Here’s everything you need to know about Port Independent, Sunderland’s only independent clothing shop, coffee shop and craft beer shop all in one! 

Port Independent Sunderland

Tucked away on St.Thomas’ Street, Port Independent has been a fixture for the fashion conscious folk of Sunderland for around seven years now.

But throughout the years it has evolved to become much more than just a clothing store, expanding to feature an in-house coffee shop, craft beer shop and range of lifestyle goods. We caught up with director Gerard Purvis to find out more about his unique retail space and unwavering dedication to all things independent…

Adored with wooden fixtures, exposed brick and rails crafted out of old pipes, Port Independent has that air of effortless cool about it. Vintage clothes, craft beer and coffee? I know what you’re thinking, it sounds all a bit hipster and pompous. But, honestly the vibe of the place is the complete opposite! Like I said, it’s effortlessly cool without any try hard pomposity.

To put things in perspective, when I walk into somewhere like END. in Newcastle I feel more out of place than a goth at a rave. It’s intimidating as anything for someone like me who prefers to buy his outfits from the British Heart Foundation (don’t worry, I get my underwear elsewhere).


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On the other hand, walking into Port Independent on a dreary grey day feels like a warm hug from me mam. Port Independent make an exponentially better coffee than me mam, I must admit. One the people responsible for this hub for all things independent, from coffee to coats, is director Gerard Purvis. 

“Port has been going for about seven years, I took over running the store about three years ago,” explained Gerard.

“It was just menswear at first; a bit of vintage and our own brands. So, we’ve kind of built on that over the last three years. 

“We stock craft beer now, that’s Bierhaus and then we’ve got our Coffeehaus Coffee shop, both in-store. Then just recently we’ve brought lifestyle items in the shop too.”

Despite having such an array of different things in their shop, and the little coffee shop section and beer fridge, it all sort of works. The walls are decorated with the independent art that you can buy from their lifestyle selection, as well as some nostalgia-inducing pop-culture bits and bobs. The skateboard featuring wrestlers Matt and Jeff Hardy was my personal favourite bit of decor. 


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The thread that sews Port’s seemingly mismatched offering of goods and scran together is the fact that virtually everything in the shop is from an independent creator. As the name of the shop suggests, they stock cool gear from all sorts of creatives, both local and national. 

“We’ve always been about supporting local creatives and local businesses,” said Gerard. 

“I really want to give them a place to thrive, a pop-up sort of environment where you can always come in and expect to see new and interesting pieces.

“There’s always been an appetite for interesting and different product. Like Sunderland people will support Sunderland brands as well. People are really big on buying local. If they know it’s from Sunderland, the impetus to buy is crazy.

“In terms of sourcing the lifestyle pieces, some of it is literally from the regulars we get in Coffeehaus. The jewellery is me mam! Some of the other stuff isn’t necessarily local brands, but they’re still small traders who I’ve managed to find through wholesale or direct messaging over Instagram and stuff. 

“Just about everything is small scale producers. Like I say, it’s a huge part of our ethos and everything we do. I feel like we don’t have anywhere else in Sunderland doing that sort of thing.”


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It’s the ‘shop small’ ethos, alongside their super welcoming atmosphere and banging coffee that’s really made Port such a hit with locals. 

Since opening their Coffeehaus they’ve built a community around the shop that’s just as passionate about good coffee as they are about independent fashion.

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“We started the building work during lockdown, then when you were first allowed to start going back out we were takeout only,” continued Gerard. 

“It was only the middle of last year that we actually started to offer sit-in service and it’s been so great to see the support. We get people that come in twice a day every day.

“It’s a fantastic feeling to see our regulars and you make friends basically. The support is just unreal really!”


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Port Independent truly is one of the most unique shops you’ll find in the city. They proudly push independent brands and creatives as well as their own in-house brands that offer top quality fashion at affordable prices. 

As far as I’m concerned our city would benefit from more shops that share Port’s ethos. Supporting small brands and independent creators whilst serving up lush coffee and wicked craft beer all at prices that won’t break the bank. Port is a must visit when you’re having a stroll through town!

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