Leeds’ iconic vintage store Blue Rinse has been forced to shut up shop at its oldest location in the city after 25 years of trade.
A haven of old school Levi’s, tartan shirts, trinkets, and nearly-untouched pieces from the 70s, the three-floor Call Lane store has been a mainstay for vintage lovers in the city for decades.
Blaming rising rent rates and disruption caused by the ongoing development of the nearby Corn Exchange, the brothers behind the emporium reflected on the decades they’ve spent at the store as they said goodbye to it one last time on Tuesday.
Speaking to Leeds Live, co-owner Mick Barnett said: “It’s been weird, and me and my brother had a cuddle. We were first in and last out.”
He continued: “25 years ago, in the vintage scene there was just us and one other person. It was a much bigger scene in Manchester.
“The clothes back then – you could get 60s stuff, 70s stuff, 80s stuff – the quality of the sportswear was great.
“There was just so much in circulation. But clothes now are more ‘used’. I wouldn’t even call it all vintage.
“But we still find rare gems. We sort through four or five tonnes of clothing a week in our warehouse in Armley, the odd 60s stuff – but we buy a lot more 80s and 90s stuff now.”
The store first opened in 1997, born out of the brothers’ desire for new clothes and an inability to pay for them.
They told the paper: “When we were 18, 19, we were skint. You could go into a charity shop and find a decent T-shirt.
“It was born from that, and my brother ended up selling in a used clothing shop, then we started doing markets.”
Whilst Blue Rinse’s original Call Lane location has now closed for good, its five-storey Leeds shop at Silvercrest House remains open – as does its Manchester site.
This will certainly not be the end of the brand, either, with the brothers revealing plans to open another site in Newcastle later this year.
Feature image – Blue Rinse