Style: A tale of two cities

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The coolest city for young people in the UK? It has to be Glasgow. That was the claim by the magazine for the homeless, the Big Issue. And while groovy Glaswegians celebrated what they already knew, there was gloom in bleak and windy Cardiff which came bottom in the survey. We carried out our own research just to see what the locals really thought of the fashion and culture on offer. Their views? Well, says Melanie Rickey, they sum it all up, really.

It isn't that Cardiff is necessarily a bad place, there just isn't enough for people to do. Locals routinely grumble about the lack of stimulating nightlife, good places to shop for fashion and a street vibe devoid of any culture. In Glasgow there are none of these complaints; if anything there is so much going on, it is hard to choose where to start.

One Cardiff man, when asked what was uncool about his city, simply answered, rather routinely, "It's a dump". But another, John Rostron, who moved to the city to study from his home town near Birmingham, loved Cardiff so much he stayed on, and now runs two successful club nights. He believes Cardiff could be on the up, if only people would stop expecting everything on a plate. "There's loads of opportunities for entrepreneurs to start club nights, open shops and create a vibe," he points out, "and I think people are finally realising it's up to them to make something happen."

Glasgow, on the other hand, is enjoying the fruits of an entrepreneurial surge which has been taking place since the Eighties. The city is the cultural centre of Scotland despite Edinburgh's status as capital. The National Orchestra is based there as is the ballet and opera. What's more, Glasgow is intimate, architecturally attractive and the good clubs, pubs and shops are all concentrated in the West End area of the city making it easy to congregate with like-minded people, who don't let the famously grey and dreary weather get them down. Princes Square, the main area for shopping, has gorgeous fashion shops for everyone with an interest in looking good. There are plenty (but not too many) clothing shops which sell high fashion, such as Prada and Armani, as well as the usual selection on the high street, and second-hand bargains; what's more, it is unlikely you will see one brand or type of clothing sold in several shops, as is the complaint in Cardiff.

Glasgow photography and interviews by Stuart Conway; Cardiff photography and interviews by Huw Evans

CARDIFF: Mo Shah, 19, law student at Cardiff University, wears yellow jacket, baseball cap and trainers by Nike, shirt by Levi's and jeans by Moto. Coolest thing about Cardiff? "Student life." Uncoolest thing? "The violence." He spends pounds 200 a month on clothes and his favourite shop is Nike.

GLASGOW: Ewan McGilvrey, 25, assistant retail manager, wears Cerruti suit, black shirt from Reiss, shoes from Natural Shoe Store. Coolest thing about Glasgow? "The new bars and restaurants springing up." Uncoolest thing? "The streets need cleaning." Spends pounds 400 a month on clothes and favourite shop is Cruise.

CARDIFF

Natalie Brown (left), 23, inquiries agent, wears floral skirt with white cardigan both from Warehouse and denim jacket by Levi's. Coolest thing? "The Cardiff Bay Development." Uncoolest thing? "The awful theme pubs." She spends pounds 300-pounds 400 a month on clothes and her favourite shop is Kookai.

Helen Draine (far left, top), 32, team leader, wears blue trouser suit and jumper from Dorothy Perkins. Coolest thing? "It's a friendly city." Uncoolest thing? "The night-life leaves a lot to be desired." She spends pounds 100 a month on clothes, and her favourite shop is Oasis.

Sachin Patel (far left, bottom), 19, economics student, wears a Kappa jacket, a Nike sports top, Soneti jeans and Nike trainers. Cardiff is cool because of "the shopping precincts", and uncool because of "racism". He spends pounds 200 a month on clothes and his favourite shop is the Gap.

Rebecca Taylor (left), 21, customer services rep, wears suede jacket and black trousers from a mail order catalogue, leather bag from M&S. Coolest thing? "My friends." Uncoolest thing? "There are no decent shops." She spends pounds 200 a month on clothes and her favourite shop is Howells.

GLASGOW

Elizabeth Clark (top), 25, radio producer, wears jacket by Converse, stretch denim jeans from Morgan, boots from Jones and top from Marks & Spencer. Coolest thing? "The art scene and Celtic Football Club." Uncoolest thing? "The weather and Rangers Football Club." Spends pounds 300 a month on clothes and favourite shop is Morgan.

Emily Payne (left), 18, student of biochemistry, wears hipster trousers from market, second-hand anorak from Virginia Galleries, Nike trainers from local sports shop, top from Top Shop. Coolest thing? "Nightlife and shopping." Uncoolest thing? "The weather." Spends pounds 100 a month on clothes and favourite shop is Virginia Galleries.

Denzil Bair (above), 37, student and musician in Prodigy tribute band Prophesy, wears jacket from Catalogue Shop, shirt from Barras market, Nike hat from Burtons, boots from Slaters. Coolest thing? "Atmosphere and friendly people." Uncoolest thing? "If you meet a bad person they are really bad." Spends pounds 30 a month on clothes.

Lee Allen (top left), 24, bar manager. Jacket was a "Christmas pressie from Mummy", trousers from Jigsaw, polo neck from M&S, boots from Cable & co. Coolest thing? "Nightlife." Uncoolest thing? "Weather." Spends pounds 600 a month on clothes and favourite shop is Cruise.

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