We take a tour around the Manchester-based vintage store specialising in 80s & 90s Italian designers. With a love for Massimo Osti-era Stone Island and the far-reaching cultures surrounding Italian fashion, the store has a well curated selection of garments displayed in a minimalist environment.
Gone Fishing Vintage also serves as a hub for friends of the store and local creatives, forming a strong sense of community built from the ground up.
When and why did you open Gone Fishing Vintage?
We opened Gone Fishing Vintage online about 6 years ago. It’s the same story, really. It started as a hobby of buying and reselling and eventually reached a point where it could move to full time.
I first started selling various bits of Stone Island that didn’t reach the shop floor when I worked at a menswear shop in Manchester. If there were faults I’d take them to the tailors and sort them out and then resell them. I was a broke student at the time so this was a nice little side project and brought in some P. It all progressed from there.
Obviously that was all working out of my uni house and then flat but I eventually ended up with a studio to store all the stock, steam, flat lay and do all the bits before getting items online and posting them. Now we’ve got a shop and a team of staff and everything is a lot easier.
So tell us a bit about the store?
The store opened a couple months back and has been going really well. It’s so much nicer having a store than selling online. For one you actually get to chat to people. When you’re locked up in the studio day after day taking photos of clothes repeatedly for 8 hours it can get a bit much. The store is a great chance to actually talk to the people who buy the clothes. It sounds obvious but it’s just quite nice.
Aesthetically the store is really simple. There’s a lot of grey and whites going on, which act as a backdrop for the clothes to pop from. A couple plants dotted around and that. I like the idea that the shop feels a bit like a showroom. It’s not a huge space but it feels big – there’s room to breathe. I think it’s quite inviting that way. I was shopping for furniture the other day at a big antique warehouse and while those places are sick – you know, shit everywhere you look, hidden gems piled under paintings and brikabrak and layers of dust – they’re too overwhelming. If a few of those items were laid out they’d be more attractive. There’s always this mental battle with overloading the shop with stock – more stock is more potential buys but also it can detract from the feeling. Less is more sometimes.
What sets Manchester’s fashion scene apart from the rest of the UK?
Manchester is a big ‘do it yourself’ sort of place. Everyone around here is stubborn with their determination to get it done. I’m talking about young designers, stylists, photographers, writers, anything creative. It’s also really small when you get down to it. So there’s this creative impulse that feels compressed, like everywhere you turn someone is plotting some next shit. That’s why Manchester is different. Fashion just stems from that. We all look good when we’re doing creative stuff, and when we’re satisfied with our hustle.
You guys focus on 80s and 90s Italian designers, where did the love for these brands come from?
I guess the earliest love came from Stone Island. Anything Osti-affiliated is class as he really changed the game. But, importantly, Stoney is a ticket into the wider world of Italian design. There’s this thing about Italian culture and lifestyle – it’s so relaxed. People take their time, don’t sweat the small stuff, savour beauty in the little moments. Life can be so fast – or, people want it to be – and miss the subtleness of everyday. I think a lot of Italian brands are relaxed.
There’s also this other side to Italian fashion and subculture which comes from yachting and motorbikes and heavy doses of materialism. A lot of Italian brands in the 70’s and 80’s were being bought by the kids who revolted against the lifestyle I describe above. They wanted it fast and wore loud colours and probably culturally antagonised their parents. There’s a juxtaposition here. But I think the slowed down Italian approach to life still shines through.
Craziest piece you’ve ever sold?
Crazy is a hard word. What’s crazy to us might be boring to everyone. I like it when people come into the shop with knowledge and pick out some of the lesser known bits from the rails. I came across a really unusual colourway of a Henri Lloyd Consort Jacket that was from the 80’s and designed by Olmes Carreti, a bit of an infamous Italian designer. That piece was crazy because it was a piece of history. Certain people are drawn to those pieces and want to come and talk about them and see them in person.
There’s been loads of rare Stone Island in the shop. Last wild piece I can recall is an 80’s helicopter jacket. Loads of Stone Island corduroy shirts which go for crazy money. Rare Moschino, random bits of Jean Paul Gaultier. We sold a velour Tom Ford Gucci from AW 1997. There’s some great photos of it on the runway and Rihanna looked mad steezy wearing it at some point too. That was a crazy piece because, again, it’s a little bit of history.
Throwing back to the Italian sailing and yachting bits, we’ve had quite a big chunk of rare 2003 Prada Luna Rossa Gore-tex pieces in, which are a firm favourite. And we’re big, big fans of anything Missoni. The knits are exceptional and I think they’re really slept on. Those are some of the craziest pieces.
Any plans to expand? Open a store in London?
To be honest, no, not in London. I think London is already saturated with vintage shops. What’s good about our shop is that, as I said before, Manchester is small. I walk to the shop in the morning. Some of my mates practically live above it. The shop has become a good spot for all of our friends to congregate, hang out, plot and scheme. Could that be replicated in London? I don’t think so. London’s culture is great, but it’s spatially challenging. Walkability is an important factor for us. Everyone’s welcome at all times, and the community and projects that develop from the shop are a big part of it.
If we were going to expand, I’d rather have it in a European city. It doesn’t sound bad doing it somewhere hot, where we could hang out in the sun. Maybe in Italy – then we could really live that relaxed lifestyle. Wherever we move, though, the important thing is the community that comes with it. The store is a hub, and one that’s required time to build. Opening another shop isn’t as simple as finding a property or a space. Community has to grow from the ground up. That’s why we’re lucky in Manchester.