bit of male cleavage (heavage if you will) opened their first Northern flagship store in Manchester’s Exchange Square last week. Designer and brand owner Philip Stephens and his posse of Soho club kids, including the infamous Miss Jodie Harsh, came up for the do to introduce the north to sexy clothing for men (and women, but that’s not as interesting to me).


Anna Westerman of Flux Magazine (see my interview with the mag's founder here), Christopher Hulme (ma +1), Lynda Moyo and Ryan (Senior Sales Advisor for Unconditional)

The store is huge and a great use of an empty unit that I’ve known for years since it used to be a unit that held sample sales and pop-up shops so I was always having a good old nosey. Unconditional took the unit primarily because of the fact that the ceiling consisted of exposed pipe work and the floor was concrete. That’s their thing. Stephens told me it was ‘like a dream’ because it needed so little doing to it.

The store stocks both the brand’s famous menswear and the womenswear collections as well as the company’s latest venture into homeware by way of scented candles and throws. 

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Jonathan on the flyer for the last Circus night.

The party was very cool, it had a London androgyny about it, boys dressed as girls and girls dressed... well, as girls but not as convincingly. We met Jonathan, the latest Cover-girl for Harsh's London club night Circus. He was a size 00 and modeled the latest Unconditional ladieswear perfectly (ouch, size 00 debate) he also danced like a nothing Manchester has seen before.


Unconditional Launch Party
Jodie Harsh, Philip Stephens, Lynda Moyo (see my interview with Lynda here) and Me!

It was pretty cool to be able to hear Jodie Harsh play a set too since an appearance in Manchester during the Ibiza season and Circus' prime is something of a rarity. I managed to get behind the DJ deck to give her a mwah-mwah-darling welcome to the North and as I kissed her left cheek I got stuck in her hairsprayed weave. Beautiful. I will cherish the moment I peeled my face off hers.

I managed to speak to Philip Stephens earlier in the day about his move to Manchester, you can see the interview here. I have saved this little snippet for fR readers:

Fashion Rambler: How is the new transactional website doing?

Philip Stephens: It’s going well, it is interesting because Unconditional is me, it’s completely financed by me and we’re not part of some huge chain and we don’t have lots of money so we have to do one thing at a time. I don’t have a huge master plan but obviously you can have all these ideas but you need the infrastructure to support it. We launched the site but we’ve not pushed it, it get hits and we sell but without even pushing. It’s a process.

FR: So, the company’s approach to Social Media isn’t strong if you’re not pushing the site?

PS: I started Facebook reluctantly. I think I’m going to start twitter.

FR: You have to.

PS: I know, Jodie (Harsh), well Jay is my friend and he’s busy on Twitter and I have a friend in Social Media PR and he’s telling me I have to do it. I know I’ve got to, you’ve got to embrace these things.

Shop Unconditional here.

END.