Queen of fashion has designs on Newcastle

Fashion icon Vivienne Westwood is to open a store on Tyneside before the end of the year as part of a limited roll out of the brand name across the North.

Fashion icon Vivienne Westwood is to open a store on Tyneside before the end of the year as part of a limited roll out of the brand name across the North.

The British designer, credited with starting punk and new wave fashion in the 1970s from London's Kings Road, operates 11 stores and concessions in the UK.

A franchisee of the designer's label, which is sold around the world and whose devotees include Mick Jagger, Jerry Hall and Gwen Stefani is understood to be looking for a store in Newcastle city centre.

While it has yet to agree terms on a store, the franchisee, Hervia, is confident trading from a 1,500 sq ft store will start in time for Christmas.

A spokeswoman said: "We are looking at Newcastle for the end of this year and opening a couple more sites next year in Manchester, Liverpool and the Trafford Centre."

She said more details about the Newcastle store would be revealed in the next two weeks. A property agent in the city said a Manchester agent acting on behalf of the franchisee had identified a site but a lease had yet to be signed.

He said: "They have identified something but nothing has been contracted yet. I would expect a lease to be signed in the next three months."

Local property agents said the most likely location for a store would be Grainger Street, which has several units available following the departure of fashion retailer Kookai.

Newcastle's main shopping parade - Northumberland Street - which saw the departure of fashion retailer Zara earlier this year is thought to be both too expensive and high profile for Vivienne Westwood, which is said to prefer "off the beaten track" locations.

Journalists

David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer