Industrial Luxe: The Sports Edit Boutique

If you've strolled by Kings Cross or made your way to Granary Square over the past couple of years, you will have noticed the Victorian architecture of Coal Drops Yard being transformed; with a handful of boutiques opening up around its impressive structure. Officially opening last Friday, CDY has been hailed as the most exciting shopping destination and we were thrilled to be a part of this, collaborating with The Sports Edit to open their first flagship boutique.

Launched in 2015, The Sports Edit has established itself as the leading retail destination for premium, stylish and high-performance sportswear.

Nick Paulson Ellis, founder of TSE, originally set out to create this first multi-brand, multi-channel activewear retailer, offering curated edits of the finest sportswear from across the globe. However, since its beginnings three years ago, the brand has become more than the supply of a premium sportswear product, it also offers an edited lifestyle. With their digital platforms supplying content directly from the T.S.E team and its ambassadors on everything from yoga advice to clean eating to sustainable sportwear, their approach to retail is a holistic one, focused on athletic empowerment.

Despite its growing capacity as a brand, one thing has never changed from the outset, their core audience. From the experienced yogi through to the casual curators of athleisure, T.S.E continually caters each individual.

As a retailer dedicated to quality, performance and careful curation, it seemed more than fitting for Coal Drops Yard to be the selected location for The Sports Edit’s flagship boutique.

Once acting as a large coal store for the capital, CDY is a mark of truly beautiful Victorian architecture and it has once again been brought to life, transformed and reinvented by Heatherwick Studios. Remarkably, the grand brick viaducts and ironwork have survived the transformation and Coal Drops Yard will continue to exist as a shopping destination different to any other; filled with an edited selection of brands and retailers whom suit the CDY criteria.

The Brief

Since their launch in 2015, TSE have been continually providing consumers with high-quality athleisure wear, alongside carefully crafted advice on all aspects of a healthy lifestyle. In 2018, they looked to enhance their retail presence with the opening of a flagship boutique, set within the beautiful Coal Drops Yard.

With vast experience in providing innovative retail solutions for sports apparel and footwear brands, D4R became the obvious choice when appointing a lead creative agency. With knowledge of the industry, as well as the leading trends affecting retailers - from wellness through to accessibility - we began to explore the brief in more detail.



The Insight

As TSE thwarts the traditions of a typical sportswear supplier and instead focuses on the careful curation of products to suit the personalised lifestyle of a consumer, we looked outside of the realms of traditional sports retail as necessary. From competitors in athleisure through to brands across the entire retail spectrum – both physical and digital platforms - whom offer unique holistic experiences, no stone was left unturned when deciphering The Sports Edit’s place within physical retail; particularly its position amongst the eclectic mix of boutiques at CDY.

We also reflected on their current consumer profiles, fully immersing ourselves in the retail principles and guidelines which would appeal to each individual whilst elevating the brand within a physical setting. The concept of wellness became a critical element as part of this strategic consideration for TSE, blurring the lines between the supply of goods with the overall concept of looking + feeling good. Fuelled by this insight, the appealing and diverse brand categories were born - from the cardio junkie to the yogi practitioner.


Throughout each step of evolution, our recommendations for the perfect consumer journey were at the forefront. The Sports Edit relies on more than the supply of athleisure wear, the brand maintains a knowledgeable ‘voice’, a philosophy and a multitude of recommendations for an empowering lifestyle. The accumulation of fine sportswear and insightful articles became a guideline for D4R and is heavily reflected in the friendly, motivational graphic communication featured in-store.

The navigation is pivotal within this new flagship, highlighting a clear point of difference between the traditional retailer and the modern evolution. Not defined solely by gender, this boutique takes personal goals as navigational guidelines. Shoppers will find their own personas through clever use of inspirational messaging. The yogi will be defined by the perfect set of flexible capri pants, whilst the cardio junkie may be enticed by a sleek display of high-performance leggings.

With each progression of the brand identity, the concept of storytelling remained ever present; developing T.S.E’s online community into ‘The Edit’, allowing customers to purchase from a product range curated by a team who live and breath the edited lifestyle.

The Result

As the appointed principle designers and contractors for this innovative project, we developed the original brief and took The Sports Edit on a holistic journey from conception through to complete production and installation. With each element curated by a skilled D4R designer and then implemented adhering to strict CDM guidelines, the flagship is a mark of strategic craftmanship.

Nick Paulson-Ellis, TSE Founder, tells us his thoughts on our colloboration:

"We were introduced to D4R through one of our brand partners, adidas, who spoke highly of them after many years working together. This counted for a lot of giving us the initial confidence, but from the first meeting with Chris it was clear that D4R understood and embraced our vision for developing The Sports Edit into the leading European activewear retailer. D4R has exceeded our expectations at every stage of the process. Chris and his partners have built a truly multi-disciplinary team with a rare blend of skills. The creative team took our initial brief and really evolved our brand for the physical retail environment, layering on textures and details through imaginative use of materials and imagery. Then what I really admire about D4R is the ability to take that creative vision and seamlessly deliver on it through the construction phase, with strong project management." 


  • Brand Identity
  • Full turnkey design
  • Research & Insight
  • Retail Design