From vacant to vibrant: Start-ups get pop-up space at former New Look Oxford Street shop

·2-min read
The Collect pop-up store is launching on Oxford Street (westminster city council)
The Collect pop-up store is launching on Oxford Street (westminster city council)

A new West End store offering pop-up space to independent fashion brands will launch ahead of Christmas inside a former New Look branch on Oxford Street.

The site at 500 Oxford Street has been vacant for more than a year. But soon 1000 square feet on the ground floor will be temporarily used for an art installation and 5000 square feet on the first floor will be shared by small retailers, many with a focus on sustainability, until January 2022.

The launch of the store, called ‘The Collect’, is aimed at supporting entrepreneurs, diversifying the retail offer in the area, and attracting more shoppers to the West End.

Central London footfall plunged during the pandemic, as travel restrictions kept many office workers and tourists away, although numbers have improved recently.

Since the start of the year Topshop and Debenhams are among the chains to have disappeared from Oxford Street.

The Collect is set to open on November 26 and welcome customers until January 24.

At the store entrance there will be an art installation by artist Carson Parkin-Fairley. Businesses on the first floor include: Bleaq, which represents a group of independent designers that make clothes and jewellery; vintage clothes seller Archive Six; fashion firm Lone Design Club.

Other etailers showcasing goods include Never Fade Factory, Loop Generation, Rebel Blends, Lana Hughes and Lofte.

The landlord has provided the space to Westminster City council on an interim basis, with property agent James Andrew International representing the building’s owner. Business lobby group New West End Company has also been involved in the project.

Councillor Matthew Green, cabinet member for business, licensing and planning at Westminster City council, said: “We’re determined to do all that we can to bring the buzz back to the West End this Christmas. The latest visitor numbers are encouraging but this is a make-or-break festive season for many businesses.”

He added: “The pressures of Covid and online shopping have changed high streets forever and we know that more must be done to support the ongoing revival of the area.”

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