Perri Isa has run the vintage and streetwear clothing store BEST in Leeds city centre for over a decade. Following in his father’s footsteps and alongside his brother Erin, this independent business is moving through generations of family and appealing to generations of fashionistas. Perri reveals the passion and people behind this proudly local brand that sources and reworks specialist and stylish clothing from across the world.
We’ve run BEST in Leeds independently now for 17 years. My dad initially started the business as a vintage shop – I came on board in 2009/10 so I am pretty vintage myself! What we really have a passion for is having a proper independent shop in the city where people can come in, see us and find the brands they’re wanting.
The shop is still vintage clothing, but has evolved to source brands from all over the world and also rework some items to stay on trend. What we like to do is fuse it with streetwear, which is very popular with the younger generation.
One of my passions is sourcing clothes that are both unique and sought after and then bringing them to the masses. We specialise in specific eras – a lot of designer stuff is from the nineties, brands like Prada and YSL. We get brands in like Stussy which started in 1980 and we source specialist Stone Island pieces made in Italy. I always wear our clothing too to represent the shop and bring it to life – what I’ve got on today is a vintage Burberry shirt which is made in England – there is a lot of clothing here made in the UK which many customers appreciate.
The quality of clothing that’s 20, 30, 40 years old holds up amazingly – I can show you a jumper from 1990 and it still looks brand new, or vintage football shirts that date back to 1980. There are not many stores in Leeds that stock what we do now.
One of the biggest things we try and do is get feedback, listen to our customers and deliver what brands and trends they’re wanting. We try to be as on trend as possible and work with Beth, who is our head on-site seamstress, to rework items. This building is beautiful and dates back to the 19th century – upstairs, the floor above the shop, is where the magic happens!
It could be that Beth has an idea or Erin and I come to her – we work very closely together and have all these different mood boards for inspiration. For example, this jogger short with a loophole on that you’d find on Carhartt – what I’ve done is used a loophole off a genuine Burberry nova check shirt and attached it on a nice pair of shorts. We get a lot of cut off scraps of Burberry – you could either throw that scrap away or you can make it into something new.
We like to give people an insight to what we do here. Obviously social media is massive, and on there we’ll show videos with Beth making the reworked clothing so people can see from scratch how we’ve actually done it. It creates a partnership with the audience, encourages people to share, makes it social, and gets them involved with the brand.
BEST is still a family run business. The shop is about having a good hub where people can come and me and Erin give them the best of the brands they’re wanting. My dad now runs Shush Furniture in Leeds with the similar idea to here, on-trend vintage but with furniture, which is his main passion.
As well as our online shop, I like to have this Leeds base as our main flagship store. There has been a rejuvenation for some people to shop on the high street again which I think is majorly important. It’s hard to replicate what we’ve got here, that personal experience created by us being there every day, which we’re all very proud of.
Images by: Raianne Roche