Style Lab – we look at the new menswear store from the owner of Psyche

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The owner of award winning department store Psyche has ventured into a store catering to lovers of newer menswear fashion brands.

For more than 30 years, Psyche in the heart of Middlesbrough has been one of the go-to stores for the latest fashion. Now the department store’s managing director has set-up a new store in the city names Style Lab.

Steve Cochrane, 55, is Psyche’s managing director and is the driving force behind the new shop. Establishing the Psyche brand in 1984 in Middlesbrough, the store became one of the first in the country to stock designer brands such as Gucci and Prada. Nearly 20 years later, Steve took the opportunity to buy the two-storey building where the unique department store now resides on Linthorpe Road.

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For Steve’s newest business, he has established a store backing “local designers hoping they’ll be the designers of the future”. The 4000-square-foot single storey premises in The Cleveland Centre, also features better-known brands such as Criminal Damage, Levi and Lyle & Scott.

The new menswear store sits in the space of an old Republic shop and took six weeks to renovate at the cost of £100,000. So why start-up a new store when 39 companies have been affected by the recession, totalling nearly 1,300 stores having to close in the UK within the last 12 months according to the Centre of Retail Research?

Steve has drawn inspiration from businessman and investor Warren Buffet, who predicts financial trends, and lives by the mantra of “if people are getting out a business you get in”. Making the most of disused shop space and turning it into the concept store that opened at the end of October.

The new menswear brand store has as you expect a strong masculine presence to it, with wooden floors curving up one wall, steel panels and rails to hang the next generation of fashion designers creations on, as well as wooden clad shelving housing the stores 2000 pairs of denim jeans, is a triumph of ingenious design. Steve says that this aspect is one of the many things he is proud of, “we stock every brand, style and wash imaginable. Which is one of, if not the biggest outside of London.”

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Paul McClure, Style Lab’s store manager, has moved from Psyche along with two members of the department store’s team to get the store up and running. Paul and Steve both talk of the stores concept as to being something that is “scalable and easy to roll out anywhere in the country”. Should it be triumph then moving into a similar concept for women maybe in the future for the new brand.

Lee Allinson, a spokesperson for the brand has confirmed plans for an expansion, as well as a similar store in womenswear. “We are already planning the expansion of Style Lab, and currently looking at several locations for new stores. There are big things to come and yes Style Lab will produce a womenswear section, which might be sooner then initially planned”.

So what started off as a concept is emerging into something that could be taking on the high street greats sooner then planned.

Style Lab is open now in the Cleveland Centre in Middlesbrough,

Monday – Wednesday: 9am – 5:30pm

Thursday – Saturday: 9am – 6pm

Sunday: 10:30am – 4:30pm

Over the Christmas period the Lab will be open till 8pm. 

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