Why Leeds is great if you love fashion

Hands up, who considers themselves a fashion addict? If you’re reading this and slowly raising your hand, we’re sure that you’ll fit right in here in Leeds. With such a high density of students in the city, it really is a melting pot of different styles, and we think that's what makes it such a creative place to live. Whether you like to admire fashion, design it or buy it, Leeds really does have it all. 

Leeds is considered one of the UK’s top shopping destinations outside of London, and it’s easy to see why. Think about all your favourite big-name high street stores, and you can be sure that Leeds has them. However, as well as your high street must-haves, Leeds has a whole lot more to offer too. There’s a whole host of vintage goldmines, charity shop bargains and quirky independents that will make you wish you had a money tree in your back garden. 

Glass roof of Leeds Trinity and the busy shoppers across three floors

High street shopping in Leeds

The beautiful Victoria Quarter is very impressive indeed. If you enjoy shopping (or window shopping!) in designer stores while observing beautiful architecture, you simply must visit. In Victoria Quarter you will find stores such as Vivienne Westwood, Mulberry and Ted Baker, all housed underneath stunning stained-glass ceilings. 
The interior of Victoria Quarter shopping centre in Leeds

Student tip: Usually, the stores in Victoria Quarter may be a little too expensive for a student budget. However, during the sales, prices can be significantly lower – sometimes with up to 70% off. 

Arguably Leeds’ most famous street, Briggate is right in the centre of Leeds. It’s packed full of well-known fashion stores, including: Zara, Debenhams and House of Fraser. Briggate is also home to Harvey Nichols, the famous designer department store. A visit to Harvey Nichols is a real treat – there’s four floors full of luxurious clothes, fancy accessories, food and beauty products. Although purchasing treats in here may not fit within your student budget, it’s still a fun experience to just wander around and check it all out. 
Main shopping street, Briggate in Leeds City Centre

Student tip: If you’re planning a shopping trip down Briggate, why not make a pit stop at Whitelocks? This little pub is the oldest in Leeds, and it has a great atmosphere. It’s hidden away down an alleyway on Briggate… we challenge you to find it without a map!

Trinity Leeds is an amazing shopping centre, that is the focal point of the city centre. Trinity has over 120 stores, including many big names such as Topshop/Topman, Adidas, H&M, River Island and Victoria’s Secret. As well as a huge array of shops, it also has the super cool Everyman Cinema (complete with cosy sofas and pizza delivered to your seat), as well as a large selection of bars and restaurants. Trinity also hosts regular student lock-in evenings. As you can imagine, these are always super popular – just make sure you don’t end up spending your entire student loan on those discounted shoes! 
Glass roof of Leeds Trinity and the busy shoppers across three floors

Student tip: Before every visit to Trinity, check out the ‘What’s on’ section of their website. Here you can find each store’s latest discounts, events and offers. You can sometimes bag yourself a freebie too. 

Victoria Gate was recently voted the best shopping centre in the world… that’s right, in the entire world! This stunning shopping centre was built in 2016 and it cost £160m. Its impressive architecture is visible from halfway across Leeds, and it attracts admirers from all over the country. It’s home to a five-storey John Lewis, a huge casino and a number of fancy restaurants and shops. If the stores inside are a little too expensive for you, why not grab a coffee and sit and watch the world go by? As far as fashion is concerned, we think you’ll get lots of outfit inspo from spending an afternoon in Victoria Gate. 
View of Victoria Gate from George Street in Leeds City Centre

Student tip: Restaurant East 59th in Victoria Gate has some great mid-week food and drink deals. Why not stop off there after a long day of shopping?

Roof terraces and beer gardens in Leeds

The perfect accompaniment to any day out shopping is stopping for a bite to eat and a drink! So why not check out some of the bars and pubs around Leeds that have the best roof terraces and beer gardens!

Independent businesses in Leeds

If you’re the type of person that doesn’t like to wear the same thing as everybody else, then Leeds has you covered. There are loads of cool independent boutiques for men and women dotted around the city centre and beyond. Some of our students’ favourites include Blue Rinse which sells vintage clothing, Accent clothing which is inside Queen’s Arcade, and Welcome Skate Store which sells skateboarding hardware and street style. 

If you want to find some of these places, be sure to venture off the main high streets and into some of the smaller arcades around the city; like Thornton's Arcade and Queen's Arcade and the Corn Exchange. As a city, Leeds is very proud of the independent businesses that have thrived here - so it's always worth going to take a wander and support some local trade. 

Check out a list of independents in Leeds

Leeds Independent Life is a brilliant website and printed magazine that will show you the best of Leeds. Their printed guides, magazines, digital on-line and on-the-move channels are a great way of discovering the distinctive going’s on and enterprises that give places their unique character.

Sustainable fashion in Leeds

Charity shop shopping is just the best, isn’t it? You get to treat yourself to new clothes guilt-free, as you know you’re helping towards a good cause. In Headingley, students are lucky enough to have many different charity shops to choose from. There’s Mind, Oxfam, Martin House Hospice and many more. Their stock is updated regularly by the 25,000+ students that live in Leeds, so you can be sure that there will be something new instore each time you visit. 
An aerial view of Headingley and in the distance are the grounds of Emerald Headingley Stadium

Student tip: For a fun night out with your friends, why not participate in the charity shop challenge? The rules are as follows: you each spend £10 and buy one friend an outfit entirely from a charity shop… the jazzier the outfit, the better. You then must all go out in your new outfits, and the person that gets the most compliments for theirs wins! It’s a fun night out, and you’re contributing to a great cause. 

As well as having a tonne of vintage clothing stores, Leeds also has plenty of vintage fashion fairs – including a regular one here at Leeds Beckett’s SU. There’s also a popular fair at Kirkgate Market every month, which also gives you an excuse to go and try out their yummy street food too. Leeds even has regular ‘preloved kilo sales’, in which you fill your bags with vintage goodies and pay for the weight, not per item. 
A vintage record player

Credit: Erin Brier

Student tip: For a cost-effective way of updating your wardrobe, head to a kilo sale. You could even go with a friend and agree to select at least a few outfits out for each other. That way, you can take a risk and try something you wouldn’t usually purchase/wear, without spending a lot of money. 

One of the biggest vintage shops in Leeds is called Blue Rinse. The city holds the shop close to its heart, since it's been trading in the city for well over 15 years, and now has a shop in Manchester as well as concessions of their 'remade' range in both Topshop and Urban Outfitters. 

It's also worth checking out the Corn Exchange and other areas of the city for vintage shops, like Best or Pop Boutique. 

The dome ceiling and top balcony of Corn Exchange in Leeds City Centre

Worth being in a category of its own, Leeds Community Clothes Exchange is a bit of an underground revolution in Leeds. Basically, you take all of your unwanted clothes to a big room, exchange them for tokens, then spend your tokens on shiny new items! It really is the perfect way for a cash-strapped student to inject new life into their wardrobe. This amazing initiative is run by volunteers, and has a great atmosphere at every event.

Leeds city scape lit up at night

Student tip: If you’re not sure your golf skills are up to par, head to Golf Bar Leeds first to play a few games before you commit to becoming a member at a proper club.

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Are you ready to start your student experience with us here at Leeds Beckett? Follow the links below to get a taste of what we have to offer.

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