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Shadestation Trades Up In Victoria Quarter

Confidential checks out the new sunglasses store

Written by . Published on September 27th 2011.


Shadestation Trades Up In Victoria Quarter

SHADESTATION has been a fixture in the Victorian Quarter for a decade selling designer shades and watches to the city’s fashionistas.

The UK’s biggest independent sunglasses and watch retailer has now moved to a swish new corner unit in the VQ to expand their operation.

But as we sipped our bubbly at their opening party Confidential couldn’t help wondering if co-owners David Allen and Jocelyn Anders were taking a risk in the current climate.

"Getting this together has been a labour of love, blood, sweat and tears.”

“You could say it was a risk but we’re selling highly desirable brands which even in the present climate people still want so we’re not sweating,” David told Confidential .

“We’re a well established business and this is just case of scaling up.  Obviously we have a big web operation and we couldn’t showcase the brands we have in stock in the small store.

“We’ve got 300 pairs of Ray Bans on display and 300 pairs of Oakley so I challenge you to find anywhere else in the UK with that depth of stock.”

It is certainly a treasure trove of shades arranged in stylish glass cabinets ranging from the high end Tom Fords to the more affordable, sporty Oakleys.  It’s really easy to go over the top with a new store, but the simple blend of their corporate red and exposed boards really set off the high end products.

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Jocelyn has secured some computer technology from shades giants Oakley which is one of only the two on the world - and a UK first - so she was keen to show us their new toy aimed to the trendy Xtreme sports fan.

“This is the Oakley Custom Project which means you can come into our store and build your own Oakleys,” says Jocelyn, busily designing a pair of shades unique to me.

“You can see your glasses being made on the screen in front of you. You can choose your lens, ear sets, frame and watch it being built on the screen in front of you. It’s fabulous.”

Shadestation also specialise in watches, with entry level items from Goi Goi through to the luxurious Michael Kors range for the serious timepiece fan. Shadestation has also expanded its jewellery and handbag collections.

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So who are going to come to Shadestation and splash out a few quid on a cool pair of shades or a designer watch?

“A whole mix across the spectrum.  We’ve got the high end ladies who will buy the Chanels and the Tom Fords, we’ve got students who will buy the Ray Bans and we’ve got the cyclists who will buy the Oakleys,” says Jocelyn.

“You can get a great watch for £29 right up to Marc by Marc Jacobs which are slightly more expensive. Getting this together has been a labour of love, blood, sweat and tears.”

That’s clear wandering around the two floors packed with product, but the only drawback customers might find is too many choices which for a retailer is no bad thing.

Shadestation is at 42 County Arcade, Victoria Quarter, Leeds.

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