We’re delighted to reveal that a Derby-based duo have won the opportunity to expand their unique clothing business, 1NE., and open a store at Derbion, thanks to our ‘Hatch’ initiative.

Designed to offer local businesses the opportunity to take their brand to the next level, our ‘Hatch’ scheme provides small businesses with the chance to open a retail space within the centre for six weeks, completely rent free.

Following a competitive pitch process, we’re thrilled to announce that local fashion-forward retailer, 1NE., has won this year. We sat down with Dan Bennett and Alex Mcleod, managing directors of 1NE., to learn more about their journey, as well as discover what shoppers can expect from the new store.

Where did the idea for 1NE. come from?

DAN: Alex and I actually went to secondary school together and although we were a couple of years apart at school, we became really close and good friends. I started collecting trainers from around the age of 15, and at the same time Alex was collecting and selling vintage clothes on social shopping apps such as Depop.

ALEX: Long story short, both of our interests in collecting authentic and pre-loved fashion pieces led us to our setting ourselves a goal: opening a store locally that would provide us with the opportunity to offer a curated shopping experience and give deadstock and preloved items a second lease of life.

Have you always been interested in fashion/clothing?

DAN: Definitely. For as long as we can remember we’ve both been really into fashion and keeping on top of the latest trends. I also worked in a trainer store from the age of 16, so this certainly fuelled my passion!

ALEX: 1NE. originally started as more of a hobby and at the very beginning of our journey, we were collecting and selling fashion items because it genuinely interested us both and made us happy. So for us to be doing this as a full-time job today is a dream come true.

What do you believe makes your business unique?

ALEX: 1NE. offers a wide collection of authentic, pre-loved and deadstock pieces, including footwear, collectables and accessories, alongside personalised soft furnishings including rugs. We aim to inspire and help shoppers build a sustainable and desirable wardrobe, and it’s really exciting to offer this to customers in Derby and beyond.

DAN: We also curate stock from private collections, rare store finds and vintage pieces, and our in-store selection of products is ever-changing and ever-growing, which ensures that there’s plenty of exclusive and sought-after pieces for customers to shop and discover. The idea for 1NE. was sparked from a mutual love of cool clothing and trainers, and generally the enjoyment of the community-based feel that goes along with the two.

What made you want to apply for Derbion’s Hatch initiative?

ALEX: In December 2020, we seized the opportunity to sell trainers and retro clothing in a small space above a hairdresser, which we quickly outgrew and within six months upsized to our Saddler Gate location. From there, our desire to continue growing and expanding particularly in shopping centres was born, and the Hatch competition provided us with a big step towards this goal!

DAN: We knew that winning the competition would be an amazing opportunity for us to further grow our brand and introduce a variety of new people to what we do, so we’re thrilled to have won and we can’t wait to bring something different into the centre and introduce people to a new style of retail.

What is your ultimate goal for 1NE.?

DAN: We’re hugely ambitious and passionate about 1NE., our customers and fashion, and we’d love to continue growing across the country. Both Alex and I are Derby boys, so to be opening our second store in our home city is hugely exciting.

ALEX: Our customers and the local community are the main reason we exist, so they are always at the forefront of what we do and why we do it. Some of our shoppers travel from all over the country to visit us, so over the next few years we’d love to be able to branch out across key cities in the UK so we can meet new customers and engage with as many local communities as possible.

How has the experience of preparing your store at Derbion been so far?

DAN: We’re just about to begin the process of the store fit-out and start all of the behind-the-scenes work, which is extremely exciting.

ALEX: We have a vision for the look and feel of the store already, so we’re really looking forward to bringing this to life!

What can shoppers expect when they visit your new store at Derbion?

ALEX: The best thing about the store will be the local feeling. We source all of our stock from local resellers and people from the community and bring it all under one roof.

DAN: The store will also offer an in-store trainer cleaning service that encourages customers to give their existing collection another lease of life before buying a new pair, which alongside our ever-changing and ever-growing product collection and a t-shirt printing service in-store, we truly believe will bring a unique shopping experience to Derbion.

1NE. is set to open its doors at Derbion later this year.