J U LY 2 0 1 8 JUNE 2018
MOD E R N WELLNESS FAS H I O N
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J U LY 2 01 8 Caroline Diaco President/Group Publisher Greg Dutter Editorial Director Nancy Campbell Trevett McCandliss Creative Directors EDITORIAL Aleda Johnson Assistant Editor Emily Beckman Assistant Editor
On the cover: Sorel sawtooth sole sneakers, Nicholas K dress, jacket by NOT by Jenny Lai and Lila Rice earrings. This page, from top: Ecco jogger, Toms tennie, Bearpaw espadrille sneaker, derby sneaker by Hi-Tec.
Kathy Passero Editor at Large Kirstin Koba Contributing Editor Melodie Jeng Marcy Swingle Contributing Photographers
Photography: Trevett McCandliss; styling: Dani Morales; hair and makeup: Nevio Ragazzini/Next Artists; model: Polina P./Fenton Model Mgmt.
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F E AT U R E S
D E PA RT M E N T S
10 Hell for High Heels In the age of #MeToo and athleisure, are high heels headed toward extinction? By Aleda Johnson
20 Dad’s Other Shoe Techy, chunky sport sandals are the warm weather alternative to overbuilt sneakers—and the new utilitarian ugly. By Aleda Johnson
12 Handsfree & Hip Kizik and its retractable F.A.S.T. heel construction aim to revolutionize how shoes are made and worn. By Greg Dutter
22 Zen Palette A soothing array of soft neutrals and woven uppers cast a refreshing light on sport casuals for Spring ’19. By Aleda Johnson
4 Editor’s Note 6 This Just In 8 Scene & Heard 14 A Note to My Younger Self 16 What’s Selling 36 Upclose Kids 38 Shoe Salon 40 Last Word
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FOOTWEAR PLUS ™ (ISSN#1054-898X) The fashion magazine of the footwear industry is published monthly (except for bimonthly April/May and October/November editions) by Symphony Publishing NY, LLC, 214 W. 39th St., Suite 205., New York, NY, 10018. The publishers of this magazine do not accept responsibility for statements made by their advertisers in business competition. Periodicals postage is paid in New York, NY, and additional mailing offices. Subscription price for one year: $48.00 in the U.S. Rates oustide the U.S. are available upon request. Single copy price: $10.00. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to FOOTWEAR PLUS, P.O. Box 8548, Lowell, MA 01853-8548. Publisher not responsible for unsolicited articles or photos. Any photographs, artwork, manuscripts, editorial samples or merchandise sent for editorial consideration are sent at the sole risk of the sender. Symphony Publishing NY, LLC, will assume no responsibility for loss or damage. No portion of this issue may be reproduced without the written permission of the publisher. ©2008 by Symphony Publishing NY, LLC. Printed in the United States.
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ED ITOR’S NOTE
Labor of Love “Generations come and go, but it makes no difference. The sun rises and sets and hurries around to rise again. The wind blows south and north, here and there, twisting back and forth, getting nowhere. The rivers run into the sea but the sea is never full, and the water returns again to the rivers, and flows again to the sea. Everything is unutterably weary and tiresome. No matter how much we see, we are never satisfied; no matter how much we hear, we are not content. So I saw that there is nothing better for men than that they should be happy in their work, for that is what they are here for, and no one can bring them back to life to enjoy what will be in the future, so let them enjoy it now.” —Ecclesiastes
their previous lives. As one returnee told me, “The phones stopped ringing.” The silence was deafening. He needed to be needed again. Another said he returned because retirement was turning his “brain to mush.” Say what you want about this business, but the speed at which it changes provides a constant workout for the mind. Pat Hogan, president of newly launched Kizik and F.A.S.T. (Foot Activated Shoe Technology), is one such recent returnee. In Hogan’s case, the offer was too good to pass up. He believes the breakthrough construction (Handsfree & Hip, p. 12) has the potential to revolutionize the industry. In this business, you’re one great shoe (think Ugg Classic, Crocs Cayman, Merrell Jungle Moc) from $100 million and beyond. And once-in-a-lifetime opportunities like that are hard to pass up. In addition to riches, the potential to earn a place in footwear industry lore keeps many executives chasing the dream. My father, who was an architect, didn’t need the money anymore, either. Yet he worked seven days a week into his 80s because he genuinely loved what he did for a living. He would sit at his drafting table in his home office for hours, dreaming up homes, restaurants and office buildings—whistling while he worked (literally) to big band greats of ONE THING THAT has always struck me about the ’30s and ’40s and, in season, following Baltimore Orioles broadcasts. this business is how people stick around long As a kid, I often drifted off to sleep to the static-interrupted play-byafter they could have sailed off into the sunset plays of those games. with nest eggs the size of zeppelins. Take Nike Which brings me back to Ecclesiastes. While I would like to tell my founder Phil Knight, for example. He could mother I came across this bit of wisdom during CCD class, the truth is have cashed out years ago. He certainly didn’t I first read it on a cover of John Mellencamap’s need more money, nor album The Lonesome Jubilee in 1987. (Sorry, Mom, did he need the endless but I got most of my religion from rock prophets aggravation and stress that comes with running like Bruce, Bono and John.) I was heading into my the world’s largest shoe company—a fact he junior year of college and the “what am I going discussed in detail in his captivating memoir, to do after I graduate” fears were mounting. This Shoe Dog. Knight, a former cross-country runlittle passage helped put them into perspective: ner, soldiered on as the day-to-day point man Find something you are (at least) decent at, that for decades mainly because he genuinely loved you enjoy doing and stick with it. It will give you what he did more than he loathed any hassles direction and purpose in life. The idea has stayed that came with the job. Above all, Knight loved with me ever since. It also fit my father to a T. Or the competition, the athletes he worked alongshould I say, T-square? side, the product and, perhaps most of all, the Despite being the son of an architect, I can’t thousands of employees who became part of his draw a straight line. But I was always impressed extended family along the way. with the extras my father included in his plans. He The same can be said of nearly every footwear would spend hours adding exquisite details like Architectural rendering by Robert T. Dutter executive I have profiled over the past 20 years. While leaves and shading that brought his designs to most have far from Knight-like wealth, many are life. He was an artist, and each of his designs told a visual story. That’s financially secure enough to have packed it in long ago. But they rarely do. a thought process I can still relate to: Each story has to be structurally No amount of money seems to quell their desire for the thrill of the chase, sound and also pretty to read. There are plenty of nondescript houses, the battle for shelf supremacy and the obsession with keeping score of but there are also Fallingwaters. (My father was a disciple of Frank daily sale stats. Many claim the work keeps them young and living a life of Lloyd Wright.) The same goes for the written word. I’d like to think purpose. In fact, those who try checking out often come back. There were that’s the gift he passed on to me. R.I.P. only so many rounds of golf to play and beaches to visit before they missed
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www.gabor.de Purveyors of luxury European comfort footwear
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THIS JUST IN
Italian dressing A toss of street smart and savvy, guys get their groove on at Menâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Fashion Week in Milan. Photography by Melodie Jeng
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SCENE & HEARD
Sanuk Supports Surfrider Foundation
The Art of the Deal IN CELEBRATION OF its 133rd anniversary early this fall, Reyers Shoe Store in Sharon, PA, is partnering with Random Acts of Artists, a combine of local artists, to promote the cultural relationship between art and footwear. Reyers, dubbed the “world’s largest shoe store” at 36,000 square feet, will allocate some of its 11,000 square feet of floor space for the display of art pieces available for purchase in conjunction with its anniversary sale. Mark Jubelirer, president of Reyers, says spicing up the yearly sale with an art exhibit is a way to boost traffic as well as celebrate the fact that art and beautiful shoes have long gone hand in hand. “Historically, the relationship between art and shoes, especially high heels, has been recognized in museums, books, film, music and even on Broadway—like Kinky Boots,” he says. “Famous actresses showing off high heels or boots is the footwear culture of the moment. It’s everywhere.” Much of the artwork will be displayed on Reyers’ extensive walls, while some prized oils are showcased on easels throughout various departments. The works will be marked with the artist’s name and contact information for patrons interested in making a purchase. However, Jubelirer says none of the art will be displayed in the store’s rack room where prices run 20- to 75-percent off retail. “Everyone agrees that these fabulous local artists deserve their full markup,” he says, adding that he’s optimistic the partnership will be a win-win for both parties. For starters, Jubelirer credits the store’s new, “younger” marketing firm for helping get the word out. “As retailers, we are, by nature, optimists. Our expectations for our anniversary event are high, yet tempered,” he says. “Our local art scene is doing better than the local soft goods scene, and we are intent on using that to our advantage.”
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BEACH LIFESTYLE BRAND Sanuk, a division of Deckers Brands, donated 20 percent of sales directly to the Surfrider Foundation for three days recently. The foundation is a grassroots, non-profit that protects and preserves the world’s oceans and beaches. “We’re proud to work alongside the Surfrider Foundation, as Sanuk takes pride in championing the causes that protect the happy places that are incredibly special to us, including our coastal communities, beaches and oceans,” says Magnus Wedhammar, general manager of Sanuk. “The ocean and coastal regions, particularly those in our company’s backyard of Goleta, CA, touch so many parts of our brand—from our ambassadors to inspiration for our product, which is designed for the journey to your happy place.” Sanuk says there are easy ways to help save our oceans. One: Clean your beach by picking up at least one piece of trash any time you visit. Two: Eschew plastics whenever possible. Use reusable water bottles and grocery bags, for starters. Three: Join the Surfrider Foundation (surfrider.org) and support its network of volunteers and staff.
Uber Ugly BALENCIAGA’S UGLY DAD sneakers just got out-uglied by DSquared2’s, The Giant Heels. The shoes, which made their debut during the recent Milan Men’s Fashion Week, look like the love child of dad sneaker and an old-school sport sandal with a high heel thrown in for added fall-off-the-ugly-tree measure. Dsquared2 describes the haute/ hideous shoes as “fluorescent trimmed sandals.” Reports are they were right in step with the label’s color-blocked street-meets-military story for Spring/Summer ’19.
The formal shoe offering from ECCO expands even further with the merging of two of our latest innovations — the all-new SHOCK THRU point, and rounded heel VITRUS™ last — into one very cool formal shoe. View the new distinctively modern sneaker-style platform at the ECCO booth at the FN Platform Show and the Atlanta Shoe Market.
S P E C I A L R E P O RT
HELL FOR HIGH HEELS I n t h e a g e o f # M e To o a n d a t h l e i s u r e , are high heels teetering toward extinction? BY A L E DA J O H N S O N
KRISTEN STEWART CAUSED a stir in May when she ditched her Louboutin high heels on the Cannes red carpet after her photo op. While it wasn’t clear if she was making a feminist statement (again), the actress had previously criticized the film festival’s mandatory high heels policy in 2016 when she told The Hollywood Reporter, “If you’re not asking guys to wear heels and a dress, you can’t ask me either.” That same year, Julia Roberts went barefoot in low-key protest of an incident at Cannes in 2015, when several women were turned away from a screening for wearing rhinestone flats instead of the obligatory heels. Even Wonder Woman star Gal Gardot sported flats (for health and balance reasons) throughout her recent press tour, and Serena Williams paired her wedding gown with custom Nikes. Amid the #MeToo era, the backlash to high heels is only picking up steam. One recent online survey of 270 women revealed that about one third claimed to wear high heels mainly because of social expectation rather than choice. Many women see the silhouette as gender discriminatory (sexist) rather than flattering (sexy). It probably doesn’t help matters when high heel king Christian Louboutin recently told The New Yorker, “The core of my work is dedicated not to pleasing women but to pleasing men.” He must be right, since few women would argue that the silhouette is comfortable or even healthy. Layer in the athleisure and wellness movements plus massive workplace shifts (think mobile and dressed down), aging baby boomers (former high heel devotee Victoria Beckham spoke for the demographic in 2016 when she stated, “I can’t do heels anymore”) and millions of Millennials raised in sneakers, and it’s not hard to see why the popularity of heels has taken a huge hit. 10 footwearplusmagazine.com • july 2018
The NPD Group reports that over the last two years, women have been swapping high heels for lower and flat alternatives. The retail sales tracking agency noted that in 2017, sales of high heels declined 11 percent, while sneaker sales soared 42 percent. In addition, the resale site ThredUp found that since March, there has been a 38 percent increase in the number of heels sent in by sellers. It’s a buyers’ market with about 11,862 pairs of heels purged from closets for sale. If the anti-heels momentum continues to snowball will the silhouette become the next whalebone corset? “Women’s empowerment and gender equality are fueling the fire,” says Beth Goldstein, a fashion footwear and accessories analyst for NPD. “When you have actresses protesting outdated dress codes at Cannes, it’s going to have an impact.” It’s not just celebrities, either. Back in 2016, a British woman drew headlines for refusing to wear two-inch heels to meet her office dress code. (She was sent home without pay, by the way.) But rather than conform, she started a petition calling for a law that would make sure no company could ever demand that women wear high heels at work. The petition garnered 150,000 signatures and the movement went viral with dozens of women posting pictures defiantly wearing flats. Her crusade culminated two years later with a law being changed to overcome outmoded and sexist workplace dress codes. “Workplaces have become more casual, and athletic attire has become fashion,” Goldstein says. “They’re just so many options that are acceptable, and many of them are more comfortable than heels.” Think kitten heels, ballet flats and mules, which are office-friendly yet versatile enough for drinks >37
Handsfree & Hip K i z i k a n d i t s r e t r a c t a b l e F. A . S . T. h e e l c o n s t r u c t i o n aims to reinvent how shoes are made and worn. By Greg Dutter
ONE OF THE beauties of the footwear business is that just when you’ve think you’ve seen it all—every silhouette, material, colorway, embellishment, breakthrough technology and gimmick—something comes along to dispel the notion that there’s nothing new under the shoe sun. Kizik and its accompanying handsfree pop-in and go F.A.S.T. (Foot Activated Shoe Technology) construction is one such example. The shoes fit like a glove, and the titanium wire heel counter snaps back into place every time. No more stooping over, and no more tying laces—it’s a breakthrough technology that has appeal to kids on up to senior citizens. It’s the “physics of Kizik,” says Pat Hogan, president, that makes the brand unique. The proprietary technology provides an automatic fit, thanks to the titanium wire that creates exceptional rebound strength, longevity and flexibility. The retractable Laces are decorative on the men’s New York. heel material is built to repeatedly collapse and instantly regain its shape. In addition, the customized fit is achieved with two Velcro strips on both sides of the tongue to accommodate a high or low arch. Hogan, an Levy knows of what he speaks. Prior to his retailing days, one of his industry veteran whose resume includes executive positions at Tommy wholesale stints involved managing Converse’s basketball division. The Hilfiger, Nordstrom.com, the former Brown Shoe Company (Calares) and man has come across all sorts of “latest technologies,” which he says are Rockport, knew right away that F.A.S.T. was something special. “It’s really often (gasp!) gimmicks. Kizik is different. Levy considers its F.A.S.T. a breakthrough in design, because there is no battery, no computer and construction to be life-changing for a broad range of consumers. “For Nike self-lacing shoes cost around $795,” he says, noting Kizik’s suggested half of my customers, it’s a cool convenience and for the other half, it’s a retail for men’s is $180 to $190 and women’s, debuting this fall, will be necessity,” he says. “It’s a lifestyle and not just a trend. It’s not like I might $150 to $160. “This is the simplest form of construction that allows a get a couple of years out of it and then it trends out.” foot into the shoe and then rebounding around the foot for a secure and The proof is in Kizik’s early sell-through, according to Levy. Since comfortable fit,” Hogan says. bringing the selection of just two men’s styles into his stores last fall, sales Dave Levy, owner of Hawley Lane Shoes, a four-store comfort chain have been eye-popping. In fact, Kizik already ranks sixth in dollars for based in Connecticut, was sold on the concept at first try-on. “I got a pair Hawley Lane, and its top SKU is out-selling all the SKUs of the stores’ of hand-me-down shoes from Pat and when I put them on, I was like, second-ranked brand. “Recently, we sold 71 pairs in one week,” Levy says. ‘Oh, my God!”’ he says. Levy and Hogan worked together on the launch “And men’s is only 15 percent of my overall business. It’s a huge boost to of Tommy Hilfiger footwear back in the ’90s. Hogan invited him to Kizik’s my bottom line, and with women’s launching in September we’re going Park City, UT, offices, a.k.a. “The Bunker,” where inventor and founder to have an absolute field day with this brand.” Once the assortment can Mike Pratt designed the original sneaker styles and is busily adapting support it, Levy envisions Kizik concept shops in his stores—something the F.A.S.T. to a range of silhouettes, including sandals (next spring) and that he is very selective about doing. “I would never just say that as we’ve even boots down the road. “He’s the smartest guy I’ve ever met. He’s like been approached by many brands to open concept shops, but with Kizik an Elon Musk.” Levy gushes. “This technology is real deal. You can put I wouldn’t even think twice about,” he says. them on sitting down or standing up, and it just pops on. It’s unbelievable.” Bob Schwartz, owner of Eneslow Shoes & Orthotics in New York, >19
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A N OT E T O M Y Y OU N G E R S E L F
DO THE RIGHT THINGS Susan Hudson-O’Neil, former longtime Kenneth Cole e x e c a n d Tw o Te n c h a i r , o n a c a r e e r g u i d e d b y g u t i n s t i n c t s , good intentions and great rewards. DEAR SUSAN, As you finish college, I’m happy to share some peeks into what’s to come and insights on what I’ve learned that may help as you embark on a successful and enjoyable career in the footwear industry. Fortunately, you’ve had a wonderful childhood; growing up surrounded by love and supportive parents who impressed upon you that you could do anything you set your mind to so long as you worked hard enough. You’ve never been told that being a female could/would be an obstacle to success. Your parents are great role models. You learned your love of cooking from your Pops and your love of mentoring and leadership from your amazing Mom, who is an inspiration to her hundreds of employees and her even larger legion of friends. But you are not one who knows early on what you want to do for a career. However, having naturally gravitated towards competition and teamwork in sports and to leadership positions in school and extracurricular activities, you’re wired for business. The fashion business especially suits your makeup. It’s fast-paced and aggressive. Plus, your love of learning, developing new relationships and being open to change are ideal traits for this industry. (It also makes work fun!) Your first job in footwear will be a happy accident. You apply for a mid-manager marketing position at Timberland and earn an interview because you’re “so unqualified” that you pique the interest of the senior vice president! You start out as a sales rookie, and as one of only two women on the sales team, you’ll need to overachieve to get ahead. You do just that, and with the support of a visionary mentor, you will then be pushed to lead an all-male salesforce in the Western boot business. (That will be a challenge!) Again, you rise to the occasion. You then make the jump to handle major accounts and national exposure at The Rockport Company. Next up will be your longest tenure at one company—16 years at Kenneth Cole Productions (KCP). It’s a job filled with interesting challenges, great success and forging lifelong friendships. It’s also where you first become involved with the Two Ten Foundation, which will remain a big part of your life from then on. (More on that later.) As senior vice president, wholesale at KCP, you are given the opportunity to build a world-class team and develop a men’s footwear strategy that will position the brand to be an industry leader for many years. You’ll partner with the best retailers in the industry, many of whom will become close friends. Your greatest sense of pride and accomplishment, however, comes from contributing to and seeing the success of your team
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members and colleagues. Never doubt the positive impact you can have on a person by speaking a kind word or empowering him/her to set and achieve lofty goals. After leaving KCP at an opportune time, you decide to expand your horizons, professionally and personally. You move to the West Coast, leading businesses in apparel at Levi Strauss and Co. as SVP commercial operations for its Dockers Americas division, followed by becoming president and CEO of Circa, an accessories company. You also launch a consulting business, specializing in corporate strategy, merchandising, sales and logistics, among other skills. The Bay Area is a great place to be, surrounded by like-minded people and great natural beauty. You’ll love it there! You will be blessed with four wonderful kids that force you to balance work and family. It’s a challenge, but like always, you’ll (happily) rise to it. Of course, life has its share of difficulties. On several occasions, you’ll learn a hard lesson that not all people are honorable. But don’t let that dampen your optimism. Look upon those instances as valuable learning experiences that help you grow. Along those lines, always balance humility with candor about your skills and accomplishments. The former will be easy. You have been conditioned, as many women are, to be humble and to give credit to others. Just remember that you must be your own best advocate, and to be confident when speaking about what you have to offer. And you have so much to offer! In fact, one of your proudest career accomplishments is your extensive involvement with Two Ten. As a board director, you’ll chair the annual fundraising dinner the first year it moves to New York from Boston. You’ll also be part of its Strategic Planning Committee that restructures the board to be more effective. You’ll help create the Honorary Board and set goals for greater industry engagement with retailers, young people and women. You will be humbled and honored to serve as the Two Ten’s first female Chair of the Board, and earn the A. A. Bloom Award in 2008 for outstanding service to the organization. Above all, Two Ten will instill in you a lifelong desire to give back and to serve those who are less fortunate. Always be sure that, wherever you go and whatever you do, make serving others a priority. Last but not least, always remember to work hard, smile often and be grateful. Look on the sunny side, and your optimism will usually come true. Your older (hopefully wiser!) self
46 Sizes & 4 Widths | ALL National & REGIONAL SHOWS | 1-800-970-VITA
WH AT’S SEL LI NG
TAO S M O U N TA I N O U T F I T T E R S Ta o s , N M
HEN BILL GAYDOSH took over the 49-yearold Taos Mountain Outfitters (TMO) two years ago, he knew he needed to make the store an outdoor destination for locals and tourists. First that meant absorbing The Good Sole, the standalone shoe store located across the street, for a unified identity. Being an outdoor specialty store also meant dropping fashion comfort brands from its mix in favor of more trail runners and hikers. “We used to sell some high heels, but we dropped those lines because they didn’t sell until they were on sale,” Gaydosh says. “Margins hold the boat up, and we couldn’t afford to only sell things when they were on the sale rack.” Now the 400-square-foot shoe section boasts a bevy of styles from Keen, Merrell, Blundstone and Columbia, among others, as well as recovery shoes from Birkenstock. “I think picking one identity has helped us. We only carry things people need to be outside,” Gaydosh adds. Another big change Gaydosh has brought to TMO is an ideology of a family-run store dedicated to its community. The first 10 percent of net profits, for example, goes to one of 300 nonprofits in Taos county (TMO donated $30,000 last year) and the next 10 percent goes to staff bonuses. Gaydosh’s wife and youngest daughter also contribute to the family-friendly vibe, pitching in on everything from fitting shoes to suggesting local hikes. “I always want to be on the floor, sending my customers on trails, the water, a place to camp for the night,” Gaydosh says. “Even if they’re not spending money in my store, they’ll come back and they’ll tell their friends.” Beyond that, TMO is a labor of love for Gaydosh. “I love the energy in the store,” he says. “I’m an old guy among young people doing all that fun stuff—it keeps me young.” —Aleda Johnson What are your leading footwear brands? All of our shoe brands are performing well, with Keen and Merrell making up 60 percent of our mix. Hoka and Salomon are also doing well. We’ve also added Blundstone and a bigger selection of Chaco and Teva sandals. In the winter, we’ve added boots from Vasque, Salomon and Columbia. Everybody is looking for lightweight hikers and trail runners—something that doesn’t look like a “hiking boot,” so they can wear it other than on the trail. How’s business this year? We’re a little ahead in sales but way ahead in margins because we’re selling more regularly priced merchandise. Last spring, we were still selling what the previous buyer had bought, but then we picked up a new buyer—my 20-year-old daughter. She’s done a fantastic job of bringing in fresh colors and styles. She’s never bought before, but she’s a natural. She’s still in college and when she’s finished, she may work here full-time. What is the sweet spot for shoe pricing? Around $125. A lot of people don’t realize that Taos isn’t Vail or Aspen or Jackson Hole. If I stocked $280 hiking boots, I would end up eating them.
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Any unique challenges to Taos? The labor pool, which is more like a labor puddle. It’s tough to find people who want to work, show up on time and have the business’ best interests at heart. Finding the right mix between footwear, gear and clothing is another challenge. About 80 percent of sales are in clothing and footwear, but I need a balance of hard goods that most gearheads love. Then we’re at mercy of weather. If we have no snow, it slows us down a bit. What percentage of your business is tourists? About two-thirds. Under the previous ownership, it was more tourist, but we’re pulling locals back in. It helps us through the slow season. For example, we ordered 15 osprey packs for the Taos Pueblo youth program, and we work with their hunting department to take people out in native lands. We also order safety shoes for Taos’ public works department. I don’t make a fortune on it, but there’s nowhere else in town to order, so they come back every six months. What’s the most effective way to reach your customers? We do Facebook, and we just started an Instagram account. But our biggest draw is being on the Taos Plaza and part of the walking path. We see 300 to 400 people by the afternoon. It’s all location, location, location. What is the smartest business decision you’ve made recently? We don’t keep the store open late on weekends. Last year, we stayed open until 8 p.m., but with the labor issue it was hard finding people to work. Now we’re open 10-6, which was a good idea because when I looked at sales between 6-8, they’re weren’t big enough that you could justify staying open. Why doesn’t TMO sell online? Because we know we can’t compete with Amazon, Moosejaw or Gear Aid. It’s just a David and Goliath situation, and I don’t know if David can slay the Amazon Goliath. They have warehouses that do nothing but order fulfillment, and we don’t have the manpower. Plus, the MAP policies and other rules mean more paperwork, and I don’t want to risk losing any of my brands to mistakenly putting something on sale that shouldn’t be. What are your goals for the rest of this year? We’d like to grow our social media presence—that’s the advertising of the future. I’d also love to hire an assistant GM possibly to take the burden off me and my wife running the dayto-day. We’re also actually doing research on opening another store. We’re not sure when that will happen, but we’re in the preliminary stages of planning. What are you most proud of about TMO? I’m proud that we’re family run, and I’m proud that the first 10 percent of our net profits go to charity. We didn’t come here to get rich, but to have fun and have a positive impact on the community. I have about 100 customers who live in Santa Fe, and they drive 70 miles to Taos to shop in our store rather than stop in an REI, and that’s a big compliment. We’re about an experience and service—we put our customers in the right products, and we’re not here just to sell them something. They like that we’re not forcing stuff down their throats.
SCENE & HEARD
Two Ten Turns Double Play WHAT’S BETTER THAN one Two Ten Foundation group event? Combining it with a second. That’s exactly what members of Two Ten’s new Women in the Footwear Industry (WIFI) chapter in Charlotte, NC, decided to do when it organized a Footwear Cares volunteering outing at
the Second Harvest Foodbank of Metrolina. Erica Norton, associate director of marketing for Girl Power! WIFI, says the idea came about from conversations Charlotte, NC, with a “fantastic pair of women”—Brittany Moeller of WIFI chapter members strike Rack Room Shoes and Cindy Brown of Keds—who a pose at their wanted a way to engage and connect with their female Footwear Cares colleagues. “Both women were inspired to create a volunteering chapter in the Charlotte area after attending other event. WIFI events and seeing how it brought industry women together,” Norton says. “The combination event allowed for women in the area to connect with their colleagues in a way that worked for their own schedules and interests.” A total of 20 women participated in the Footwear Cares portion of the event. Women from Rack Room Shoes/Off Broadway Shoe Warehouse, Family Dollar, Shoe Show, Keds and Margaritaville took part, sorting through pallets of donated food items to check for properly sealed packaging and to categorize “like” items. Over the three-hour shift, the group sorted 10,670 pounds of food, which is equal to 8,891 meals. “Participants were thrilled to lend a helping hand in the community and connect with their female colleagues,” Norton says, adding that the WIFI social event that followed was attended by 35 women. “We received great feedback,” she says. “We’ll be bringing this idea to other WIFI chapters to take advantage of in the future.”
Propét One Available in Men’s & Women’s
• • •
3D knit mesh Ortholite® high rebound open cell PU Extended sizes and Widths up to 5E
6/19/18 8:38 AM
continued from page 12 is also bullish on the prospects of Kizik. The shoes have just arrived, and he reports the sales team is impressed. “The versatility and multiple-use applications can help make this a new category at a commercial level,” he Schwartz. “[Kizik] has the potential to be an industry leader. All successful functional footwear brands understand it has to start with the fit, comfort, quality, durability and styling. If those are right, the concept has nine-figure potential and possibly more.” What might help make such growth possible and manageable, Hogan says, is the plan to license F.A.S.T. to other brands that fall out of Kizik’s brand width. Rather than try to break into a new category with Kizik golf or kids’ shoes, Hogan believes licensing the technology is the better way to go. “Kizik is the premium brand that houses F.A.S.T., which is our invention house” he says. “We’re really two companies that, combined, are on a mission to design and innovate all categories of footwear to go and off your foot handsfree. We have patents and patent-pending inventions to achieve that eventually in every category.” Credit goes to Pratt, the brain trust behind it all. Like many inventors, Hogan says Pratt is an underWomen’s Paris the-radar type that prefers to be slip-on. working on the next breakthrough technology as opposed to being the front man. “Mike’s mind works completely different than anyone I’ve ever met,” Hogan says. “He has literally a garage filled with hundreds of inventions and materials. It’s absolutely amazing.” Pratt made his mark in the luggage business. He was founder and chairman of Ogio, where he introduced a broad range of innovative bags, luggage and backpacks. He sold the company to Callaway Golf about five years ago to focus on his shoe inventions. It was about two years ago when he met Hogan, and the two got to work on building a shoe company. Like most great brands, Hogan says it all starts with a premise backed by a legitimate technology that delivers something new to the marketplace. “Mike asked why does a shoe have to be built like the way it has been? Why can’t you do it this way?” he says. It’s so revolutionary, Hogan adds, that it’s allowed Kizik to open some of the best factories in the world, which is uncommon for a startup. “They’ve taken us on because of what they see,” he says. “Some of the factory owners have told Mike that they have been trying to figure this out for 30 years.” Now comes the blocking and tackling to build a successful brand for the long-term. Distribution strategies, marketing programs, brand positioning are up and running, according to Hogan. “We’re in about 40 stores now, mostly independent retailers to build our deep roots,” he says, adding that Dillard’s is also carrying the brand and Zappos has signed on to launch men’s and women’s this fall. “We’ve got an online strategy to build and protect our brand,” he adds. A national marketing plan is also in the works, with ads having already been placed in USA Today and The Wall Street Journal to support retail partners in addition to a national TV campaign in the works. Kizik will also make its trade show debut at The Atlanta Shoe Market and FN Platform shows next month. “The soft, under-the-radar launch is complete—we’ve tested the product and advertising in select retailers and now have a successful formula to move forward,” Hogan says, noting Hawley Lane has sold more than 300 pairs to date. “That’s why I’m hungry for more categories,” Levy says. “Once customers see how the shoes pop on and fit, they’re sold. They’re coming back asking for more colors and styles. I called Mike last week and said, ‘All I want to know is, what’s next.’” •
Clockwise from top: Source, Teva, Keen, Bearpaw, Khombu. Opposite, clockwise from top: Ecco, Merrell, Tamarindo, ObĹ?z.
DAD’S OTHER SHOE
Techy, chunky sport sandals are the warm weather alternative to overbuilt sneakers —and the new utilitarian ugly. By Aleda Johnson PHOTOGRAPHY BY TREVETT MCCANDLISS
Cougar knit sneakers, NOT by Jenny Lai dress shirt, pleated midi skirt by Khaite, Mango bauble earrings. 22
A SOOTHING ARRAY OF SOFT NEUTRALS AND WOVEN UPPERS CAST A REFRESHING LIGHT ON SPORT CASUALS. PHOTOGRAPHY BY TREVET T MCCANDLISS
STYLING BY DANI MORALES
Trainers by Dansko, Smarteez blouse and pants, Suncoo tank. Opposite: Pikolinos perforated leather sneaker, Suncoo top and P.A.R.O.S.H. slacks. Nicholas K dress. 24
Metallic toe capped tennis shoes by Rockport, NOT by Jenny Lai top, Nicholas K dress, Lila Rice earrings. Opposite: Naot sneakers, NOT by Jenny Lai top, Smarteez blouse, Nicholas K pants, Mango earrings.
Keen bungee lace sneakers, Nike jacket, P.A.R.O.S.H. shirt, Nicholas K dress. Mesh tennies by Merrell, Madewell jumpsuit, NOT by Jenny Lai long sleeve top.
Knit/suede trainers by Earth, Mango stone earrings, Smarteez shirt. Opposite: Twisted X leather joggers, Suncoo top, Nicholas K wrap blouse, NOT by Jenny Lai Bermuda shorts, drop earrings by & Other Stories. Hair and makeup: Nevio Ragazzini/Next Artists using Kevyn Aucoin makeup and T3 and Living Proof on hair; models: Ada/Red Model Mgmt., Polina/ Fenton Model Mgmt.
S H O W C A S E S PR I NG ’ 19
The intersection of fashion and comfort—this is the vision Bearpaw has adopted
Cougar’s Spring ’19 collection is all about modern footwear made to function.
over the past few years as our collections evolve from relaxed and cozy to style
The Prato slide in Nappa leather features a lightweight saw tooth sole for a
with a comfort twist. For Spring/Summer ’19, our design team has delivered a
distinctive summer silhouette. Our entire collection features premium
fashion-forward collection while maintaining the Bearpaw comfort story. The
leathers, suedes and knits that are water-repellent and stain-resistant to stay
collection is about textures, stylish details and rich colors while never having to
looking great, whatever the weather. See the entire collection at Outdoor
choose between looking amazing and feeling amazing. Come see us at Outdoor
Retailer, FFANY, FN Platform, The Atlanta Shoe Market, Toronto Shoe
Retailer, FFANY, The Atlanta Shoe Market, FN Platform and regional shows!
Show and select regional shows across North America.
Restricted Footwear styles focus on edgy elements of design and present eye-catching details to the fashionforward consumer. Unique silhouettes and styles appeal to a broad
Patrizia by Spring Step offers fashionable footwear with unbelievable quality and comfort. We have consistently crafted outstanding products, like the
range of consumers. The smart shoppers who like to combine fashion and com-
Quinteel, and deliver wonderful value and service. With higher margins, free
fort with quality and a great price always look to Restricted for the latest shoes
POP displays and simple e-service, we can be your perfect partner. Discover
inspirations! You can see Restricted Footwear at FFANY, The Atlanta Shoe
why Patrizia by Spring Step is the winning team!
Market, FN Platform and many other regional shows.
Birkenstock offers sandals, clogs, shoes and arch supports all based on our original contoured cork latex footbed for
With worldwide headquarters in
women, men and children. Birkenstock
Sarrebourg, France, the world-renowned
products are made in Germany, since
Mephisto was founded more than 50
1774, and reflect our key values of health
years ago by Martin Michaeli. Mephisto
and wellness, quality, craftsmanship and
maintains a loyal following and a strong
environmental sensibility. Come see us
international reputation for comfort and
at FN Platform, Outdoor Retailer,
quality. View the collection at FN Platform
FFANY, The Atlanta Shoe Market
(#82302) and at The Atlanta Shoe Market
and regional shows.
L’Artiste by Spring Step offers colorful, creative and unique shoes for everyone—like the Mayarta. We have consistently crafted outstanding
It’s a beautiful life! We offer an array of elegant kitten heels available in
products and deliver wonderful value and service. With higher margins,
a large range of sizes and widths (5-12; N, M, W and WW). The Scarlett
free POP displays and simple e-service, we can be your perfect partner.
sling-back pump comes in a classic nude patent. Open-Stock Always. We’ll
Discover why L’Artiste by Spring Step is the winning team!
be at FN Platform, The Atlanta Shoe Market and all regional shows.
Comfort starts with fit. For over 30 years, we have perfected our product line to offer diverse styles in those hard-to-find widths and sizes. We are an industry leader in evolving comfort and wellness footwear into fashionable footwear. The TravelWalker Evo is our newest evolution for stylish walking
We dynamically fuse wellness-led design with the global footwear fashion scene
comfort that is a perfect travel companion. Come see us at FN Platform,
while inspiring a community to live their best lives. Discover our Spring 2019
Outdoor Retailer (#50157-UL), The Atlanta Shoe Market (#1537) and
collection and see Earth in a brand new light. Earth is modern wellness fashion.
You can find us at FN Platform (#82614 and #82815) and Atlanta (#1317-1323).
Naot’s superbly crafted products demonstrate a response to the compelling
The Recess is an easy to clean, water-friendly play shoe for kids with a hook-and-
need for healthy, comfortable and fashionable footwear. At the same time,
loop closure that promotes self-dressing. Materials are lightweight and comfortable,
Naot’s unfailing commitment to integrity makes quality customer service the
and the one unit construction is sturdy for summer’s little adventures. The bright
very highest priority. There is nothing like the original, and your feet can tell.
colors you’ve come to expect from Western Chief always bring big smiles. Western
Visit us at Outdoor Retailer (#51123-UL), FN Platform, The Atlanta Shoe
Chief: trusted footwear since 1891. Come see us at Outdoor Retailer, Children’s
Market, Surf Expo and regional shows.
Club, FN Platform and The Atlanta Shoe Market and regional shows.
S H O W C A S E S PR I NG ’ 19
New for Spring ’19, the Walking Cradles Metro Collection offers more styles, colors and materials of our popular urban casual line inspired and designed by women on the move! The collection is available in 60 sizes
Fly London style Wigg672fly dazzles with the comfort provided by a mold
and widths with removable Tiny Pillows insoles that massage the feet with
control insole that offers unique comfort and glitters with the new soft
every step. Visit us at FN Platform, The Atlanta Shoe Market, FFANY,
Corcuma Portuguese leather. Fly London: always progressive, never conven-
SMOTA and regional shows.
tional. Visit us at FN Platform, The Atlanta Shoe Market and regional shows.
Wolky has produced artisan comfort shoes for over 30, and we are pushing the bar for Spring ’19 by bringing in more “young at heart” styling without sacrificing our signature comfort. The new Altiplano features youthful styling with a plateau outsole and a signature footbed that customizes your
Spring Step combines quality, comfort, technology and style to bring you
footprint. The combined features help every woman’s dream in footwear to
premium footwear. We have consistently crafted outstanding products, like
feel forever young, comfortable and feminine. Come see us at FN Platform,
the Margy, and deliver wonderful value and service. With higher margins,
The Atlanta Shoe market and many regional shows by contacting your
free POP displays, and simple e-service, we can be your perfect partner.
sales rep or email@example.com to set up an appointment.
Discover why Spring Step is the winning team!
SoLites by Easy Street will make you feel like you are floating through your day with our famous “almost Lite as a feather” Comfort Wave
The Soft Motion Hannah style is the perfect first walking shoe. Trend-
construction. SoLites are enhanced with the exclusive EasyMotion
right with novelty prints that include gingham and floral patterns, with
Pro-comfort system with our ultra-padded heel cup and arch support
hook-and-loop closures for easy-on and off wear. Additional features
like the Utopia ankle bootie in new gray Super Suede with stretch for fit
include seamless construction that cradles the foot’s shape, aegis treatment
gore and a metallic weave pattern. Available in sizes and widths (5-12;
to reduce odor, Memory Foam footbeds and flexible rounded outsoles.
M, W & WW). Open stock availability for Fall ’17 delivery. Visit us at
Come see us at FFANY, The Children’s Great Event, FN Platform,
FN Platform, The Atlanta Shoe Market and all regional shows.
The Atlanta Shoe Market and regional shows.
Spring Ahead Vida Brands releases first full collection of BCBGirls.
What’s in ’Stock? Birkenstock updates its spring line with trendy colorways and mini me adaptations. AFTER A SUCCESSFUL pre-launch for fall, Vida Brands is unveiling its first complete collection BCBGirls for Spring ’19. “We always look for brands that resonate with the consumer, and BCBGirls is a beloved label that has a great emotional connection with girls and moms, not only in the U.S. but internationally,” says Luis Gonzalez, director of design for the Vida Kids license. “It’s great when you see retailers struggle to put assortments together because there’s just so many shoes they’d love to carry,” she adds. Based on four design stories, the latest collection totals more than 30 silhouettes. In the American Kitsch assortment, denim and gingham take center stage, while the Modern Picnic story is all about elegant fabrics and sweet details such as satin, grosgrain and fur accents. For the Historic Bohemian group, styles feature soft colors and embellishments like daisies and studs, whereas the Summer Paradise designs showcase bright colors and prints mixed with transparencies that include some functional play shoes on neoprene. The designs are meant to appeal to two style archetypes: the sweetheart and the adventurer, according to Gonzalez. “The sweetheart is our princess that needs no crown,” he says, noting that this girl emulates her mom’s ultra-feminine style in classic pieces with playful details and sweet embellishments. “Our adventurer is our fearless girl who sports on-trend dynamic looks that allow freedom of movement while she discovers her world and expresses her passions,” he adds. In maintaining the brand’s DNA in all tiers, Gonzalez says Vida’s efforts must be strategic when it comes to distribution strategy. “We designed and developed two separate lines for distribution levels with the idea to deliver product that makes sense for each,” he says. “We understand their differences and cater to each tier separately in order to please each most effectively.” For the mid-tier line, suggested retail prices will range from $29 to $39 while the premium distribution line will range from $39 to $59. “Every girl will be able to enjoy our BCBGirls collection,” Gonzalez says. “And our expertise in building kids’ shoes across all our brands ensures the delivery of fashionable styles that never sacrifice kids’ comfort.” —Emily Beckman 36 footwearplusmagazine.com • july 2018
A NEW GENERATION of Birkenstock customers has been coming into the fold the past several years, fueled by runway models, A-list celebrities, and Millennials’ and Gen Z’s desire to seek authentic brands rich in heritage. And at 244 years old, well, you can’t get much more storied than Birkenstock. Of course, the macro shift to casual dressing has also worked in the brand’s favor, as its sandals are one of the few non-sneaker styles that goes well with athleisure wear. “You’ll find us worn by young kids to tweens to adults,” says Jaqueline Van Dine, vice president of merchandising, adding that the brand’s DNA naturally lends itself to the children’s market. Synonymous with comfort and versatility, Birkenstock’s classic contoured cork footbed sandals, clogs and sneakers all provide ample flexibility and support for developing feet. “But that’s not to say style is sacrificed,” Van Dine adds. For Spring ’19, Birkenstock is releasing new playful prints, including a silver and pink hologram treatment and a cool camouflage made up of a dinosaur motif. The brand is also eager to introduce a takedown of its best-selling, copper-metallic Arizona sandal, which Van Dine says is in step with the ‘mommy and me’ fashion movement. “We’ve seen a desire from kids to look like older siblings and even their parents who wear Birkenstock,” she says, noting she expects kids’ adaptations of adult styles to be a growing category again next year. “Our retail partners are excited to add new items to their growing Birkenstock kids’ business, especially with the takedowns of our most popular adult products,” she adds. The suggested retail price range for the line is $29.95 to $79.95. —E.B.
S P E C I A L R E P O RT continued from page 10 after work. The styles fit with busy, multi-tasking women who are on their feet for hours. “Women are responding to options that they can wear all day and in any weather,” Goldstein adds. “They’re going from work to running errands to picking up kids to dinner.” The growing popularity of sneakers cannot be underestimated, however. Lynne Commeau, co-owner and designer of Butter and Something Bleu, thinks the shift away from heels has much more to the rise of sneaker culture than any feminist-driven backlash. She cites the wave of innovative sneaker designs from talents like Philippe Model, Gray Goose, Zanotti, Yamamoto for Adidas and Comme des Garcons’ collaboration with Converse as transforming the silhouette from utilitarian basic to uber-fashion statement. “Sneakers started to appear more and more on the runways paired with everything from denim to skirts and pants,” she says. “Consumers started wearing sneakers because they became fashionable, and then noticed they were irresistibly comfortable. And here we are.” Now major designers like Louis Vuitton and Prada, who had never before had sneakers grace their catwalks, offer several iterations—the uglier, the better. In addition, limited-edition sneaker collaborations are worth their weight in gold. Copping a pair of rare kicks can bring the same renown and envy as a pair of red-soled Louboutins. “High heels were used to establish status as well as gender,” says Elizabeth Semmelhack, senior curator at the Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto and author of Shoes: The Meaning of Style. “But that status can also now be achieved with a rare pair of sneakers.” What’s more, Semmelhack says we live in the age of Fitbits, yoga pants, juice bars and kale chips. Being fit, not just thin, is the new black. “People want to get in their 10,000 steps, and the shift toward athleisure plays into the idea of the idealized bodies,” she says. “The high heel will be hard pressed to remain current if this trend continues.” Then there’s that red stiletto emoji that made news last winter. Florie Hutchinson, an arts publicist and mother of three, went on a crusade to change the emoji as the automatic substitute for the word “shoe” when texting. She sent a proposal to the Unicode Consortium’s emoji subcommittee (yes, there is one), recommending that they add a blue ballet flat—a shoe she believes reads as female but isn’t seductive or sexualized, as was reported in The New York Times. Hutchinson’s emoji-gate is just another flashpoint in the macro movement of women seeking to abolish outdated and constricting norms, and heels are a (not so) innocent casualty. So the question begs: Are high heels going the way of the Dodo bird? Surprisingly, in the face of such mounting evidence, the general industry sentiment is absolutely not. Like most fashion trends, the drop in popularity of high heels is viewed merely as cyclical, says Robert Schwartz, owner of Eneslow Shoes & Orthotics in New York. “In the second half of the ’90s, we had the Dotcom and Euro comfort revolutions happen at the same time, and casual and athletic exploded,” he says. “The same question was asked then.” And back heels came—big. Sex and the City, anyone? The popular HBO series made Manolo Blahnik, Jimmy Choo and Christian Louboutin household names during the early aughts. Dave Levy, owner of Hawley Lane, four specialty comfort stores based in Connecticut, agrees that heel fashions are cyclical. “I don’t think they are going away forever,” he says. “It’s like the cycle where Converse (canvas) is hot every seven years or so. The hot trend is comfort right now, but the pendulum always swings in our business.” This go round, Levy notes, the pendulum has swung far to the comfort side. “When trends are at their peak, you never see them going away,” he says. “But I’ve been in this business since the ’80s, and once it swings one way, eventually it’s going to swing the other, whether it takes three years, eight years, whatever.” Still, Levy reports doing a “ton” of business with Ara and Gabor, which are “mostly two-inch heels, but still heels.” Leslie Gallin, president of footwear for UBM Fashion Group, believes any heels comeback will be boosted by technological advances that enable the silhouette to be more comfortable. “Until that happens and is broadly under-
stood by consumers, that’s when we’ll see a swing back to women wearing heels more regularly,” she says, adding that times have changed. “The idea that being well-dressed meant also being uncomfortable no longer applies,” Gallin says. “With technology, there’s no reason for a higher heel to not have cushioning similar to a sneaker.” In the meantime, some makers of high heels are, in fact, reporting strong sales of late. Nicole Brundage, designer of Marskinryyppy, says her best-selling styles for Fall ’18 are stilettos adorned with bows, straps, satin and moirés—a far cry from sensible shoes. What’s more, Brundage is not surprised. “Although the athleisure/streetwear trend is still strong, fashion is essentially all about change and a continuum of styles reinterpreted,” she says, adding, “Heels will never go out of fashion entirely, and these chaotic times call ever-so-loudly for fun, fab party shoes.” Ditto for Roy Luwolt, co-founder of Malone Souliers. He reports the label’s high heel sales have been strong of late. Moreover, he doesn’t see the silhouette disappearing any time soon. “Heels aren’t going anywhere,” Luwolt says. “How many dinners can you attend in a dress and a pair of sneakers?” Commeau also reports high heel style sales are up for Butter and Something Bleu. “We’re experiencing high double-digit growth season to season,” she says, adding that 80 percent of Something Bleu’s line is still 70mm and above. “Everything is cyclical, sneakers will eventually slow down, become unfashionable and heels will come back—I think they already are,” Commeau adds. As for a world some day extinct of high heels, she’s not convinced in the slightest. “No. Let’s face it, heels make us look and feel sexy, why would we want that to end? I mean, sneakers with fishnets? Nah.” Brundage agrees on the prospects of a dystopian world without high heels: “What a dismal, most uninviting thought; don’t depress me.” •
D E S I G N E R C H AT
WHEN JASON BECKLEY took the job as Chief Brand Officer of Clarks, a brand he’d worn growing up in England, it was a homecoming in more ways than one. After learning to the art of shoemaking in a Malaysian factory for Yves Saint Laurent followed by stints with Nike, Alexander McQueen and Ralph Lauren, Beckley arrived at the Clarks headquarters, just down the street from his Somerset, England, home. “I phoned my mom saying, ‘You won’t believe who called,’” Beckley says. “She told me my bedroom was still there.” After digging through the company’s rich portfolio, Beckley became consumed with reviving Bostonian, a mainstay of American dresswear in the ’80s and ’90s. What followed was 18 months of research on Bostonian’s history and perfecting the authentic New England shoemaking aesthetic for which the brand was known. “It’s a restoration project in many respects,” he says. “We took original lasts and measurements as close as we could find, and we’re using original materials, constructions and methods where we can.” While the collection is manufactured in India, each silhouette is made on recommissioned American welting machines. “These guys are as obsessed about the American way of making shoes as I am,” Beckley says. “That authenticity adds incredible value to a brand.” The debut Fall ’18 collection stayed true to Bostonian’s roots, forgoing trends for traditional dress colors in deep suedes and rich leathers. For Spring ’19, Beckley has branched out from traditional black and brown to warm burgundy and its signature Boston Tan. Two new styles have also been added to the mix. The Goodyear Walk collection features signature Goodyear Welting in plain toe and cap toe styles, with broken-in leathers and Vibram outsoles. It’s the ideal commuter dress shoe for men walking or biking to work. The Tisbury penny and plain toe loafers are pulled directly from the archive using a last that’s well over 50 years old. Featuring handsewn moccasin uppers and leather outsoles, the styles come in Boston Tan, black and burgundy. “In a man’s wardrobe, there are always default shoes,” Beckley says. “At Clarks and Bostonian, we are lucky to earn so many of those shoes.” —Aleda Johnson Who is the quintessential Bostonian customer? When I worked at Ralph Lauren, there was always that tradition of getting a Polo suit and Bostonian shoes when you graduated university and changed from being a student to a grown up. That person right now is very style aware, very conscious of product and history. Truth and authenticity are important to them, so they wear brands that 38 footwearplusmagazine.com • july 2018
SUMMER LOVIN’ Classic prints and silhoue ttes that beg for picnics and pool par ties.
understand that. That’s the person I’m looking for—someone who is globalized and likes that this is a brand with heritage and meaning. What is you take on athleisure and how it pertains to Bostonian? We’ll make shoes made of EVA or even TPU soles but constructed in a welted way, because that’s still very traditional. I don’t mind the cupsole construction because it can be elegant sometimes, but I don’t think we’re ready for it yet. We need to establish the shoes people recognize as the foundation of Bostonian first, but maybe in the future we can think about how we can fuse them into something else. Is there a perfect shoe? Growing up, I genuinely believed if I threw a basketball against a backboard enough, I would grow to be 6’7”, 240 pounds, wear No. 23 on my back and they’d name a shoe after me. At one point that was the unlock to my cool. So shoes where you instantly know by name, like Stan Smith, Jordan and Chuck
Taylor, are design perfection. When you stop being the brand and you become the name, that’s the perfect shoe. Any designers you admire? I’m fortunate enough to have been exposed to people who are heroes of design. The one who empowered me the most and encouraged me to have an opinion was Alexander McQueen. I love the way he would understand the craft but added the emotion, which added the value and made it unstoppable. I thought he was the greatest of all designers. What might people be surprised to know about you? I never use the word creative about myself because I only believe in logic. Creativity makes design sound like a free for all, and it isn’t. It’s a very strategic answer to a very genuine commercial grievance. To inspire people in that context isn’t about creativity, it’s about unbelievable logic. It’s not about my free will. It’s about being unemotional. You get labeled as just a creative, coloring and shading, I wanted to step away from that.
E D I TO R ’ S P I C K S P H OTO G R A P H Y BY T R E V E T T M CC A N D L I S S
JA S O N B E C K L E Y • B O S T O N I A N
LAS T WORD
Show and Tell L e s l i e G a l l i n , p r e s i d e n t o f f o o t w e a r f o r U B M Fa s h i o n , organizers of FN Platform, on food trucks, sparking conversation and catching that trade show high. By Greg Dutter LESLIE GALLIN IS a trade show veteran who understands a successful show often boils down to being a terrific host more than anything else. It’s a process that starts long before the actual event—lining up exhibitors, arranging the floor plan, playing pre-show matchmaker, organizing seminars, hiring entertainment and, perhaps most important of all, pleasing palates. “People like the food trucks,” Gallin says, noting that an extensive array of food choices is a key ingredient to a successful show. “Each of our themed lounges serves breakfast, lunch, snacks and alcohol.” She adds, “We have Kosher options, hand-carved hot meals, toss-and-go salads, vegetarian meals and sandwiches.” In fact, meeting with the Las Vegas Convention Center chef to finalize the menu is one of Gallin’s final checkoffs before each show. Here, Gallin reveals more of what’s on the menu for this August (13-15) show and why it’s a must-attend event. You’re in the final stages of staging another show. Does the process get any easier? Actually, I start with a clean slate each show. The reasons being: the business climate changes, there’s things learned from the previous show and trends change. Thus, the theme of each show is different. Does it get any easier? In some ways, yes. Knowing the basic elements which have been well-received start the planning process and then those factors necessary to create the updated experience are what makes each show fresh. What’s new and noteworthy about the upcoming edition? We’re introducing a new format to the show floor to spark conversations. Two seminars will be held during show hours in one of the lounges. It’s designed to generate floor energy by discussing relevant industry issues. One seminar, for example, will be about how brands are supporting independent retailers by directing online requests to nearby stores. In general, we should be sparking conversations on adapting our business for the fast-moving changes being brought on by technology. As the only event in the U.S. where everyone is under one roof at the same time, we’re stewards for the industry and must ensure that people have ample opportunities to network and learn. If I’ve heard it once, I’ve heard it 100 times: “I met someone at the show who helped grow my business,” be it advice, a partnership or a tidbit they picked up at one of our seminars. Now more than ever, both sides of the aisle need to engage with each other and embrace new ideas. Seeing how little has been easy in this business of late, what are you doing to make things easier for attendees? First off, attending the show is easy. We offer hotel options that fit all budgets. Transportation to and from hotels is free. We’re also offering retailers from California our Magic Bus shuttle service, and we’re testing Magic Air (Hollywood Burbank Airport). The last show we bussed about 100 retailers back and forth. (Interested retailers can contact firstname.lastname@example.org.) Both are great
40 footwearplusmagazine.com • july 2018
sponsorship opportunities, by the way. We’re also working on pre-show matchmaking between brands and retailers that might not meet otherwise. Why are trade shows important in this era of disruption? I always say, “What do you gain from doing the same thing all the time?” Nothing. There are not many industries that gather in one place twice a year as we do. The value is not just seeing the usual suspects. This is an ideal opportunity to seek out those who are new. Speak with other retailers and find out what is working for them. Ask the same of vendors. Perhaps work on creating a buying group? Think about how many more conversations you can have when all you have to do is walk the aisles versus going from building to building for showroom visits. What is a notable industry change of late? Years ago, when you launched a brand you looked first to the industry trade event. Now, brands can launch direct-to-consumer online. They create an identity, learn about their consumer and grow their bank account. But in order to grow further, they’ll need to explore wholesale. Selling a pair at a time online is nice, but it’s only one channel. Brands need to be multi-channel, and a trade show enables that process to happen. Buyers also need to touch and try on product. What’s more, people want to do business with those they like and trust. With all the non-personal aspects of our world today, people need to interact face to face. Finally, brands all have a story to tell. If you don’t relate that in person, how do you expect retailers to do that effectively with their customers? What are some key trends for Spring ’19? Mules and booties. For men, a dressier athleisure shoe. But the best answer I can offer is: We’ll know after the show. This is the high you get by attending a trade event—the buzz generated from what’s trending happens on the show floor. I can’t wait to see what emerges. What are some of your final preparations? Ensuring that we have something for everyone. Now that may sound a bit lofty but, as an example, take the food menu—we aim to please a wide variety of tastes, requirements and budgets. Similarly, one of my most important and enjoyable final pre-show rituals is being on the floor during set-up to greet the exhibitors and help ensure a smooth landing. We offer cart service to assist exhibitors to their booths with their samples as well as provide tables of cleaning towels and spray for final touch-ups to displays. We’re passionate about what we do, and it’s the little things that people often remember most. What do you love most about your job? The fast pace and the people I meet and work with. The greatest joy is when you have helped connect people for success. Plus, shoepeople are some of the most philanthropic, caring and good-valued people in the world.
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