The founders of Footasylum and JD Sports, David Makin and John Wardle, have launched a new premium men’s footwear and clothing fascia in Liverpool.
The 1,090 sq ft store, located in the Liverpool One shopping centre at 6 Paradise Street, is called 7Liverpool and stocks premium brands, including the top lines from Adidas Originals, Nike, Kenzo, Android Homme, McQueen, Vivienne Westwood and Mason Garment.
The store, which opened on 5 November, will stock mostly footwear for the first 12 to 18 months, at which point more clothing brands will be added.
The concept will be rolled out to further cities in the UK, and each store will be named after its location. The founders are also eyeing selected international sites, such as Paris and New York. The aim is to have seven stores in total.
The launch has been led by Footasylum’s trading director Chris Rowan and buying director Jack Spellacy, both of whom have simultaneously taken on the same roles at 7Liverpool.
Spellacy said the concept was born out of a demand for premium sportswear in the city: “There aren’t many people doing it here. Liverpool is an influential city for fashion, and sports fashion in particular, but there isn’t an outlet satisfying the demand, as there isn’t a Selfridges or Harvey Nichols.
“Footasylum is a commercial venture with lots of stores, but we wanted to do a higher-end retail concept like Sneakerboy in Australia. There’s a lack of excitement and energy here in Europe, there’s no standout digital features or in-store theatre.”
7Liverpool will feature digital screens, wireless payments and iPads throughout. Shoppers will be able to sign up for exclusive pre-sales through the iPads. Spellacy said the digital aspects of the shop will develop over time.
Wardle and Makin founded JD Sports in 1981. In 2005, they sold their remaining 45% stake of the retailer to Pentland Group. That same year, they set up Footasylum, which they still own, and now has more than 50 stores in the UK.