Fashion blogger Danielle Spencer on a Brompton Electric folding bike Fashion blogger Danielle Spencer on a Brompton Electric folding bike

A supercharged ride with Danielle Spencer

We chatted with blogger Danielle Spencer (@daniellejuliesp) about cycling through Manchester, her favourite vintage boutiques and how she keeps her style when on two wheels.

If someone only had 24 hours to visit Manchester where would you recommend?

Manchester is great as you can walk or cycle the city centre in less than a day. Foodwise I’d recommend heading to Federal or Ezra and Gil in Northern Quarter for brunch, Haunt near Oxford Road, a Sicilian café which is the home to THE best pizza slices for lunch, Barton Arcade for an afternoon coffee, and Ramona or Sicilian NQ for dinner (or tea if you’re from Manchester.)

Shopping wise Northern Quarter is the home for all things unique, independent, and vintage. Deansgate has all your favourite high street brands, and if you’re after something a little more premium The Trafford Centre has it all under one roof. Manchester has a rich music scene, and we are lucky to have some incredible venues – AO Arena, Albert Hall, Manchester Academy and O2 Apollo to name a few.

It’s worth timing a trip to coincide with finding new artists to listen to or watching your favourite artist’s play at a cool northern venue.

 

What’s a great neighbourhood to explore Manchester on your Brompton?

There’s a cool, relaxed, creative vibe in Northern Quarter and Ancoats, which I love to explore on my Brompton.

There are many independent bars and café’s to try – and as a girl with a serious sweet tooth, the doughnuts and cookies from Gooey are my kryptonite (but happy to eat and drink my way around them all!)

The Brompton helps to A: get me to all my fave places to eat and drink in double quick time, and B: to travel everywhere in style! I also love wandering around the makers markets which take place on Sunday in Ancoats Square.

The Brompton is perfect for folding into the ‘pull’ motion and weaving around the hustle and bustle of the busy markets, then relaxing, socialising, and people-watching by the marina with a Rudy’s pizza, and cold beverage in the evening.

Fletcher Moss Park and Botanical Gardens in Didsbury is a great place to explore in the warmer months. Lots of beautiful gardens to explore, and wildlife to see. The park and Gardens are huge, and with so much to see and do my Brompton is the perfect way to explore, especially with a picnic and pals involved!

How does using an e-bike influence your fashion choices? Do you have any tips for dressing colourfully while keeping it practical for cycling?

My sense of style has a mixture of vintage, high street, and premium brands, and Manchester is home to all of these, I can hop on and off my Brompton Electric and find all the inspiration I need, in less than a day. I’m also really enjoying coordinating my outfits with the electric metallic blue shade of my Brompton P Line – it’s not just a bike, it’s a part of my look too!

To ensure my outfits are practical for cycling, I keep it comfy, colourful, and casual, this is the most authentic way of dressing for me. Colourful trainers, with a statement trouser and a bold graphic T-shirt, are my go-to.

 

Manchester is a cultural hotspot. What is it about this city that you most enjoy? What draws you to it?

I love that fashion and music are a big part of the history of the city. Manchester was the heart of the cotton trade and textile manufacturing in the 19th century, maybe this is where I get my love for fashion and styling from – it’s in my bones!

I feel lucky I have grown up in such a cool, creative city. There is always such a good energy here, and everyone is so friendly.

 


You’ve got such a colourful and unique sense of style – where do you find the pieces to add to your wardrobe?

At the core of my personal style, I love finding fun, new colour combinations to style, I tend to go all out and will create a full head-to-toe look inspired by a colour combination or tie in colourful accessories from a print I’m wearing - Less is not more in my case!

I find a lot of inspiration through following creators all over the world and therefore finding cool new brands to shop (there are a few indie brands I’ve found in the last year, that I love which are based in the Netherlands, France, Italy, Spain, and Lisbon) I tend to only invest in my wardrobe if it’s a statement piece, which I can style in various ways, and can wear all year around.

Manchester has a thriving vintage clothing scene. Do you ever use your ebike to explore different neighbourhoods and find hidden gems for unique and colourful clothing pieces?

There are some amazing vintage shops in the Northern Quarter, and independent fashion designers at the Makers Market in Ancoats – think Portobello Road but on a smaller scale, there are some real gems to be found. I love heading over to Didsbury, which is a neighbourhood on the other side of Manchester which is up-and-coming and is home to some lovely independent shops, which stock some incredible Scandi brands – it’s great to be able to shop in-store and not pay the huge shipping costs from Europe!

My electric bike is the most convenient mode of transport for exploring different parts of the city. I can ride it to the next place or fold it up with me and take it on the tram or train to continue my travels.

What would be your top tip for outfit styling while cycling around Manchester?

It rains a lot in Manchester so make sure to bring your waterproofs haha!

Manchester can be done on foot or by bike in a day, so make sure you bring a comfy pair of shoes.

 

How did you arrive at dressing so colourfully?

I’ve always been a huge fan of the sixties and eighties, arguably the two most colourful eras in history! I’m drawn to the music and fashion from these eras as it’s so vibrant, fun, and playful, which inevitably found its way into my personal style (and how I would describe my sense of style now!)

It was during university my personal style started to come together. I studied Fashion Design, and the original artwork for Blackpool Illuminations inspired my last collection in the eighties - Think Martin Parr, Princess Diana, with the vibrancy and colour of the eighties thrown in. Over the years I’ve finetuned it and toned it down (I used to love dressing head to toe in the most OTT vintage pieces I could find!)

Now, I prefer a simpler outfit formula which includes either a statement coat/jacket/dress with a colourful trainer and coordinating accessory – it never fails to make me feel good!

Reflecting on my personal style journey, I can see how my interests have translated into my ‘Dopamine Dressing’ sense of style.

 

Aside from fashion, do you have any other creative outlets or hobbies?

I come from quite a creative family – my sister is a sofa designer, and my grandma has always been a creative baker, so naturally I have many creative interests aside from fashion (and a serious sweet tooth.)

I love interiors. Me and my boyfriend are currently renovating our 1913 Victorian house and we are having so much fun throughout the process (aside from roofs falling off and walls crumbling haha).

I also got back into drawing, sewing, and making jewellery during lockdown, I’d also love to add knitting to the list soon!

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