Four big name fashion brands have been announced as the first retailers to take residence at a new shopping area under some Victorian railway arches in Hackney, another sign of the borough seeking to rival the West End as a fashion destination.
Nike, Stone Island, Joseph and MatchesFashion.com are all confirmed to be opening stores later this year in 12 recommissioned railway arches on Morning Lane.
Architects at Adjaye Associates are collaborating with the developers Manhattan Loft Corporation to craft retail spaces along with a two new multiple-storey buildings.
With some existing nearby outlets including Burberry already popular with overseas visitors, developers hope the project will transform the borough by regenerating a forgotten area and encouraging shoppers to branch out from more traditional luxury shopping destinations in the West End.
The council want to market the scheme as east London’s version of Bicester Village outlet centre in Oxfordshire, which attracts 6.3 million visitors every year.
The plans are backed by Hackney Council and the Greater London Authority, who have provided £2m of funding for the project from the authority’s post-riot regeneration fund. A further £3.3m has been funded by Network Rail.
Jules Pipe, Mayor of Hackney strongly supports the project and its “ambition to bring vibrancy and successes to the economy of the whole area”.
In her speech given at the topping out ceremony for Hackney Walk on Tuesday, Mayor Pipe stated that the development would not be “just another high street offer”, and that it would “build on Hackney’s proud tradition as the home of creativity and cutting edge design.”
Hackney is becoming the go-to London fashion destination, reflecting its historic roots in the industry dating back hundreds of years.
The borough was the centre of London’s textile industry in the 19th century, with a huge number of clothing factories and workshops and over 15,000 workers employed in the industry by 1901.
The council and developers are keen to give opportunities to local creatives by providing design studios and commercial spaces at the hub, along with a variety jobs on offer through Hackney council.
A stitching academy will also be opened as part of the development, which will offer apprenticeships and training schemes to support and encourage start-up designers.
Pipe said: “It will be our job as a partnership to ensure that we create chances for young Hackney people to develop beyond shop floor retail into management, into design and other parts of the fashion industry.”
The development is expected to be completed later this year.