From Building Site to London Fashion Week

We catch up with Topman’s Manchester Trafford Personal Shopper and stylist, Arron Dickinson, to chat rags to riches fashion stories and why there’s never been a better time to book in for an appointment

If you were to plot out the metaphorical rise of a fashion stylist, there’s a few key features you might naturally include in the story. Love of fashion magazines, check. Prominence on social media, check. Trademark personal style, check. Used to be a builder, ch… hang on. It’s not hard to spot the odd one out. Arron Dickinson however, Personal Shopper and stylist at Topman’s Manchester Trafford store ticks all the boxes and then some.
Arron, whose love of fashion stemmed from an obsession with Tumblr fashion blogs in his late teens was working as a builder for five years before taking the leap into the world of fashion. Swapping tiling for tailoring, a dramatic rise through the ranks has meant he’s never looked back. We caught up with him for a chat in between appointments.

essential journal: Hi Arron, can you tell us how you originally got into men’s fashion?
arron dickinson: It all started about 10 years ago when I got into Tumblr. I was on it all the time, constantly looking at menswear. I would put up an outfit every day. I stopped doing that when I started doing it in the real world, although more recently I have found myself doing it again with the rise of Instagram.

You haven’t always worked in fashion, right?
No, [laughs] I was a builder before that. I studied at college in Leeds and then become a painter and decorator (and did a bit of roofing as well.) I started looking at 
fashion magazines and before you know it, I was obsessed. I would read GQ front to back religiously.

What was the next step?
After that I got a job working on the high street, but they put me on womenswear. It was there that people began asking me for advice. I became really brutal, but I have to be honest, it has got to be right because I am a perfectionist and that comes out in my work.Once I got onto the menswear department it was like being in my own little playground. I was dressing people up all the time. Also, because I was dressed really smart, nobody else dressed like that in the area, kids would come into the shop after school to see what I was wearing.Then I handed my CV in to Topman Arndale and that was it, three months later they rang me and gave me a job.



What’re the perks of the job?
I love my job so much that it doesn’t even feel like work. It has opened up other doors too, like Instagram, clients coming to me all the time through that. That’s how a lot of people find me.It’s taken off from there. Going to London, going to fashion week. I got to meet Dylan Jones, the editor of the magazine that inspired my career. Meeting him was one of the biggest things for me, I was so shocked that I went really quiet.

Tell me a little bit about the service you provide?
It’s a free service where guys can come and get kitted out. It’s shopping at ease, sometimes guys come in and they don’t necessarily know what it is they want. When they come in, they can literally chill and I go onto the shop floor to find things they like. A lot of times they’ll walk around, see something, but think ‘I can’t wear that’. It’s what they want, but they’re not confident enough to try it, but if you create the right outfit, it instantly becomes normal for them.

Why do you think it has taken so long for Personal Shopping to be a male thing?
Social media has been a massive influence, we lead extremely visual lives now where we want to look good, the Personal Shopping service allows customers to take inspiration from social media whilst creating their own individual style.

How do you get the feel for the person? What’s the 
approach?
When they come in, I’ll see how they’re behaving. If they’re nervous, I’ll usually walk them around the shop floor, break the ice. It’s all about making people feel comfortable. You have to be a people person, cater for anyone. You have to get on with everyone and that’s the key to what we do.

Do you think there is a misconception?
Sometimes, I think people think that Topman only caters to a young, edgy guy. We have a beautiful tailoring section. You can get a really good quality suit that’s great value and lasts.

What signature pieces should I be looking out for this season?
You can’t go wrong with a nice pair of relaxed tailored trousers and a white t-shirt, not too far out of your comfort zone, but still smart. Weaved loafers too, you’ve got to get yourself a weaved loafer. They’re in all year round and they’re the perfect summer shoe. EJ