Britain's Big Trends: The Cult Items in Leeds, Manchester, London and More

To do this job you have to be a bit more than obsessed when it comes to trends. Not in trying to wear them all ASAP and in one mad look, but having an insatiable interest in finding out what they are, where they are, who is buying them and what those combined factors might indicate. I’m no theorist, but I certainly enjoy analysing current retail phenomena, however, being in London all the time can make you feel like you’re in a bubble.

There are so many stylish cities across the country, and we’re always intrigued to know what’s fashionable elsewhere as well as in the capital where our office is located. Only recently did the WWW team visit Manchester to find that even the quickest walk around the Northern Quarter provided some of the coolest street style looks we’ve seen in a while. I instantly noticed a burgeoning microtrend for neon sporty roll-necks worn with cargo pants or jeans and heels. That look has now shifted to the south (not to mention all over Instagram), and I’m starting to spot the combination in London too.

In order to gather data and start drafting a picture of what’s cool up and down the country, I talked to my clever friends at fashion search engine Lyst. They were able to analyse the past fortnight of search data via their platform to give me the inside track on the items, brands and categories that are most popular across eight key locations (sorry in advance to those who are left out). From Birmingham to Brighton, Liverpool to Leeds, here’s what’s hot in Britain right now.


Top brands: Gucci, Off-White, Reiss

Top searches: Dresses, sneakers, jackets


(Image credit: @symphonyofsilk)

The global love affair for Gucci runs strongly through this entire story, but let's start with what's important to the London crew when it comes to adding some GG action to their wardrobes. It's one of the most searched-for brands, but there's also a specific bag that's proving to be the frontrunner in recent weeks—the Gucci Dionysus GG Supreme Mini. This neutrally coloured, monogrammed crossbody style feels at once vintage and yet totally current, but also it does act as a super-practical investment piece you can wear over and over again. 

The other top brands include Off-White (most notably in relation to the Vulcanized Low-Top Sneakers, which now seem to be sold out almost everywhere) and Reiss. According to Lyst, categories Londoners are searching for right now include dresses, sneakers and jackets—and another pair of trainers makes the list: Comme Des Garçons Play x Converse's Chuck Taylors. They're an in-the-know kind of style that has become a cult favourite. 

Shop the London edit:


Top brands: Gucci, Alexander McQueen, ASOS

Top searches: Dresses, boots, sneakers


(Image credit: @fashionenth)

With both boots and sneakers trending heavily in Birmingham, it's perhaps no massive surprise that two pairs of shoes take up top spots in the city's most searched-for items as well—and they're pretty adventurous too. Gucci's Flashtrek Sneakers and Versace's Medusa Slingback Sandals showcase a major appetite for bold designer accessories, alongside the GG Marmont Card Case from Gucci and an overall penchant for Alexander McQueen.

One key category that is taking up Brummie girls' time include dresses, and one of their top brands is ASOS, so we can only start to imagine the kind of brilliant solutions one can find within the e-commerce giant's frock collection

Shop the Birmingham edit:


Top searches: Dresses, tops, heels


(Image credit: @emilyjbull)

I wasn't surprised to learn from Lyst that Liverpool's biggest categories are really pointed towards a going-out wardrobe—these girls are famously good at looking glam on any given evening. Dresses, tops and heels make up their majority of their searches right now, and we've spotted Topshop's strappies on social, indicating they're just as sought-after up there as they are within our London HQ. 

In addition, there's a super-interesting mix of preferred brands: & Other Stories (which is still relatively niche in the grand scheme of things), Adidas (doesn't get more mainstream than that) and Michael Kors (an aspirational, super-smart name in the mix). Like in many British cities, there's a strong focus on investment accessories alongside the more random and affordable purchases girls are making—Liverpool's top products at the moment include (you guessed it) Gucci's Double-G Logo Belt, Michael Michael Kors's Felix Trainers and Alexander McQueen's Oversized Sole Sneakers. A plethora of posh casual items that can be worn to work as easily as they can to a nice bar on a Friday night.

Shop the Liverpool edit:


Top brands: Kurt Geiger London, Adidas, Alexander McQueen

Top searches: Sneakers, jackets, boots


(Image credit: @fashion_panic)

Brit girls are on a mission to kit themselves out for spring, with Manchester being one of many cities investing more in jackets right now than cosy coats or knitwear. Along with lighter layers, they're also pretty clued up on footwear, with sneakers and boots taking up the majority of shoe searches. It looks like they're buying the bulk of those from Kurt Geiger London and Adidas—two of the city's current favourite brands, according to Lyst's data. In the mix, we also find Alexander McQueen… yet again. We know that McQueen's chunky-soled kicks have been a popular purchase for some time now in the UK and beyond, and it looks like that won't halt any time soon. 

In terms of specific products that are trending in the area there's a lace dress from Reiss (maybe for the wedding season?), Burberry's Vintage Check Scarf (seriously popular all over the globe right now) and Gucci's logo-emblazoned jacquard jacket—so all in all some pretty major statement pieces. 

Shop the Manchester edit:


Top brands: JW Anderson, ASOS, AllSaints

Top searches: Dresses, shoulder bags, tops


(Image credit: @alexisforeman)

Brighton has a really creative rep and is also one for being more progressive when it comes to hot-button issues like sustainability or climate change. So it didn't hugely surprise me that the top products included some pretty right-on items: Free People's Vegan Ranch Boots and ASOS's Recycled Denim Farleigh Shorts are two of the region's most searched-for right now, in addition, a kookier option in one of Markus Lupfer's embellished knits.

There's also a very interesting mix when it comes to the most searched-for brands, with some pretty hyped-up names like JW Anderson sitting alongside more mainstream ones such as ASOS and AllSaints. The categories Brighton girls have been looking for the most over the past fortnight are dresses, shoulder bags and tops (same as me!). Sounds pretty summer-facing, no?

Shop the Brighton edit:


Top brands: Dolce & Gabbana, Fila, Adidas

Top searches: Boots, sneakers, heels


(Image credit: @astyleedit)

If there's one thing I can see straight away, it's SHOES! The top category searches in Nottingham at the moment are boots, sneakers and heels, so these Notts women are my kind of fashion girls. There's a high-low spectrum of brands they are looking into, from the super-luxe Dolce & Gabbana through to sportswear stalwarts Fila and Adidas. 

In terms of specific items ticking the boxes we see one now-familiar friend—Alexander McQueen's Oversized Sole Sneakers—as well Dolce & Gabbana's Transparent Cinderella Pumps (how fabulous?) and the Adidas Yeezy SPLY Sneakers (which are almost impossible to get hold of as they sell out so fast and cost so much money). Suffice to say, if you're ever looking for what's cool in the world of footwear, it's worth taking a train to Nottingham.

Shop the Nottingham edit:


Top brands: ASOS, Topshop, Acne Studios

Top searches: Dresses, heels, jackets


(Image credit: @gabriellarose_h)

I think I want to move to Leeds. The top brands circulating around town right now are ASOS and Topshop as well as Acne Studios. Any city with major feels for Acne must be a chic and minimalistic one—so I can envision that the girls here are pretty damn good at buying classic investment pieces and pepping them up with a more trend-driven high-street item here and there. 

At the moment, the top searches revolve around dresses, heels and jackets, but the most popular specific items show a keen interest in designer arm candy. There's Kate Spade's super-classic Cameron Harmony Bag (a holds-everything tote) and Saint Laurent's Monogram Envelope Chain Wallet in the first two spots, followed by some Valentino sneaks. So far, so hefty on the price-tag front, but all of these pieces provide longevity.

Shop the Leeds edit:

Hannah Almassi
Editor in Chief

Hannah Almassi is the Editor in Chief of Who What Wear UK. Hannah has been part of the the Who What Wear brand since 2015, when she was headhunted to launch the UK sister site and social channels, implement a localised content strategy and build out the editorial team. She joined following a seven-year tenure at Grazia magazine, where she led front-of-book news, fashion features and shopping specials as fashion news and features editor. With experience in both print and digital across fashion and beauty, Hannah has over 16 years in the field as a journalist, editor, content strategist and brand consultant. Hannah has interviewed industry heavyweights such as designers including Marc Jacobs and Jonathan Anderson through to arbiters of taste including Katie Grand and Anna Dello Russo. A skilled moderator and lecturer specialising in the shift to digital media and e-commerce, Hannah’s opinion and work has been sought by the likes of CNBC, BBC, The Sunday Times Style, The Times, The Telegraph and, among many others. Hannah is often called upon for her take on trends, becoming known as a person with their finger of the pulse of what’s happening in the fashion space for stylish Brits. Hannah currently resides in Eastbourne with her photographer husband, incredibly busy son and highly Instagrammable cat.