There is one shy shop nestled amongst the wandering lanes of Gandy Street, scooped in between two of Exeter’s many beautiful and aesthetically pleasing restaurants: Bill’s Exeter and Bella Italia. It is not easy to locate Sobeys as all vintage shops go by; it seems to follow a memo of making visitors play a small game of hide and seek as they travel to shop in this small world full of fascination and intrigue.
As you walk along the High Street near the opening of Gandy Street, which looks like the 3/4th platform from the Harry Potter franchise, there is a small board which is always lazily shown by a man, whose aesthetic matches the infamous vibe portrayed by Sobeys. He, in his torn weathered jeans and brown rusty jacket, with earphones in his ears and a cigarette in his left hand, sits there from the time the shop opens to its closing time; annoyingly and often repellingly inviting customers to visit the paradoxically enchanting shop – ‘Sobeys’.
The shop smells like lily incense sticks and dry autumn cherry leaves. It transports you to the world of rock, the reckless 90s, the gullible 80s and the overly enthusiastic 2000s vibe. The employees at Sobeys are a testament to the store’s seasonal and ever-changing lot of fashion. They are reflections of what is in vogue, in the store at that current moment. A glance around the store, and one might feel that this is all they need in the world to make them happy. Rugged Varsity jackets, cropped shirts, dark-hued coats, hot leather jackets, long snaky shawls and scarfs, flowery skirts, leather strapped small-dialed watches, large-eyed, coffee-hued sunglasses, second-hand worn-out converse shoes, oversized sweatshirts, boyfriend jeans, mom jeans, wide-legged jeans, straight jeans, denim jackets, faux fur coats, long mushy overcoats, throw pillows, throw blankets, small trinkets, bracelets, graphic tees, pale – hued dad office shirts, velvety pullovers, and tops made of patchwork. This shop provides not only a treat to the eyes but also to all those people who crave nostalgic comfort while buying clothes.
The shop smells like lily incense sticks and dry autumn cherry leaves. It transports you to the world of rock, the reckless 90s, the gullible 80s and the overly enthusiastic 2000s vibe.
Vintage shopping, though secondary in nature, is supposed to more on the expensive side due to it being in demand over a long period, as well as its classic value of being in constant use and relatable to people of all ages – be it teenagers, young adults or working moms. Sobeys is not an exception to this unspoken rule. The price of items such as watches start from as decant as eighteen pounds; whereas jackets and coats can go as high as forty or sixty pounds. Items made from leather start from sixty pounds and scale higher. Jeans start from thirty pounds and shoes start from a sober thirty pounds too. Frivolous items like hats, caps and scarves start from twenty pounds and skirts can start from thirty to forty pounds. Varsity jackets, dad shirts, cropped skirts, tops and Y2K fashion items range from twenty to sixty pounds. None of the items go above the eighty-pound mark, and all items look quite well preserved and protected given the price. Sobeys is one of the only shops which gives the feel of having bought items from their time period or older.
On a personal note, it is somewhere I go to even if I don’t have the budget to buy something from it, due to its unwavering atmosphere which is full of unshared memories in the form of clothes. It gives the term sustainability a pretty romantic essence and, being a writer, this is something I like and inexplicably find comfort in. Fashion in today’s world is causing controversies in the context of the environment, working conditions, labour laws and labour union protests. So to buy fashion consciously, which at the same time speaks to your style, present personality and moodboard is something I would recommend to an amateur stylist, someone who loves to put together fashion pieces even when grocery shopping and has meaning attached to everything they wear.
It is somewhere I go to even if I don’t have the budget to buy something from it, due to its unwavering atmosphere which is full of unshared memories in the form of clothes.
Sobeys offers a chance for all fashion lovers and people who, like me, enjoy putting effort into their clothing to expand their style and look beyond the normal space of styling and fashion. Sobeys offers vintage, it offers nostalgia, it offers a new undiscovered piece of you, for you.
Visit Sobeys, Visit You.