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Aphrodite celebrates 25 years of Sunderland love affair

A North East clothes store named after the goddess of love has shown it’s got plenty of heart, after celebrating 25 years in business.

Aphrodite at Vine Place was set up in 1994 by brothers Andrew and Duncan McKenzie, who saw a gap in the market for a shop offering designer menswear.

Over the years the business has expanded its operation – firstly to an upper level and then into surrounding buildings, along with running a thriving online operation from offices at nearby Derwent Street.

Now, with more than 35 staff, Aphrodite continues to grow, attracting shoppers from across the North East and as far away as Cumbria, with an international clientele for online shopping.

“We have customers literally around the world,” said Duncan.

“Virtually any country you can think of we will have had people buy clothes from us.”

The store sells items from more than 70 of the globe’s biggest and most prestigious clothing brands, including Balmain, Kenzo, Moncler, Paul Smith, Stone Island and Polo Ralph Lauren.

“It’s because of the reputation that we’ve built up that we are able to work with some of these brands,” said Duncan.

“Some of them are very selective about who they will allow to stock their clothes, so we are delighted that we are able to work with them.”

Sharon Appleby, head of business operations at Sunderland BID said it was a huge coup for Aphrodite to reach its silver anniversary.                                               

“Aphrodite is a fantastic ambassador for the city,” she said.

“The fact that not only does the shop have an incredible online presence but is also bringing in shoppers to Sunderland is good news not just for the business but for the city centre as a whole.

“They are a great example of a local business absolutely at the top of their game.”

As part of its anniversary, Aphrodite has collaborated with three of its long-standing partners, to create three limited edition pieces.

These include a jacket by London-based designer, Oliver Spencer, bespoke t-shirt, jeans and tote bag from Nudie Jeans and a revamped working of the classic Grenson M.I.E Sneaker.

Kate Shaw
Article by Kate Shaw
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