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Indie influx ups style quota on Carnaby St

A host of independents are set to open in London’s Carnaby Street area this month, following the launch of US-branded independent LA Sugar last Friday.
Fashion retailers due to open in the area in the run-up to Christmas include UK tailor Mark Powell, T-shirt and hoodie specialist Super Superficial and quirky fashion label Year Zero.

LA Sugar, which sells cult US labels, opened a 305sq ft store on Newburgh Street, just off Carnaby Street. The retailer offers a range of designer brands such as Bilingual, Gypsy 05, NU Collective and Fluet, which are popular with US celebrities.

“We chose Newburgh Street because it is known for its cutting-edge stores,” said co-owner and buyer Ravi Lalwani.

The spate of openings follows landlords’ plans to increase levels of fashionability in the area and make the local trade less reliant on tourists.
Menswear independent Albam has also opened two weeks ago its first store on nearby Beak Street ahead of a small-scale roll-out of the concept over the next three to four years. The store will sell its own-label designs. Co-owner Alastair Rae said: “The Carnaby estate provides the right setting for Albam, with a number of stores that complement what we are doing. It also offers a unique shopping destination with its mix of brands.”

Nicholas Geller, co-owner of William & George, said: “Carnaby Street has been a focal point for British fashion since the 1960s, and its regeneration, as well as the birth of Kingly Court, attracted us. Young, independent UK designers and retailers are reclaiming Carnaby Street and its neighbouring alleys and promoting the unique style it was associated with.”

Simon Quayle, director at property investment firm Shaftesbury, which handles lettings in Carnaby Street, said it was important to bring a mix of established brands and indies to the area.

“Certainly in the smaller units we are definitely targeting independets,” he said. “The smaller streets off Carnaby Street have 50% lower rents.”

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