Saturday, 22 January 2011

Shop review: Stinky Fish, Winchester, Hampshire. (Also, I am a ninja.)

I got asked the BEST question in the charity shop today. The conversation went:
Customer: "So... I guess black is your favourite colour?"
Me: "How'd you guess? Y'know, you're the second person who's asked me that today."
Customer: "Are you a ninja?"
Me: o.O
Me: =D

Speaking of shops, on to today's review - Stinky Fish in Winchester, Hampshire. They do have a website, but frankly it doesn't do the store justice by a long shot, showing only a teeny-tiny selection of what this family-run business has in stock, with a heavy emphasis on neon-coloured rave gear (yuck) - although it is gradually improving and may soon be worth a look.

Source: Google
However, despite the downright dubious name, the shop itself has earned a place in my current top five alt stores. It earns points for size - I do like a nice big spacious alt shop, and Stinky Fish not only has three changing rooms, but there is a whole room dedicated mostly to accessories, featuring an entire wall hung with a myriad of funky tights.

There is a huge Stargazer cosmetics counter (although, I do wish UK shops would branch out a bit; there are more alternative make-up brands than Stargazer, Manic Panic and Directions Hair Colour, y'know... I'm currently exploring the crazy and colourful worlds of Lime Crime, Medusa's Makeup, and Illamasqua), and a selection of hair products which, to my delight, includes not only accessories, hair dye and clip-in extensions in every colour imaginable, but a reasonable selection of fun Stargazer wigs.

There are several interesting things that I felt set Stinky Fish apart from some of the other alt shops in the area - one, not much head shop gear. OK, this might not be a plus for everyone, but as a girl who is very anti-illegal-substances, I prefer to browse whilst not having my personal space invaded by glazed-eyed chavs seeking out a new bong or crack pipe. Weirdly, instead of many bongs, Stinky Fish specialises in juggling equipment - well, it's definitely different!

Two, Stinky's stocks Gothy children's clothing. The Sharp Practise in Salisbury used to do a great line in T-shirts and babygrows for non-conformist brats, but they have now chosen to focus on the tattooing side of their business and no longer sell clothing. It's nice to see another shop branching out into children's clothes.

Three, this shop is craftster-friendly. Not in a huge way, but there is a reasonably good selection of both iron- and sew-on patches and a great selection of badges. I even managed to turn up an Alien Sex Fiend badge on a recent visit.

In the clothes section (another whole room) everything is neatly hand-labelled by section (e.g. men's trousers, skirts, etc.) - such dedication and attention to detail! There is no specific sale section, but a browse through the racks reveals many reduced items, and just below the counter there are three little trays filled with clearance accessories - all 50p each or three for £1!

Stinky Fish stocks many brands that I've never even heard of alongside the usual Iron Fist and Hell Bunny gear. And, thankfully, Goth is currently beating scene hands-down clothing-wise - many alt shops, such as Riverside Gifts (Salisbury), have almost phased out Goth clothing to make way for the more 'popular' emo and scene clothes. Stinky Fish does not seem to have followed suit (yet).

There is some band merch, but it's the 'traditional' selection (Misfits, Nirvana etc.). Perhaps this is one area where Stinky Fish could stand to diversify, as there are so few shops stocking 'real' Goth merch in the UK.
The couple who run the shop are both lovely - talkative, friendly and very helpful. I can't recommend Stinky Fish enough - but forget the website, stop by in person.


KatSlaughter said...

Most amusing ninja experience. I've actually had many such an encounter.. Normally it happens when people ask me why I wear so much black. I have been known to respond with "I'm a spy/nun/colour-blind," but the default is "I'm training to be a ninja."

I've used that line about six times and every - single - person thus far has believed me. Two of them don't count, because it was my little cousins and the oldest was six. But the rest were all fellow students at my university. I've actually stopped using the excuse because things fall a bit flat when you say it and nobody laughs, leaving you to awkwardly explain that you aren't ACTUALLY a ninja.

I disappoint more people that way.

sweetcyanide said...

Oooh, I was thinking of stocking lime crime - and then a friend pointed me towards this: Now I'm not so sure :-(

Have heard lots of good things about Illamasqua though, and once I get to expanding am hoping to get some in (the price range is a bit out of reach for a some people).

Nice to see there are still independant alternative stores doing well in smaller cities, I'm a bit spoilt in Manchester!


ultimategothguide said...

@ Ellie - oh my goodness, thanks for the link! Wow, that absolutely stinks... (although, I don't think that ANYthing could stop me lusting after their No She Didn't lipstick, to be fair...)

Agree about the Illamasqua price range, I'm saving up to treat myself. As a trainee make-up artist, it's obviously a professional expense ;-)

If I ever head up Manchester way, I will be sure to come by your store and blow some of my savings =)

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