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intu Lakeside to launch Fashion House, the UK's first dedicated store for online brands

Tom Bottomley
02 March 2020

intu Lakeside shopping centre is set to launch the first UK store dedicated entirely to fast-growing online fashion labels, called Fashion House, in June 2020.

The new 8,500 sq ft store will bring together nine digital brands, and will host catwalk shows and new retail technology - including a selfie-mirror that will encourage social media sharing, a DJ booth and a VIP personal stylist service.

intu will manage and operate the store, including staffing, store fit out and experiential elements, providing a space that will enable new entrants to physical retail to succeed.

Brands including Whyte Studio, Alice’s Lips and Gina Bacconi have already signed-up for the store, and intu is in negotiations with other on-trend fashion brands that want to make their first moves from digital to bricks-and-mortar.

Shopping centre owner intu has also introduced a new flexible lease that will allow it to offer opportunities to more emerging online brands when space becomes available. Fashion House brands will not only benefit from a rental structure that supports this transition but also from the experience and exposure intu has to promote their brands.

Rebecca Ryman, customer performance director at intu, said: “This is a great and unique way for disruptive fashion brands to expand into bricks-and-mortar at minimal risk whilst also delivering key elements of our strategy to sharpen our focus on our customers and transform our centres. intu gets to showcase new brands with strong social media followings and brand ambassadors, bringing more of the next generation of fashion-conscious shoppers to intu Lakeside.

“We will help these brands to curate their trading areas, while also creating an amazing experience for visitors, bringing a little bit of magic into physical retail. This will include impromptu DJ sets, fashion shows and new technology that will let our visitors tap into their social networks as part of their retail experience.”

Whyte Studio founder and creative director Bianca Whyte, an international house DJ known as DJ B Whyte and ex-champion Australian motocross rider, commented: “Whyte Studio is all about a modern approach to style and design. We found the perfect fit with the innovative concept from Fashion House curated by intu, to present our designs and connect with shoppers in an interactive and curated space, alongside the best of emerging British fashion.”

All brands that partner with intu on Fashion House will also benefit from exposure through its affiliate website and through its cashback app intu Pocket.

The Fashion House news comes as shopping centre owner intu has created a new team and series of senior roles to transform how it will work with retail and leisure brands and boost their performance at its portfolio of popular destinations.

House of Fraser’s former retail operations director, Sally Haskayne, has been appointed as head of fashion partnerships within intu’s new customer performance directorate - formed as part of intu’s five-year strategy to drive the performance of its rent-paying customers and attract more online brands to its centres by working in closer partnership and sharing data and insight.

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