Leeds' vintage emporium Blue Rinse closes its oldest Call Lane store after 25 years

Leeds’ vintage clothing business Blue Rinse has closed the doors on its first emporium for the last time.

By Victoria Finan
Wednesday, 27th April 2022, 11:51 am
Updated Wednesday, 27th April 2022, 11:53 am

Its three-floor shop at 9-11 Call Lane, opened in 1997 by brothers Mick and Jeff Barnett, has serviced generations of vintage lovers and was the beginning of a business that quickly became known nationwide.

Over the past 25 years, the brothers have expanded to Manchester as well as opening a second premises in Leeds, which remains open.

They also regularly appear at music festivals and haven’t missed a single Leeds Fest aside from the cancelled festival in 2020, and also have provided clothes as concessions in Topshop and Urban Outfitters.

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Brothers Mick and Jeff Barnett have closed the doors of Leeds' vintage emporium Blue Rinse

But rising rent rates at the shop and the ongoing development of the Corn Exchange earlier have forced the brothers to give up their lease.

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They emptied the premises on Tuesday.

Mick Barnett, 49, said: “It’s been weird, and me and my brother had a cuddle. We were first in and last out.

The shop has long been loved by vintage fans

“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 inspiration for the business came from the brothers’ lack of funds to buy new clothes while they were teenagers.

Mr Barnett said: “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.”

They are planning to open a new store in Newcastle in the coming months.