New ‘Black Box’ Retail Concept Launches at Trinity Leeds
Trinity Leeds has officially unveiled its pioneering new shopping experience Black Box, offering a platform for local artists and fashion students as well as big-name London fashion retailers.
Black Box – branded as BLK BX – is the first retail concept of its kind in the UK and aims to bring both the established retail and independent scenes together.
The new concept from Trinity Leeds owner Landsec has been created by fashion industry authority Darren Rudland, with the first new arrivals including fashion retailer Trapstar London; artwork from Leeds-born artist Daniel Syrett’s Runway Gallery; creations from Leeds Arts University graduate Mikkel Ullah; and the ’Keepers of Lost Clothes’ project by fashion students at Leeds Beckett University, who create unique garments using recycled clothing.
The permanent retail space launched at Trinity Leeds last week, with a special performance from emerging artist Jodie Abacus, interactive live clothes painting by Mikkel and DJ performances. BLK BX will have a rotating line-up of brands, designers, artists, and musicians, with a constantly-changing concept showcasing the best up-and-coming independent and online fashion retailers, giving them the opportunity to experiment with their first physical store.
BLK BX will curate and refresh the space during each changeover, tailoring each area to reflect the concept and ethos of the brands involved.
Rob Jewell, Business Development Director at Landsec, said: “Trinity Leeds is the perfect location for such a pioneering project. The city has become synonymous with shopping and has steeply risen up the retail rankings since the launch of Trinity Leeds, and we hope this will help build on that reputation even further.
“We’ve seen a real desire from high-quality online and fledging brands to have access to a physical space, but we’ve also seen a reluctance to commit to a traditional, long lease at such an early stage in their business. Historically, taking a lease has required some serious red tape navigation, and an intricate knowledge of property law, insurance obligations, and marketing and branding. This model allows the brands to concentrate fully on their retail offer, while BLK BX manages the administrative aspect of the lease.
“BLK BX enables brands to easily access new customers, showcase their products and build a relationship with consumers outside of a screen. As landlords, we’re able to secure fantastic, crowd-pleasing retailers who offer a point of difference to more mainstream brands.
“Significantly, Landsec will now be able to react to consumer trends in almost real-time. The transition from brand to brand will happen overnight.”
Retail expert Catherine Shuttleworth, CEO at Leeds-based Savvy, said: “This initiative from Landsec is a positive way of encouraging emerging retailers to test their market and engage with customers on a face-to-face basis.
“Consumers are looking for exciting and new products but the cost of entry into a shopping centre in a top 10 UK retail destination is usually out of most new businesses’ reach. It’s these kind of innovative schemes that the UK high street needs to be creating and it’s great to see that Leeds is a test bed for this scheme.”
As part of the concept, BLK BX have commissioned brand new works by international street artists including Italian muralist Raul, UK-based D7606 and French painter Florence Blanchard as well as local artists including Nicolas Dixon and Peachzz, which have been painted and pasted directly onto Trinity Leeds’ walls.
Darren Rudland, founder of BLK BX, said: “BLK BX enables Landsec to offer bricks-and-mortar retail spaces which work in a streamlined, frictionless way, making the transition from online to offline far easier for smaller labels.”
BLK BX will also provide a community outreach programme to aspiring retailers and designers, and will offer fledgling brands the chance to be mentored by industry experts.