Meet fashion blogger Sophia Rosemary

Sophia Rosemary posing on grass in red dress

Sophie Rosemary is a Stockport-based fashion blogger - Credit: sophiarosemary.com

Inspiration can come from everywhere and many looking for outfit ideas turn to social media and content creators for some style tips. One who inspires many a look is Sophia Barrese, better known on Instagram as Sophia Rosemary. The Stockport local started her Instagram account back in 2013 to share her outfits and love of fashion, and quickly garnered a huge following, with over 200,000 followers who all love her vintage-inspired outfits. ‘Many moons ago, I studied fashion marketing at university because I knew I wanted to do something in the fashion industry,’ Sophia explains. ‘But at the time, I didn’t really know where my place was in the industry. I went on to fashion merchandising, which involved a lot of number crunching, and that was something I really enjoyed.’ It was when Sophia was working for Joanie Clothing that she began to blog and share her outfits.  

Sophia Rosemary

Sophia takes inspiration from the '60s and '70s - Credit: sophiarosemary.com

‘I started posting on Instagram when the platform was first starting out, just posting the fashion I loved. I posted everything from my outfits to vintage pictures that inspired me. I don’t want to discredit my hard work, but I do feel that I was in the right place at the right time,’ she says. ‘Before, you couldn’t do blogging as a career really, it just wasn’t a thing. For me, it was a way to be creative and immerse myself in fashion. It gained momentum faster than I realised. I was working full time at my job for a long time because I was in a kind of disbelief that this could be my career. I only left my job, which was something I loved, about two and half years ago. Taking the leap to go freelance was scary but I am happy I took the chance.’ 

Sophia’s style isn’t massively trend-led, and instead focuses on vintage-inspired pieces and timeless classics, with an emphasis on style from the eras of the ‘60s and ‘70s. ‘I’ve always worn a lot of vintage, I take inspiration from music style icons, movies, I love going to markets and vintage shops and finding those gems. My wardrobe is full of items I've found over the years. One of the reasons I love vintage so much is because there is so much history to them. I love that I get to give them a new life and be a part of that.’ 

Sophia Rosemary

Sophia’s aim with her new shop is to take the stress out of searching for those vintage fashion gems - Credit: sophiarosemary.com

Sophia’s love of vintage fashion led her to launch her own brand, Top of the Town Vintage, in 2019. Taking her skills as a seasoned vintage hunter, she’s found a way to make shopping pre-loved easy and accessible by sharing the incredible pieces she’s found. ‘Sometimes it’s hard because I find pieces I love and I really want to keep them!’ she laughs. ‘But knowing I’m giving them to people who will love them just as much, makes it a little bit easier.’  

What started out as an online brand is now becoming a vintage shop, located in the Underbanks of Stockport town centre, which is currently undergoing a regeneration. When asked why she chose to open up in Stockport instead of Manchester, Sophie says: ‘There’s nothing quite like home. I remember walking through the town centre, with my partner, Joe, and we came across the empty store front. As soon as I saw it, I knew it was perfect. Owning a vintage shop has always been a dream of mine, I just didn’t think it would happen as quick.’  

Top of the Town Vintage in Stockport

Top of the Town Vintage is planning to open in July - Credit: sophiarosemary.com

Having grown up with Northern Soul thanks to her mum, it was this early introduction to '60s and '70s culture that inspired her personal style. Top Of the Town Vintage was affectionately named after the Manchester nightclub Sophia's mum would frequent to dance to soul music in the 1970s. ‘My mum was a huge influence on me and she used to own Ossie Clark dresses, and then one day in 80s, she sold them to a second-hand shop. I remember when she told me, I tried to find out why she did that but it was because the fashion changed. I’ve even tried finding the shop she sold them to.’ 

Sophia’s shop will be opening on July 9, and will be stocked with a range of vintage clothing across different eras. ‘Opening the shop is going to be a learning curve for me,’ she continues. ‘Clothes from the ‘60s and ‘70s is what I source the most, it’s what I have the most knowledge of, it’s very much my style but the shop is very different to being online. It will be catering to everyone’s tastes.’ 

Sophia’s aim is to take the stress out of searching for those fashion gems, making it perfect for those who are new to the world of shopping pre-loved items. ‘I do all the hard work; I source the items, I can mend them, alter the items and create capsule collections of inspiring eras, and make it obtainable. Vintage shopping is a bit of a luxury, and I’m aware that a lot of women and men don’t have the time to go searching through the racks. That's where I come in.’  

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Sophia continues to champion sustainability and the concept of slow fashion with her finds. ‘Vintage shopping allows you to be eco-conscious and discover brands you might not know. I want the shop to be an inviting place where you can find your next favourite wardrobe item.’