Defy Ordinary

Retail Design
Sports Apparel and Footwear

Launched in 2007, FootAsylum is a leading on-trend multi-brand footwear and apparel retailer. With 70 stores across the UK and a successful online business, FootAsylum appointed Start Design to design two important new stores in its Manchester and Liverpool heartland. The appointment followed Start’s successful reinterpretation of FootAsylum’s retail experience at Westfield Stratford City and Westfield London

The flagship location on Paradise Street, Liverpool One shopping district, provided the perfect platform to reinterpret FootAsylum’s “Genius Madness” DNA and their passion for streetwear and footwear. Paradise Street is at the heart of sports fashion retail in Liverpool and the perfect location for FootAsylum. With a sales area of 8,000sq/ft over two floors, FootAsylum opened its doors on Black Friday in a space previously occupied by Sevenstore, which moved to the Baltic Triangle. The new retail design enabled the store internals to be completely reconfigured to dedicate 3500sq/ft to footwear on ground floor level. Upstairs was reconfigured to provide 4500 sq/ft of apparel across the four main product categories of Sports, Urban, Outdoor, Premium Trend and, for the first time in FootAsylum, dedicated women’s and junior apparel areas.

The new FootAsylum retail experience defies ordinary, delivering compelling product experiences to the footwear and sports fashion obsessed Liverpool consumer, in a way that is truly hyper-local.


Truly hyperlocal 

With its own unique approach to sports fashion, FootAsylum’s new stores reimagine multi brand retail as hyper-local experiences. Celebrating and embracing local diversity are central to FootAsylum’s strategy, underpinning its success during challenging times for retailers on the UK High Street.

New stores feature FootAsylum’s in-store digital experience platform. Compelling brand, franchise and latest release stories are mixed with the very best of locally relevant FootAsylum content from across its social channels. The transparent LED facade, projected in store navigation, franchise specific footwear screens and screen based mannequin plinths support vivid storytelling throughout the store, giving customers a seamless retail experience. The “Infinity Chandelier”, a circular infinity mirror ceiling and floor installation, showcases endless views of coveted footwear. At launch, this features the Nike Air Max 95 in blue and red to celebrate the success of both local football giants. 

Refined, up-weighted and value engineered – the new FootAsylum store design is the smart evolution of Start’s concept first seen at Westfield London. From its Black Friday opening on 29 November, FootAsylum Liverpool One has enjoyed stellar sales performance right the way through the festive period and on into 2020.

In creating a new retail concept, our priority was to keep the core DNA that Footasylum is known for, whilst exploring how this could be redefined to suit the rapidly evolving high street. Our intention was to improve the customer experience through digital and in-store theatre, but not be afraid to go against the norm and defy the ordinary. We kept this in the forefront of our minds throughout the entire design process. Start have been consistently professional, dedicated and innovative in their approach, which in turn has resulted in successfully delivering the new concept into a number of mega stores. Including Stratford, White City and most recently Liverpool One. Each of these stores continue to trade above expectation, they have been extremely well received by brand partners and most importantly, by the consumer.

Anthony Potts
Head of Visual Merchandising - FootAsylum