Where is it?

35 King Street, Manchester, M2 7AT



 Jack Wills began life in 1999 in Salcombe, Devon. Inspired by British heritage, the folk at Jack Wills design for the university crowd, or as they put it, 'epitomising what it is to be young and fabulously British.'

Of course, what they actually mean is, 'Jack Wills – epitomising what it is like to be the polo-playing, publicly educated, pompous product of a wealthy, right-wing stately home.'

“A men’s Oxbridge Rugby will set you back £69, and the Bayswell mushroom chino’s to match will cost you £79”

The front of the shop looks like a Chelsea town house, and the interior is dressed in much the same fashion. It wouldn’t look so bad if it wasn’t all so in-your-face. Champagne bottles cover the fireplace, and the pool table acts as a pedestal for a seductively positioned mannequin.

Around the back though, things are a little different. It’s all glass instead of red brick, and instead of wooden floors you get painted concrete. You’d be forgiven for confusing the rear entrance for some kind of urban hipster store.

Jack Wills Manchester

Jack Wills Manchester

What do they sell?

Picture Prince Harry on one of his casualwear PR stunts – playing touch rugby with some disadvantaged children at a local community centre. That’s what they sell. It’s all chinos, rugby shirts and sweats for the boys.

For the girls, the range is populated with flower-patterned dresses, pastel boyfriend shirts and hooded gilets.

The prices aren’t too steep considering the bourgeoisie target market. It’s no Primark, obviously, but it’s perfectly reasonable.

A men’s Oxbridge Rugby will set you back £69, and the Bayswell mushroom chinos to match will cost you £79.

For the girls, an Ennerdale Navy striped dresses at £49 are the cheapest in the range, but even the most expensive flower-print numbers only rise to around £89.

Seductively positioned mannequin at Jack Wills ManchesterSeductively positioned mannequin at Jack Wills Manchester

Who shops there?

Weekends must be a nightmare for security, having to deal with the constant clash of bobble-hatted Northern Quarter types wandering in from the rear and bumping into the chino draped numpties waving daddy’s credit card from the front.

When I wandered in on a Wednesday lunchtime though, the only shoppers were what looked like two brothers, one around 18-years-old, the other slightly younger…browsing the shirts with their mother.

The staff are a similar story. The helpful chap I spoke to was wearing pink tailored shorts and slip on pumps. It’s March mate, you’re not in Devon anymore.

Why go there?

Jack Wills Canvas Rucksack, £39Jack Wills Canvas Rucksack, £39They do a rather nice Edwington Rucksack, and at £39 it’s cheaper than it’s Eastpak and Jansport rivals.

If you’re a student at Oxford or Cambridge and want to get involved in some varsity polo, JW organises matches.

They’re currently running a competition to win your ‘dream summer job’ in the form of a six-week paid internship working and partying in the JW house in Salcombe.

There’s also a seating zone in the store that acts as a meeting place with free Wi-Fi, although I doubt the pool table is ever cleared to make it match ready.

There’s also a seating zone in the store that acts as a meeting place with free Wi-FiThere’s also a seating zone in the store that acts as a meeting place with free Wi-Fi


With over 60 stores across the UK, Ireland, China and America, Jack Wills stores open up and proudly plant the Union Jack anywhere there is an ivy league campus or similar.


Public school graduates tend to take one of two routes:

There are those who decide to go to university somewhere like Leeds, living their lives to the lyrics of 'Common People' by Pulp, whining about being skint whilst driving a Mini Cooper and talking on their BlackBerry, because they think that "poor is cool."

The other type conversely embraces their status as a toff. They go to university somewhere like Edinburgh. They love rugby, Britain and aren’t ashamed to admit they know what quails eggs taste like.

Jack Wills is for the latter. How 'fabulously British.'

You can follow David on Twitter @DavidPMcCourt