MEET THE NEW MILLENNIALS
N YC D E PA R T M E N T STO R E S G O A L L O U T
H OT F O R S N E A K E R S
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National Footwear Community Service Week Save the Date: April 21 - 27, 2013 “Taking action to support our community” National Footwea r Community Service Week t
Dozens of footwe ar companies in the USA will join to gether for one community service week every year. t Pick any day during the week of April 21-27, 2013 . t Companies ca n arrange their ow n service projects, or join with others. t Service proje cts can be small or large to suit your company. t Two Ten can help you identify a local Food Bank for a se rvice project if you do not have on e.
National Footwear Community Service Week will be held during National Volunteer Week on April 21-27. 38 companies from the footwear industry have already committed to dedicating time and personnel to the cause, and the list is growing by the day. ASICS America Corp. BBC International Bon-Ton Stores Brown Shoe Co., Inc. The Clarks Companies, N.A. Dansko Deer Stags, Inc Earth, Inc. Elan-Polo, Inc. Footwear Plus
In California Inc. J. Renee Jimlar Corporation The Jones Group Kohl’s Marc Fisher Footwear Mason Companies, Inc. Michael Kors (USA), Inc. Minnetonka New Balance Athletic Shoe, Inc.
Pentland USA, Inc. Prima Royal Enterprises, LTD Puma Quabaug Corporation The Rockport Co. R.G. Barry Corp. Rocky Brands, Inc. Schwartz & Benjamin, Inc. Shoebuy.com Skechers USA, Inc.
Steve Madden, Ltd. The Timberland Co. Under Armour, Inc. Vibram USA WEYCO Group Inc. Wolverine Worldwide, Inc. Yellow Box Corp. Zappos.com
Sponsors as of 1/18/13: H.H. Brown, Footwear Plus Email Jeanne Connolly-Horrigan at email@example.com, or call us at 781-736-1500 for more information.
ake T e s Plea ne O
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FEBRUARY 2013 16 Red, White & New Getting to know Millennials, the largest, most diverse consumer demographic in U.S. history. By Angela Velasquez
20 Q&A: RG Barry CEO Greg Tunney on why the company’s makeover is unique, successful and a story worthy of being told. By Greg Dutter
26 Trend Spotting From stud-covered shoes and single-sole pumps to driving mocs and pointed toes, Fall ’13 trends are abuzz with color and luxe materials. By Angela Velasquez
46 Puttin’ on the Ritz Department stores pull out all the stops in their New York flagships, turning shoe floors into palaces. By Lyndsay McGregor
50 Worth the Weight The athletic category beefs up a bit this fall to counterbalance the extreme minimalist movement. By Judy Leand
Caroline Diaco Publisher Greg Dutter Editorial Director Jennifer Craig Associate Publisher Nancy Campbell Trevett McCandliss Creative Directors EDITORIAL Angela Velasquez Fashion Editor Lyndsay McGregor Associate Editor Maria Bouselli Assistant Editor Kathy Passero Editor at Large Tim Jones Senior Designer Judy Leand Contributing Editor
54 No Frills Brill’s Shoes, a 77-year-old sit-and-fit, gives customers the old-fashioned service and comfort they crave. By Maria Bouselli
56 Home Alone
Melanie Prescott Circulation Manager
62 Heaven on Earth
Theodore Hoffman Special Projects Director
72 Extra, Extra Men’s messenger bags and women’s tights keep pace with the upcoming season’s runway looks. By Angela Velasquez
Laurie Guptill Production Manager
Metallic sneakers wedge their way in as one of the key looks for next season. By Angela Velasquez
Billowy clouds and dramatic skies are the setting for fall’s stand-out smoking slipper silhouette. By Angela Velasquez
ADMINISTRATION Alexandra Marinacci Operations Manager
12 Editor’s Note 14 This Just In 70 Shoe Salon 74 Kids 76 Comfort 80 Last Word On the cover: Ivy Kirzhner smoking slipper. Blouse and skirt by Blk Dnm, earrings by Elizabeth Knight, ring by Boyscouts. Photography by Jamie Isaia. Model Megan V. from IMG. From top: Lola Cruz, Easy Street, Me Too, G.H. Bass & Co., Seychelles, and Two Lips Too. Photography by Trevett McCandliss.
Mike Hoff Webmaster
OFFICES Advertising/Editorial 36 Cooper Square, 4th fl. New York, NY 10003 Tel: (646) 278-1550 Fax: (646) 278-1553 editorialrequests@ 9Threads.com Circulation 21 Highland Circle Needham, MA 02494 Tel: (800) 964-5150 Fax: (781) 453-9389 circulation@9Threads.com Corporate 9Threads 26202 Detroit Road, #300 Westlake, OH 44145 Tel: (440) 871-1300 Xen Zapis Chairman Lee Zapis President Rich Bongorno Chief Financial Officer
FOOTWEAR PLUS ™ (ISSN#1054-898X) Vol. 24 issue #2 The fashion magazine of the footwear industry is published monthly (except for bimonthly April/May and October/November editions) by Symphony Publishing NY LLC, 36 Cooper Square, 4th fl., New York, NY, 10003-7118. 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. ©2013 by Symphony Publishing NY, LLC. Printed in the United States.
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editor’s note b i g b rother , i s t h at yo u ?
Creep Show A NEWS ITEM out of the recent Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas caught my eye—in a creepy way. Manufacturers are creating next generation TVs that can actually watch you. Specifically, Samsung’s new software, dubbed S-Recommendations, provides program suggestions based on your viewing habits. So even if you feel it’s high time to graduate from your New Jersey-based reality series addictions, you will be offered a steady stream of like-minded content. There’d be no escaping the Garden State. LG takes Big Brother TV design a step further with a set that scans the viewer’s face and determines whether a child or an adult is watching, thereby delivering appropriate shows. But what if you happen to have a baby face? Will it be cartoons 24-7 for you? Or what if your viewing pleasures lean toward the more adult variety and the missus walks unexpectedly into the room? It’d sure be great if that TV could quickly sense a red face and change the channel to sports programming. All kidding aside, might these new TVs be a case of over-programming? Do they really improve our lives? Aren’t they an intrusion into our right to decide, in complete privacy, what we watch? And must we now leave an electronic trail of guilty pleasures as evidence? If I happen to enjoy watching Jerseylicious, that’s nobody else’s damn business. It’s definitely not my TV maker’s or Nielsen’s or any brand seeking to market, I presume in this case, hair products or my nearest tanning salon. I’ll admit that as an editor of a retail trade magazine my preference for privacy might run counter to marketers’ drive to know their customers as intimately as possible. Nevertheless, I don’t like the fact that my phone is following me everywhere I go, and I have zero desire to post on social media where I am. Who cares? Nor do I like the fact that my computer is a virtual memory bank of every site I visit and, for the record, the fact that every pop-up ad tries to sell me shoes. What’s more, there are cameras on almost every street corner where I live. In case you’re wondering, I have nothing to hide. In fact, I believe I lead such a pedestrian life that I can’t imagine why anyone would want to know such personal information about me. Of course, I’m kidding myself. The personal data collection market shows no signs of slowing down. If you are in the
retail business it makes sound business sense to know where consumers are going, what they are watching, reading, buying, liking, disliking, etc. It’s all potentially useful information, so long as it can be distilled in a meaningful way. Take Walt Disney World’s new electronic bracelets encoded with credit card information that will allow visitors to pay for things with a simple tap of the wrist as well as guide them to attractions. All the while, the company gains access to information on each of them—down to whether they shook Goofy’s hand. According to a report in the New York Times, Disney is banking on the $800 million-plus investment in MyMagic+ to pay much larger dividends in the long run based on the belief happier customers spend more and return more regularly. And knowing each attraction its 30 million annual visitors enjoyed and what they bought allows Disney to target market like never before. Along those lines, this month’s Special Report (p. 16) delivers insights into the macro changes the 16- to 30-year-old New Millennials demographic is undergoing. For starters, these are not your baby or echo boomers in terms of their ethnic makeup, shopping habits and moral values. Call them the New Americans, and ignore this consumer sweet spot at your own peril—the generation is bigger in size than the two aforementioned ones. That doesn’t mean baby boomers should be put out to pasture. Far from it, as our retail profile (p. 54) on the sit-and-fit specialist, Brill’s Shoes in San Bernardino, CA, reveals. While baby boomers’ brand preferences may be more established, their product and shopping needs are changing dramatically due to advancing age. Brill’s, now in its 77th year, is a fine example of how catering to those needs— by the busloads from the nearby nursing homes, in fact—makes for a profitable and sustainable business strategy. And let’s not forget our industry’s proverbial saving grace: Everyone wears shoes. Therefore, every demographic group is a mine that offers potential rewards. Any Big Brother-like technologies that help glean insights into 300 million-plus Americans cannot be all bad. Which brings me back to that news item about the latest TVs. Samsung’s OLED TV is capable of showing two full-screen programs simultaneously. Viewers don a pair of special glasses to watch his or her show. Just think of all the good that can stem from Americans no longer having to fight over the remote!
ILLUSTRATION BY TIM JONES
Technology’s increasing reach into our personal lives might be crossing the line in some cases, but is it a necessary evil?
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THIS JUST IN
Italian Dressing Menâ€™s fashion week in Milan and Florence had fellas sporting their A game. By Melodie Jeng
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Red, White & New
Take heed, the Millennials have a set of values and behavioral traits like no prior generation. By Angela Velasquez MEET THE MILLENNIAL. Born between 1980 and 2000, he or she is part of the largest generation this country has ever encountered. By 2020, the U.S. Census Bureau estimates Millennials will surge to 90 million, thanks in part to immigration and burgeoning Hispanic communities. Today, minorities make up 39 percent of Millennials compared with 27 percent of Baby Boomers, but don’t expect Millennials to take notice because it is considered the most color-blind and tolerant generation. They are confident, emotional, liberal, optimistic and hungry for change. You won’t find them in church every Sunday, or as likely to enlist in the military. You are more likely to see them in a tattoo parlor, as four in 10 are inked. Or maybe they are in an artisan class, learning how to decorate their own cakes or brew their own beers, as Millennials are more interested in the experience than the product. Their do-it-yourself approach to life is counterintuitive to everything you may have heard about their quick-paced nature, inability to hold undivided attention and dependency on their parents. They might have demanding Veruca Salt-like tendencies, but it stems from their drive to be efficient rather than entitlement. Their minds—and fingers—move a mile a minute, but the most educated generation in history has an iCal of tasks to tackle before they hit the gym and get drinks with their likeminded colleagues, with whom they share once taboo information, like their salary. And if you think Millennials are lazy, self-indulgent, coddled and more in tune with their smartphone apps than global issues, think again. They are supporting politicians who they’ve developed a connection to through savvy politicos with robust Twitter and Facebook accounts (which are often updated by a Millennial staffer), donating money to victims of natural disasters and organizing online petitions on everything from gun control to student loan reform from said iPhones. In fact, Millennials contributed 19 percent of the vote in the 2012 election, forcing issues such as gay and women’s rights onto the agendas of stodgy, white males in charge. Add public education and immigration reform to the list of hot topics as the Hispanic Millennial population begins to reach voting age. Scared yet? Relax. You’re in good hands. Millennials are prepared for the day when Boomers eventually retire (many for a second time) and responsibility lands on their shoulders. As children of the Great Recession, they
are wary of falling into the same financial traps such as home ownership and large families, as their parents jumped into. That’s not to say they don’t value family life—most report having close ties with their parental units. Good thing too, because they anticipate multi-generational households as the wave of the future, as six in 10 Millennials believe it will be their responsibility to provide financial assistance or housing for their aging parents. They make thoughtful purchases. They can’t be tricked into believing whatever style or color a brand chooses to promote is the must-have item. Millennials will get that confirmation from their peers and online consumer reviews. The youngest members of this generation are still economically dependent on their parents, but by 2025 money will be in their pocket with 75 percent of the workforce being Millennial. As Enrique Figueroa, a professor in Latino Affairs at the University of Wisconsin puts it: “I hope it is obvious to companies that Millennials will be making the buying choices for the next 50 or 60 years. There are no demographics that large that have ever had that much buying power.” Pampered and lazy? Not exactly. A Pew Research Center survey from last December reports that 63 percent of young adults aged 25 to 34 knew someone who boomeranged back to their parents’ homes, or never moved out to begin with. The allure of free cable and pressed laundry might have tempted some back home, but let’s be real, most twentysomethings would sacrifice Meatloaf Mondays for a place of their own. Despite the fact that millions of Millenials waited out the recession in graduate schools, colleges and community colleges in hopes to land that perfect job, Joan Snyder Kuhl, a Gen-Y speaker and consultant, says nearly a third of this generation is underemployed, meaning they are working part time while looking for a full-time position—amounting to an income that is difficult to live on independently. Underemployment, combined with increasing living expenses, student loan debt and degrees in low-demand pockets of the workforce have driven Millennials back home to parents (with arms stretched wide) out of necessity. Lisa Orrell, a generations relations expert and consultant, adds that Boomer parents have turned society into a warm and nurturing place for children—even adult children. “Millennials have been asked about their feelings, have been encouraged to tell their opinions, have been told they are a super star and that their parents are there to love and support them for
SINGLE WARY ACTIVE
LIBERAL IMPATIENT QUICK COLOR-BLIND
EDUCATED IN-DEBT THOUGHTFUL WIRED VOCAL AWARE
ILLUSTRATION BY MCCANDLISS & CAMPBELL
CONFIDENT DIVERSE NON-VIOLENT MOTIVATED TATTOOED INDUSTRIOUS
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their entire lives,” she explains. “They are wired that way.” It’s not just parents And this is when one Millennial stereotype becomes fact: If they don’t like who smothered their kids with gold stars and glitzy trophies for participa- something, they don’t stick with it. In her report Chasing Youth Culture and tion, either. As Orrell notes, the government has become more pro-kid with Getting It Right, Wells says Millennials are eager for experiences and are bike helmet and car seat laws—something she can’t say she ever experienced committed to live life to the fullest. “They don’t think they are any better than in her own childhood. the Boomers; Millennials just have different tools to make changes,” Dhawan Millennial advisor and leadership expert, Erika Dhawan, believes older offers. And they want change quickly. From the time they were born, they generations confuse Millennials’ desire to share their opinions with self- have seen the same problems—climate change, unemployment and mass indulgence, where in reality they just want to be heard. For instance, if they shootings, to name a few—rotate on repeat. The problems slip into the media have a problem with a restaurant, they’ll take it to Yelp. “We have to debunk limelight only to fade out unchanged and then rear their ugly heads again the myth that all Millennials feel entitled. They grew up in a different time a few years later, often bigger and worse. Dhawan says, “They want things where not only it is more acceptable to share your opinion, but that they can done quickly because they know that in order to make a difference you have share it online with a much greater audience,” she explains. to act quickly.” As a result, their buying habits are based on recommendations. Forget This Millennial trait is especially true when it comes to work. “This gentraditional print media. Jacqueline Van Dine, brand manager of Ahnu, calls eration grew up with wires out of every part of their body,” Orrell says. As a Millennials a “truth-seeking generation” that want third party endorsements result, they have become incredibly efficient, something that she encourages from reliable sources. “Millennials are a social dependent generation,” her clients to embrace. Contrary to the lazy label, Millennials are extremely Dhawan adds. Whereas Boomers are attracted to sleek websites, Millennials hardworking and have mastered multitasking like no other generation beare swayed with user-generated content Facebook posts and reviews. “They fore. Their childhoods—a balance of demanding school schedules and an are three times more likely than Boomers agenda of extracurricular activities—have to turn to social channels. They trust people kept them moving from one thing to the more than what a non-voice recommends,” next. Orrell says, “They just don’t undershe explains. In general, Pew Research stand why they have to continue to do Center reports Millennials cast a wary eye things the old way. If something can be on media, perhaps a by-product of protecdone remotely, or could help more people, tive parents or “Wharholism,” a term Tina then they want to do it that way.” Wells, CEO of Buzz Marketing Group, While experts don’t think Millennials are coined to describe the influx of celebrities changing jobs any faster than previous genwho are famous without any real credibility erations, Orrell reports 73 percent say they (a.k.a. the Kardashians). would leave a job if the company’s corpoThat might be why more companies rate social responsibility values didn’t hold —Lisa Orrell, author, are investing in revamped, user-friendly up to their expectations. “That’s a big deal. Millennials Incorporated websites rather than signing endorsement There are companies that have to impledeals with the latest celeb. Rolando Garcia ment CSR into their structure because it director of marketing at CMerit and a Millennial himself, says, “We’re well- attracts good employees,” she explains. informed customers. If you can put enough data about a product out there, The same goes for brands. As Garcia suggests, “They don’t buy Nike anywe will feel better about the purchase.” His brands Gotta Flurt and Evos will more just because it is Nike.” Krost agrees, “Companies with giveback prolaunch new websites in the first quarter of the year that are built for customers grams, like Seed, Toms and Warby Parker, are traits that Millennials love. to post content. “We want to make a forum where they can discuss any topic And then they share it online with their friends and family.” For example, they want. Millennials need a sense of community and they are willing to Teva has struck a chord with feel-good stories like Lucky the handicapped share their experience,” he adds. penguin the company built a shoe for and with its clean shoreline initiative, Similarly, Facebook and Twitter have been essential forums for Bearpaw A Pair For a Foot. “It’s not just a Santa Barbara problem, or a U.S. problem. to connect directly with its consumers. Jessica Rennie, Bearpaw product line It appeals to a wider demographic,” says Erika Brakken, Teva’s marketing manger, says, “The interaction we have on a daily or weekly basis has cre- director. ated a strong sense that we are a brand they will stick with.” By keeping the According to the Boston Consulting Group, Millennials prefer to engage content light and fun and asking for feedback, Rennie says consumers feel in a cause campaign by encouraging others to support it or by participating like they are friends with the company and, in return, the company hopes to in fundraising events. It makes sense since Millennials have had to volunteer earn their loyalty. for school credit and scholarships for most of their childhoods. And access to Chelsea Krost, Millennial expert and radio talk show host, agrees: “You technology and globalization has stretched their altruistic nature across borhave to have a stellar social media presence, a solid following and produce ders. Dhawan suggests Facebook has helped humanize big issue problems, great content to capture their attention.” She notes the Obama campaign did now that users can friend people from all over the world and put a face to the an excellent job at this during the 2012 election by reaching out to liberal names and issues. Millennials on every social outlet, including Pandora. The Boston Consulting Orrell suggests that when you put all the pieces together it makes a generaGroup reports Millennials maintain significantly larger social networks than tion that wants to enjoy life and improve the quality of life for others. “They’ve non-Millennials and that they feel validated when the community “likes” seen their parents’ 401K accounts erode after years of dedication to one emtheir posts. Then, that digital connection carries over to reality, as Millenni- ployer and they’ve been raised by parents who missed their baseball games als tend to dine, shop and travel with people outside their immediate family. because they had to work. They want to break that tradition,” she states. Or, in Obama’s case, turned 30-second podcast ads into votes. Might the generation called every bratty name in the book actually be“They want close ties and that’s the big difference from older generations,” come one of the kindest, brightest and efficient generations we’ve seen? Orrell notes. From her workshops at corporations such as Procter and Gamble, “They’ve twisted a bad situation into a positive,” Krost says. Sure, she admits she’s found that Millennials are highly communicative, expect to speak to their to have come in contact with fellow Millennials who are spoiled, but Krost managers at least once a day and befriend colleagues and bosses. They share believes that as her generation matures it will learn from these mistakes. information about bonuses and look out for one another, despite the fact that “We have too many smart people who are already brainstorming and planit’s a competitive job market. “It’s a kumbaya group. They like to work as a ning ways to implement change. It’s going to be exciting to see what they are team. They got each other’s backs and it makes employers crazy,” she explains. capable of.” •
“This generation grew up with wires out of every part of their body.”
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Walk new ground.
Come visit us at OR booth #29117W and at PLATFORM. www.ahnu.com
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BY GREG DUTTER
THE ACQUIRING KIND Having recently closed the books on its most profitable year ever, Greg Tunney, CEO of RG Barry, makers of Dearfoams, Baggallini and Foot Petals, says the company is primed for more acquisitions—and plenty more growth in the years ahead. FTER 65 YEARS, RG Barry has officially entered the next phase of its history and CEO Greg Tunney couldn’t be more excited about what this new era presents for the Columbus, OHbased company, its investors and retail partners. It’s been a seven-year process since Tunney came on as CEO, but the corporate makeover is complete and now bearing fruit. “When I got here we were making, on average, an operating profit of $6 or $7 million per year and, last year, we made $26 million in operating profit,” Tunney says. “The market cap back then was in a range of $60 or $70 million and now it’s $160 million.” Need more? “We made more money in the last five years than the company made in its first 60 years combined,” he adds. No longer just a slipper company, the new RG Barry is a diversified brand management company that spans the slipper, handbags and comfort insert markets. Having shifted out of the licensee business a few years back, which freed up tons of capital, the company set its sights on owning brands—starting with becoming a part of the $9 billion handbag industry with the acquisition of Baggallini 18 months ago. And then becoming part of the $1 billion comfort inserts market with the acquisition of Foot Petals soon after. Tunney says the decision to branch out beyond the comfort zones of slippers and, for that matter, footwear, has to do with ROI. Specifically, the accessory market ROI is just too good to ignore. For starters, he notes accessory categories are higher margin businesses on the wholesale and retail sides than apparel and footwear. Take handbags, for example. Tunney cites the first rule of thumb: “I’m never out of size.” Secondly, the category is hot and shows little signs of cooling. As for the comfort insert business, Tunney notes that Foot Petals basically sells itself and, if presented correctly by retailers, can improve upon the customer’s footwear purchase, which increases the odds that a satisfied shopper is likely a repeat one, too. “You can imagine how much Dr. Scholl’s owns of that market, but if we only own 10 percent of that, that’d be a nice sized business,” Tunney notes. Both Baggallini and Foot Petals were performing well (growth rates of 15 and 20 percent annually, respectively, for the previous five years) but needed the financial investment to take them to their next levels. And that’s where Tunney couldn’t wait to step in with RG Barry’s assets and expertise. “We saw them as emerging brands that we could own, put onto our platform and leverage,” he says. Both brands met the company’s 10-point acquisition filter, beginning with being in line with RG
Barry’s new mission statement: “Fashion and function for a great life.” “The one common theme in all of our acquisitions going forward is the brands have a dual play,” he says, adding the first two acquisitions have already paid off. Now it’s a case of rinse and repeat. “We spent more than $40 million acquiring the two brands and today we have more than $40 million in cash again on our books,” he says. “So we’ll continue to make acquisitions as we find emerging brands that fit into our portfolio.” Call it a complete company makeover, a process Tunney embarked on by changing the cultural mindset of its employees before diving into any acquisitions. Tunney opted for the behind-the-scenes approach believing that without its people on board any new and improved RG Barry would remain a pipe dream. Tunney says even the board of directors was a bit perplexed that the new CEO didn’t come in right away with a flashy announcement of his arrival and shake the sleepy slipper
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Visit us at: FN PLATFROM Atlanta Shoe Market
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O&A company out of its slumber. “My experience has been it’s much more difficult to change culture in order to thrive going forward than just fixing the balance sheet,” he says. The process took a couple of years, which involved major investments with the Covey Group and other best practices to decide who was going to be the part of the team and who wasn’t. “We decided to get the team right before we go out and execute,” Tunney adds. Flush with capital, Tunney and his team are full-steam ahead on finding more acquisitions—the footwear space included. In fact, the goal is to add at least one per year over the next five years. Anything less and Tunney says it’d be a failure based on the hard work that put RG Barry into the position to make these deals. “That’s what we believe is our What are you reading? Jim destiny,” he says. “We’ve spent a lot of time Collins’ Great By Choice. I in the first five years developing the founwish he wrote it 20 years ago. dation and the execution and we can proIt would have saved me from vide additional infrastructure, capital and a lot of mistakes I’ve made best practices.” during my career. Tunney believes RG Barry’s makeover is a unique industry story that needs to What one word best be told. “Most companies in our indusdescribes you? It’s a phrase. try aren’t publicly run so you really don’t I can go from a meeting know the numbers, although many say about the balance sheet of business is great and growing. Well, quite a company to a product frankly, not everything is great or growing meeting about colors to at many of these companies,” he says. In an HR discussion about contrast, RG Barry’s numbers are a matorganizational structure and ter of public record. “We are pretty proud people often say, “Greg gets it.” of what we have been able to accomplish,” he says, believing the best is yet to come. What is inspiring you most Five years down the road, Tunney enviright now? My two oldest sions sales of $250 million annually. “If kids are getting married we could add another five companies in in April and May of this the next five years, we could exceed that year. Watching them go $250 million,” Tunney offers. “When I got through all the pomp and here we were less than $100 million, so circumstance leading up that’d be a pretty good ride.” to those big days is pretty inspiring. Why shift from a licensee-driven portfolio to owning brands? Who would be your most It seemed like the more we grew those licenses the more they wanted to charge a bigger fee. So it’s like, do you want to rent an apartment or do you want to buy a house? We made a conscious decision to own brands instead of renting them; also realizing they could be taken away at some point. We exited out of the Nautica deal, which was a pretty big business for us, and we did not renew our Levi’s and Superga agreements. But through that process we accumulated in excess of $40 million to buy Baggallini and Foot Petals. Last year was really the first full fiscal year (ends July 1) of owning those, and that’s why operating profits went from $6 million to $26 million.
these other businesses they would be glad to support us. So we put together a 10-step filter to rate potential acquisitions. We looked at 11 different accessory sectors. Handbags is where we found Baggallini, which is probably the best acquisition I have made in my career. We really like the bag business and, going forward, I think it wouldn’t be uncommon to see us purchasing other bag companies. And in regard to comfort inserts, Foot Petals owns the female side of that business, so it would not be unreasonable to see us look for a male comfort insert brand. Now I don’t know if you will see us buy a slipper business, but I don’t think you’d be surprised if you saw us buy a sandal company, which is counter seasonal to slippers. And I’m not against buycoveted dinner guest? I am ing a shoe company, except that we have a major foodie, so it would be found accessory companies typically have chef Ronny Emborg. a much higher return than shoe companies. Nevertheless, I would love to buy a What is your favorite food? pure play shoe brand. We’ve been looking, Mexican. I grew up out west. but we just haven’t found one that really is a fit according to our filter. So if you know What is you most guilty of a good one, I’d love to know (laughs). pleasure? Surfing in Central America. What is fueling Baggallini’s growth? First of all, it’s a real brand with a real When is the next surfing story. It’s the result of two flight attenvacation? This May in dants, Dixie Powers and Ann Simmons, Punta Mita, which is about who were flying all over the world but 50 miles north of Puerta couldn’t find any handbags that were Vallarta, Mexico. The water designed in such a way that organized all temperature is 80 degrees, of their items. So 15 years ago they decidit’s a long, clean, glassy ed to develop handbags that are lightbreak—ideal for a long weight, have organizational functionalboarder like me—and that ity, and can be done in bright colors that month is when the south are fun and exciting. That is the essence of swell hits. Baggallini today. The brand truly has the double play, whereas most handbag plays What might people be are strictly fashion. Baggallini’s colors, surprised to know about materials and styling have fashion appeal, you? When people get to and customers will tell you how much know me they are surprised they love the organizational aspects. It’s to learn that I have zero ego. the same with our slippers: We think we make some beautiful designs, but at the end of the day they are extremely comfortable. And Foot Petals is probably the epitome of functionality. [Founder] Tina Aldatz had a dream to make inserts for sexy shoes. Can it get any more functional than a comfort insert? That’s why you will see us purchasing brands that have a fashion angle and some type of functionality. Fashion comes and goes, but the functionality is what brings the customer back. To that end, Baggallini and Foot Petals consumers are cult-like in their allegiances to the brands. Lastly, Baggallini only has two promotional events a year and Foot Petals never goes on sale. We’ll take it out of the store before we allow somebody to promote it. When you take into consideration just how many footwear brands go on sale, I think that is a unique feature to both of these brands. It’s also one of the reasons why you won’t see us acquiring a private label company. We like the dynamics of full-price branded businesses. Dearfoams is a promotional brand, so we already have one in our stall.
OFF THE CUFF
What other categories are you looking at for potential acquisitions? First, I wish I could say I was the author of this strategy. But when I got here some of our key accessories buyers, who act as a catchall buying handbags, slippers, socks, sunglasses—you name it—said that they couldn’t buy more slippers from us because, in some cases, we were doing 100 percent of their volume between Dearfoams and private label. But if we ever got into
In addition to functionality, what else might be contributing to
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Baggallini’s success? Part of its strength is price. It trades in a range of $80 to $200, which is a pretty sensitive area with respect to the bag market. But in terms of quality, we have 100 percent inspection rate on all bags. I can tell you there are $500 bags that don’t have that rating. We are definitely in a niche. We don’t make leather handbags except for some trims because the brand DNA is lightness and travel-friendly. Now people have inquired about doing shoes for us as a license agreement, but that’d be much further down the road. Between luggage and small leathers, there are a lot of other categories that are much more natural extensions. Having said that, we love the brand as it stands. When you make an acquisition, you always hold your breath and ask, “I wonder what skeletons are in the closet?” Baggallini has been better than advertised. They have 2,700 independent boutique accounts and we have started to layer in larger non-promotional chains. We have a successful program with Dillard’s and are looking to roll out in Von Maur and Nordstrom next year. Do you have plans to consolidate the acquisitions in Columbus? No. Baggallini was founded in Portland, Oregon, and that’s where it’s still based. It’s a great place for design. And we let them run the product, marketing, selling—the face to the customer—while Columbus takes over the backroom, be it the sourcing, supply chain, logistics, finance and systems. We believe that’s where we bring the best synergy. It’s no different with Foot Petals: their offices are still in New Jersey and Tina is out in L.A. doing her thing for us. It’s a model we think we can repeat as we approach other companies. Basically, we think that DNA is too special and unique to uproot. If we bought a sandal company based in San Diego, for example, we wouldn’t move it because, quite frankly, we would probably screw it up. My take is brands are all about people and they have the passion and vision to make those brands happen. Dixie and Ann, for example, were high school graduates turned flight attendants that had no capital or money, but because of their vision they made it happen. Tina’s story is very similar. We are very upfront in our acquisition meetings: If they say they want our check and they’ll give us the keys, then we will run away from the deal. We are looking for company owners that love the business and want to continue to be a part of it. Are there a lot of companies that could potentially meet your filter? The company has to have a certain amount of volume. But what you find is there are a lot of $10 million and less companies that are so far from really getting the traction that they need. My concern right now is not so much the amount of companies we can look at, but getting through to the quality ones. There are a lot of labels out there where people are just doing stuff. We are looking for people that have got brands that actually have a soul to them and are something that we can build upon. That’s the challenge: finding the next Baggallini or Foot Petals. Aren’t there a lot of other companies looking for such brands as well? One of the advantages we have is our niche of $40 or $50 million acquisitions. We love that type of size. VF Corp. or Wolverine, for example, can’t even look at a $50 million company. It won’t move the needle for them. In fact, I read that VF said it’s next acquisition sweet spot is around $1 billion. And Wolverine just made a $1 billion acquisition with the PLG brands. So I think we have an advantage in that we are a good alternative for a brand in that $20 million to $50 million range that can become part of a publicly held, top-performing company and get the benefits of all that. Many brands of this size are still in their relative infancies, no? Baggallini was a $20 million acquisition, but we bought it because we think it could become a $100 million business. We bought Foot Petals because we think this is a business that we can take between $50 million and $100 million.
1/18/13 3:36 PM
Speaking of Foot Petals, how do you get retailers to realize the sales opportunity the category presents? If you could help me on that, that’d be great (laughs). Seriously, if you look at Dillard’s, we are selling between 7,000 and 8,000 units a week. And that’s just reorders every week where they then sell it all at full price. Zappos has also figured out how to take somebody who is buying a high heel, for example, and when that customer checks out a message pops up offering Foot Petals. She is already spending a decent amount on the shoes and for $6 she can actually improve the product she is buying. Sales are up about 130 percent this year with them. But I will say traditional shoe stores are a tougher bunch to convince.
led to a fusion between what people wear at home and what they wear outside. Slippers just fit into today’s lifestyle. And it’s a matter of us now interpreting silhouettes that can be that fusion between casual and slipper wear. For example, the current boat shoe and recent moccasin trends had slipper versions. It represents a real change in dynamics from when it was just a basic silhouette suitable only in the home. It has made the category more relevant. I’ll also add that it definitely doesn’t hurt to have brands like Ugg selling $150 slippers. It makes the category cool and exciting—like the current trend in smoking slippers. Dearfoams, which has the No. 1 market recognition, sells versions at a value of $30. We love it when those brands make slippers cool.
It seems like a no-brainer. It is. Shoe buyers should also consider the fact that no matter who shows up at their desk from the wholesale side, it’s really to buy their shoes that most likely will cannibalize brands they already carry. Whereas when we show up, we are offering a product that addresses fit and comfort issues that helps convert footwear sales. In addition, Foot Petals products turn faster than shoes, because there are no sizes. And let’s not forget footwear’s dirty secret where the uppers and bottoms are beautiful but the insides are often an afterthought. Many brands don’t use state-ofthe-art technology like Poron. They use inferior components because that’s not what necessarily sells the shoe. So our products are definitely an enhancement. In addition, comfort inserts is one of the few businesses where the men’s market is bigger than women’s. Men put comfort inserts into work boots, casual shoes and everything else. That’s why we believe we have the propensity to own 10 percent of this ($1 billion) market with the addition of a men’s brand.
How would you assess the retail market in general right now? You are not seeing the big jumps nearly as much as before. You are seeing the good operators figuring out how to do it better each and every year. Five and 10 percent growth is the type of environment we’re in. Those are the celebrations. The good old days where someone was jumping 50 percent >79
Might it be easier to launch your own men’s brand in this space? I’m kind of a brand guy so I would be more interested in finding the right brand. Although people often say to me now, “You’ve got the money, so why not build it yourself?” But watch VF and Wolverine, for example. VF has got billions in cash and could build anything they want. But they don’t. They acquire brands they like. And why did Wolverine buy Keds, Sperry and the others? They could have done it themselves—they’ve got the sourcing, sales force and knowledge. But they wanted the brands to build upon those foundations. I’m the same way. What is it about the power of great brands? People buy brands because they enhance their lives. They provide solutions. Why does someone pay more for an iPhone? They could buy any cheap phone they want, but they pay more for one of those because there’s a brand value that consumers relate to and enjoy. We believe that brands are going to continue to be more powerful, especially if you know how to manage them. Forget about now and look five, 10 and 15 years out as the world becomes more globally connected as communications continue to improve. Moving on to the soul of RG Barry, what’s new with Dearfoams and the slipper category as a whole? It’s a growing category. When I got to RG Barry seven years ago slippers were more at-home wear. But with the whole casualization of America going on—even college kids wearing pajamas and slippers to class—it has
1/18/13 3:37 PM
Point and Click Embellished flats toe the line between day and evening.
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26 footwearplusmagazine.com â€˘ february 2013
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The classic driving moc is revved up with color. Diba Sperry Top-Sider
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Loaf Around Slipper-inspired loafers fuzz the line between sleep and street.
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Macy’s Herald Square flagship: home to the Western Hemisphere’s largest shoe department.
Puttin’ on the Ritz BLAME IT ALL on Carrie Bradshaw. When it was estimated that the Sex and the City character owned roughly $40,000 worth of designer shoes (regardless of the fact that it’s fiscally impossible to do so—and still make rent—just by penning a weekly column about her life) women worldwide didn’t shake their heads at her silliness—they aspired to achieve it. Today women’s fashion footwear boasts gross profit margins as high as 50 percent, and market research firm NPD Group reports that sales grew 1.1 percent to $21.9 billion in the 12 months ended in June. “Footwear has been doing well for many years, even through the recession,” points out Poonam Goyal, senior retail analyst at Bloomberg Industries. “But because we’re in a recovery period it makes it easier for [department stores] to grab another piece of the wallet.” So New York’s top dogs finally got to thinking: Shouldn’t we give the city’s shoe addicts what they really crave? In August, Macy’s began rolling out its 63,000-square-foot women’s shoe department with more than 250,000 pairs in stock at the flagship with
Department stores reignite an intense rivalry with explosive, over-the-top footwear emporiums in their New York flagships. By Lyndsay McGregor
claims it would be the world’s largest. (For the record, it has since been trumped by the 96,000 square feet of Level Shoe District in Dubai.) A month later Saks unveiled 7,000 square feet of added shoe-selling space at its main store on Fifth Avenue. And Barneys New York opened a unisex designer shoe floor that is more than 40 percent bigger and features 350 more styles than its formerly separate offerings for men and women in its Upper East Side flagship. And the ball doesn’t stop there: Lord & Taylor is embarking on a massive renovation that could cost around $75 million, dedicating the second level of its Fifth Avenue flagship entirely to footwear, and Nordstrom will reportedly open a 285,000-square-foot space on West 57th Street in the coming years, which will no doubt stake its claim in the city’s department stores’ game of Top This! when it comes to shoe presentations. “Space in department stores is highly competitive and to have the opportunity to grow that space says a lot,” says Matt Priest, president
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Saks has added more contemporary shoe labels to its flagship.
of the Footwear Retailers and Distributors Association (FDRA). “For several years now footwear has really been a growth opportunity for retailers, especially for department stores, so if they see an opportunity to create buzz for the industry and product and attract consumers, they will.” Blame it on the recession—in a good way, says Courtney Albert, consultant at boutique strategy and management firm, The Parker Avery Group. “[During the recession] consumers slowed down on their spending overall, but were sporadically still willing to splurge on certain categories, predominantly investment pieces,” she says. “For example, shoes.” Elizabeth Kanfer, senior fashion and co-brand director of women’s accessories at Saks Fifth Avenue, agrees. “Over the last five to eight years, footwear has seen a tremendous growth in popularity. Footwear is a focus— from the fashion customer looking for a statement shoe to the working woman in search of the perfect pump,” she says. To meet those demands, Saks chose to amp up its 10022-SHOE strategy by bringing together a balanced assortment that’s less dependent on big brands and formal offerings, and added more contemporary options to its merchandise mix. At the floor’s perimeter, undulating walls create a flow of brands rather than a row of individual shops. The fluid layout is designed to encourage browsing and ensure flexibility for the store as collections expand. “It’s a wonderful excuse to offer the best of fashion as well as the opportunity to test and market emerging brands,” Kanfer says. “The only drawback is that we have to be extremely focused on the footwear market and industry trends to ensure we are best in class.” Labels that hit the floor at Saks for the first time include Alejandro
Ingelmo, Tabitha Simmons, Pierre Hardy and Joseph Altuzarra. Meanwhile a VIP room (complete with plush seating, refreshments and an adjacent fitting room) and an expert shoe repair and refurbishing service add a touch of luxe. And to make the shopping experience all the more seamless, customers can now go straight to the eighth floor via the 10022-SHOE express elevator and associates can check inventories on state-of-the-art computer terminals placed throughout the floor. Eleven blocks north of Saks, Barneys has blown out the fifth floor of its Madison Avenue flagship where, for the first time, men’s and women’s footwear live together in a gold and marble accented home designed by architecture firm Yabu Pushelberg. Avant-garde brands like Narcisco Rodriguez, Balenciaga and Pierre Hardy have moved into the gallery-like space with Prada, Chanel, Christian Louboutin, Manolo Blahnik and more, while iPad stations sprinkled throughout offer access to barneys.com and its blog, The Window. But Macy’s Herald Square location takes home the title for Manhattan’s largest shoe department, with a revamp of its second floor boasting twice the amount of previous stock. “[Macy’s has] seen the success at Saks,” Goyal notes. “Sometimes when you’re the first you question whether the investment will pay off. When you’ve seen predecessors pay off, you have more certainty that yours will.” It’s a far cry from the Macy’s of yore. Now 430 shoes-only employees wield wireless devices for on-the-spot transactions and quick product retrieval to reduce shopper wait times, and a 45-seat in-salon café serves signature coffee, champagne and chocolates. “Macy’s has very much 2013 february • footwearplusmagazine.com 47
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E XT R EM E M A K EOV ERS MAC Y ’ S
The Lowdown: Spanning 63,000 square feet, the ladies-only footwear space is the biggest in the Big Apple and North America. The Names: Sleek shop-in-shops from Calvin Klein, Coach and Michael Kors join 29 new vendors, including Juicy Couture, L.A.M.B. and French Sole. The Decor: Heritage marble is accented with modern wood and dramatic lighting to add a touch of warmth to the customdesigned Herald Square Café.
BA R N EYS
The Lowdown: A 22,000-square-foot unisex space that is more than 40 percent bigger and features 350 more styles than its formerly separate offerings for men and women. The Names: Big shots include Narcisco Rodriguez, Balenciaga and Pierre Hardy. The Decor: Architecture firm Yabu Pushelberg with Barneys’ Creative Director Dennis Freedman designed a gallery-like aesthetic with white Italian marble walls, translucent brassmesh glass figures and stainless steel tables.
SAK S FI F T H AV E NUE
The Lowdown: The shoe floor with its own zip code grew to 32,150 square feet to bring together the store’s entire women’s footwear assortment. The Names: Alejandro Ingelmo, Brunello Cucinelli, Jason Wu and Tabitha Simmons join Prada, Chanel and more.
emulated the higher-end shoe boutiques and it makes sense,” Goyal adds. “Before when you would allocate a small section, you were stacking shoes, whereas now you’re displaying them in a boutique fashion. By spacing shoes out and showing more of them, you’re increasing your sales and the sales of that brand.” Sleek new shop-in-shops from Calvin Klein, Coach, Michael Kors and Cole Haan enhance the boutique experience and prices across the floor range from $49 to $1,600. “It will be interesting to see if there are, or will be, any major spikes in other categories because of the increase of foot traffic in-store,” Albert notes. With all this money being pumped into ladies-only shoe floors, you’d be forgiven for thinking that most men wander the city streets in socks. Not so. To coincide with its 111th anniversary last September, Bergdorf Goodman expanded its men’s shoe section and re-named it, The Shoe Library. Previously housed in a small area towards the back of the store, the new space is three times larger,
The Decor: A 70-foot-long curving wall of hand-blown Murano glass bubbles makes for an impressive centerpiece, while at the floor’s perimeter, tall, undulating walls create a flow of brands rather than a row of individual shops. And the adjacent café is a must meeting place for the shoe-obsessed.
The Shoe Library at Bergdorf Goodman.
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having taken over what was once the grooming section. Its shelves are lined with styles from Tom Ford, Salvatore Ferragamo, Prada, Giorgio Armani, Alexander McQueen, Jimmy Choo and more. “New York is the retail capital of the world, and for the footwear industry it’s the capital,” Priest says. “A lot of these brands and exciting designers are headquartered in New York and department stores have flagship stores there. What better way to make a splash than open a brand new expanded footwear space in New York?” Goyal echoes his sentiment: “If you’re going to make such an investment and statement you’re going to make it in your largest department or flagship and, for these stores, that’s in New York.” And while Albert points out the possibility of over saturating the market, she adds that no one wants to be the one player who missed the opportunity to win big. “So far, I think that each shoe floor has a very distinct consumer, experience and product selection,” she notes. “But these differences could start to become slighter if one floor begins to noticeably outperform the rest and the reaction is to assimilate to the leader’s model.” Watch this space as the Manhattan games of top my shoe department have only just begun. •
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ATHLETIC P R E V IE W: FA L L 2 01 3
Worth the Weight
Most athletic shoes hitting the market next fall aren’t quite as minimal as recent seasons, but the added features—and a few grams here and there— address specific comfort and performance needs. By Judy Leand
VER THE PAST couple of years, minimal footwear and its less-is-more mantras regarding weight, components and cushioning swept the athletic market. The craze profoundly affected the business strategies of vendors and retailers who had successfully pushed bulky Air, Gel, Abzorb cushioning technologies for decades. Perhaps old habits die hard as changes are afoot again as the minimal design aesthetic bulks up—a bit—for Fall ’13. The results are a lot of sleek shoes with added comfort features, protection and more weight. But what’s a few extra grams between friends, especially when the overall athletic market continues to be robust from a sales perspective. “Athletic footwear continues to drive the sporting goods industry as a whole, and we’re seeing the most growth in running and basketball, the two largest markets,” confirms VJ Mayor, director of marketing and communications for the Sports & Fitness Industry Association. He cites a move by large vendors to offer customized products and the push toward more technical advances in construction as significant trends to watch for this year. On the heels of Nike Free’s wildly successful color palette, industry experts say the use of bright colors will be prevalent too. For example, Skora’s Form running shoe features a blue camouflage pattern dyed into the leather. “We want to tell a different story and share a new view of what running shoes should look like,” says David Sypniewski, founder and CEO. So without further ado, here’s a breakdown of the key technical developments and design trends in the athletic footwear category for fall.
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RUNNING: Road Rage The gist is that lightweight still rules the roost, but brands are moving away from the purely minimal, instead offering more cushioning and protection. “Minimal is not slowing down, but it is shaking out. Lightweight cushioning is now key,” says Sypniewski. “The pendulum is swinging back to what runners really want: less technology, less B.S. and less control of the foot.” He adds, “The bulk of the market is redefining the footwear and redesigning it holistically by finding a balance between ground feel and flexibility.” Ted Fitzpatrick, product manager of Reebok Running, concurs. “The minimal footwear segment is reaching maturity in specialty stores and will soon plateau at the mall,” he says. “Lightweight and minimal won’t go away, but layering additional function and solutions will win over consumers.” Fitzpatrick also contends that going forward, “growth will come from new solutions addressing the core, everyday runner as well as emerging running segments.” At Saucony, Pat O’Malley, senior vice president of global product, believes that extreme minimalism is slowing down, but “minimal for the masses” is
growing. “There’s an evolution of existing technology, such as engineering in the heel to forefoot differential. We’re looking at runners’ gaits and are engineering shoes to work with their forms,” he explains. “Constructions will feature more seamless designs, fewer overlays and less stitching, which will help make the shoes lighter and more comfortable.” Aesthetically, bright hues will still be part of the equation, but O’Malley believes the days of “throwing lots of obnoxious colors together are over.” Speaking of new, Tony Post, former CEO of Vibram FiveFingers, will unveil his new venture, Topo Athletic, at this month’s Outdoor Retailer show. The Newton, MA-based brand aims to offer functional, lightweight benefits in a modern design aesthetic. “It’s not a FiveFingers or a minimalist concept,” he says. “It’s an interesting new concept built around a couple of key values.” A big one being innate amplification, which takes the body’s natural biomechanics and supports and amplifes that with the shoes. “Our footwear isn’t going to change the way you run or train, but it really is going to amplify your natural biomechanics,” Post adds.
Swizz Beatz wearing Reebok’s relaunched Kamikaze.
TRAINING: Let’s Dance The fitness training market is more diverse than ever, encompassing activities ranging from weight training, CrossFit workouts, outdoor cross-training to a boom in dance and studio exercise. For these and other sport performancebased regimens, lightweight footwear that also provides cushioning and stability is key. Aesthetically, bright colors and bold patterns are expected to be strong, along with sleek, athletic silhouettes. One of the newest brands on the market is ZEMgear (Zone of Endless Motion), which made its debut in 2010 with a collection of barefoot shoes. “ZEMs are built on a barefoot last platform and allow your foot to move as nature intended,” says Christina Bracken, ZEM’s co-founder and president. “We offer both split-ninja toes and round-toe patterns; great foot flexibility and agility come with the separation of your forward propulsion digit and the four balancing toes. The round-toe styles have a wider toe box to ensure complete foot freedom and the room to splay your toes in a natural way.” Both Reebok and New Balance are targeting fitness dance. Classes have been popping up in gyms the world over, signifying a need for performance dance footwear. “Reebok launched its dance collection for Spring ’13 and will continue to expand it this fall,” says Leanne Hanan, product manager, Reebok Studio. The Reebok Dance URLead 2.0 model, based in the company’s iconic Freestyle heritage, combines lifestyle fashion with performance benefits such as breathable and lightweight mesh upper inserts, 3D FuseFrame construction for seamless support and a Turn Zone to enhance turns and spins. New Balance’s 867 model weighs a mere 6.5 ounces and includes a no-sew seamless upper and a pivot point outsole for smooth, multi-directional movement.
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AT HLETIC P R E V IE W: FA L L 2 01 3
SKATING: Wear a Cup Looking ahead to Fall ’13, skate shoe vendors are rolling out new technologies that improve fit, comfort, durability and, for technical users, enhance board feel and grip. Regarding construction, vulcanized models are still hugely popular, but cup sole styles are making a comeback. Across the board, bold colors, along with a mixture of materials that add visual and
textural interest (and also serve performance) are prominent. “The skate market is growing and shifting from casual, simple, commodity-driven profile shoes to more of a performance-oriented footwear offering with technology,” says PierreAndre Senizergues, owner and CEO of Etnies. “We’re also noticing that skate is impacting a lot of what is happening with street trends.” Along those lines, skate footwear has been an intrinsic part of American youth culture. However, the generation that brought skateboarding and other action sports to the masses is now buying homes and raising families. This means that vendors have an opportunity to appeal to a slightly older demographic that is loyal to the brands it grew up wearing, not to mention has an affinity for heritage and retro-inspired styles. As Senizergues notes, “We’re seeing a demand for ’90s skate influence incorporated with the technology of today and a demand for comfort.” For example, Etnies’ STI Evolution Foam midsoles in its Marana, Aventa and High Rise models are durable, abrasionresistant and provide high-impact rebound quality. And because STI Evolution foam is made using a special molding process rather than being die-cut from a sheet, less waste is created. Over at Vans, Chris Overholser, senior marketing manager, reports “continued interest in simple, classic silhouettes with solid and tonal colors, often with more intricate detailing through the use of leather and textiles, stitching and hardware such as metal eyelets.” On the performance side, Vans is incorporating innovations that improve
comfort, lightness and durability. For example, hidden technology such as Duracap rubber reinforcement is inserted under high-wear areas in select styles, such as the Christian Hosoi Sk8-Hi Notchback Pro. The company is also introducing two distinct Ultracush sockliners that utilize proprietary materials to create light, extremely absorbent footbeds. And the brand’s new WaffleCup construction mimics the responsiveness of a vulcanized shoe while providing the stability of a cup sole. In addition, Vans continues to align with iconic hardgoods companies, such as board builder Alien Workshop, to create unique shoe collections for this fall. “Programs such as these help drive excitement in board shops,” Overholser says. New to the skate scene this fall is New Balance and its Numeric brand. Like the folks at Etnies and Vans, New Balance Numeric Brand Manager Sebastian Palmer is aware of the rising popularity of the cup sole construction. “We are taking a dual approach of lightweight technical performance through our two-cup sole models, and stylish low profiles in our two vulcanized offerings,” Palmer says. He also points out that “discreet technical aspects” are returning to the category and, to that end, the brand is introducing Revlite, a proprietary material that provides support and cushioning while maintaining board feel—the premise being highly durable uppers on lightweight, thin cup soles. Palmer notes that New Balance Numeric’s vulcanized shoes are light and low to the ground and include performance insoles and classic heritage details such as asymmetric toe patterns and contrasting panel details.
BASKETBALL: Slam Dunk Hoops footwear is on a growth trajectory in both the performance and retro/casual markets—particularly since the category is becoming a year-round business. Key trends include lightweight technologies, strong color stories and, in the casual realm, retro and heritage styles. “We’re coming off of our second consecutive year of double-digit growth in basketball and anticipate continued growth for 2013,” remarks Lawrence Norman, vice president of global basketball at Adidas. “Lightweight remains a key performance characteristic, along with bold colors and materials that link back to authentic stories.”
At Reebok, the mood is also upbeat. “Retailers are recording historical highs for their overall basketball business,” says Greg Korbas, product manager, Reebok Basketball. “Retro is the hottest thing in the market right now, and everyone is trying to get in on it.” Noting that 80 percent of kids wear these off the court, Korbas says you can’t offer enough color options these days. “Neons have made their way onto NBA courts as the league is allowing brands to get a little more aggressive with on-court product, thus they are becoming much more expected colors to see at retail,” he says. “Low-cut basketball sneakers are also becoming more widely accepted by consumers.”
A key performance model for Fall ’13 is the Pumpspective Omni that blends a retro look with modern construction. The Answer I and Shaqnosis are the two main retro releases for the brand.
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CASUAL: Melting Pot Puma
This category includes an enormous mix of styles, silhouettes and colors, with the common denominator being a lifestyle vibe combined with performance (read: comfort) attributes. From a color perspective almost anything goes, as exemplified by the Puma FTR Trinomic Slipstream SK that has a high-collared basketball silhouette along with techy fabrics and bold snake and animal prints. In contrast, New Balance’s Rugby collection takes its design inspiration from Ivy League club sports (think classic rugby shirts), while its High Roller collection exudes a distinctly opulent and luxe urban attitude that moves away from flashy color pops. Meanwhile, Golden Viking Sports, a division of INA International and the licensee of Diadora in North America, is introducing a casual collection this fall. “Key trends include cleaner and sleeker silhouettes, and lightweight and comfort are critical,” notes Mark Wachter, national sales manager. For Aetrex, the object is to provide a hybrid of extreme comfort and everyday performance, and the result is the new men’s Modpod Active. Floating pods keep the shoes light and disperse shock individually, while four-way stretch uppers and breathable memory foam footbeds provide customized comfort. A patented lockdown heel strap allows for individualized stability. Vans’ LXVI line targets consumers who are looking for athletic comfort and the laidback lifestyle the brand embodies. “This consumer [wants] the modern look provided by synthetic materials and new constructions, such as our RapidWeld stitchless construction [featured in the Stat model],” Overholser says. For female consumers seeking après studio footwear, Ahnu is expanding its yoga lifestyle line that features simple designs, easy on/off functionality, and feminine materials and colors. “The technology in this area is really quite subtle,” says Jacqueline Van Dine, brand manager. “The goal isn’t to make something that can go to the top of Mount Everest, it’s to create more comfortable and supportive shoes that look and feel fantastic.” >78
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Brill’s Shoes, a 77-year-old California comfort specialty store, thrives doing business the old-fashioned—and successful—way. By Maria Bouselli T’S NOT FLASHY or fueled by a ton of hype, nor does it carry the latest crazy (and largely unwearable) towering stilettos. But what Brill’s Shoes sells—and has been doing so quite successfully for more than 75 years— is what’s needed and wanted by its loyal customer base: expert fitting service and shoes that supply them with long-lasting comfort. The 2,000-square-foot store has become a destination in San Bernardino, CA, for its approximately 20,000 customers who come in season after season and year after year. At the helm of this one-store comfort footwear go-to is Barry Silver. Since buying Brill’s Shoes from his father-in-law in 1980 (formerly A.N. Brill), Silver, a certified pedorthist, and his six employees have continued to provide customers with the ultimate sit-and-fit experience—often resulting in emotional responses of gratitude as many come to the store to address a medical condition. It’s an enticing recipe of personal attention,
expert fitting and subsequent pain relief (for many). Silver, 66, describes his store as a “mini-doctor’s office,” but as a shoe store first and foremost. “A lot of customers come in looking for medical advice and help. They come in with problems. We are [often] the first stop before they go to a doctor,” he says. Or in many cases, physicians refer their patients to Brill’s Shoes as a helpful foot care resource, which offers a merchandise mix of two-thirds everyday fashion footwear and one-third medical. He notes that a certified orthotist, who also works with the NFL, comes in to aid customers once a week as well.
BE HAPPY Silver credits the store’s legacy to a humble premise, which is simply having kept its customers—the bulk of whom are aged 60 and over— happy. “I keep the selection pretty tight. (Leading brands include SAS, New Balance, Birkenstock, Naot, Ziera and Orthaheel.) It’s the exemplary
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service we provide and the knowledge we have of the shoes and of feet,” he says. But fitting customers correctly is only part of the quality service Silver and his staff deliver. “We bend over backwards for people,” he adds, noting the multiple rides home he’s given to many of his most loyal customers. Not to mention the countless special orders he’s placed for customers over the years as well. “They’re good to me because I try to be good to them,” he confirms. Silver’s patrons also enjoy the old-school way he operates his business. “We use computers only in the office and try to keep it as old-fashioned as when my father-in-law founded the store,” he says. “At the cash wrap we give hand-written receipts and the only thing printed is if a customer pays with a [credit] card.” Silver also relies on the old-fashioned way of advertising, including mailing lists and newspaper ads, to promote sales. “We’re now getting into Facebook for the first time,” he says, but notes that his core customers seldom use the Internet. Old-school attention and fitting is also what customers can expect when they come to Brill’s Shoes. “Not a day goes by that people don’t say ‘I haven’t had my foot measured in a long time,’” Silver says. “It attracts people—it’s like going to the zoo and seeing something they haven’t seen in a long time.” He notes customers can walk in or make appointments, some of which last more than an hour, to be properly fitted. While this may not be the most efficient way in terms of sales, he stands by the careful attention he and his staff give to each customer. “It’s what sets us apart—it’s our niche,” he says. “You get to be known as the leader in your field in that area and that’s what I’ve enjoyed for so long. If you have a problem foot or you need a specialized fit and need to see a professional, people will tell you to go see Barry at Brill’s.”
ALL IN THE FAMILY Silver attributes a good portion of Brill’s success to the family he’s formed after three decades working in the footwear industry. “It’s another family to be a part of, and it spans the whole nation,” he says. While Silver attends the major trade shows twice a year, he’s built such strong relationships with his brands that many reps come to Brill’s to complete the buying process in person. “I do two shows as overview and interface with other vendors, and then they’ll come out and let me work the [order] in my own territory,” he says, noting he looks for comfort-quality with a conservative look for each shoe, and mostly sticks to the brands that are already popular with his customers. “By and large, when I hear from other dealers that a brand that might be hot with a comfort shoe store, it’s too fast for us,” Silver says, adding that the highest heels the store carries are one-and-a-half inches. He looks mainly for easyto-fit footwear that employs laces and buckles to close the shoe, and selects more conservative patterns for his customers. He notes the SAS FreeTime, the Naot Karenna and the Birkenstock Arizona as best-selling styles in his store. Brill’s Shoes itself is set up to make one feel at home—complete with fireplace, floral wallpaper, a greeting as soon as the customer walks in and, many times, a hug as customers leave with a pair of shoes that will change their life for the better. Sue Parker, senior sales associate of Brill’s Shoes, remembers a time when she fit a customer that had
not been in an actual shoe for about seven years because of foot problems. “I put him in a New Balance tennis shoe and he took his wife dancing that night,” she says. Silver says his store, and his fellow colleagues that also follow a medical-based, sit-and-fit service, are essential for an aging America. “More customers coming of age are coming to us all the time,” he says. “And for that reason I can only see us maintaining [sales].” New employees go through a one-year training session on the floor with experienced staff members in order to learn how to properly fit a customer. “I used to say experience required, then I learned quickly that it’s not that important,” Silver offers. “[Employees] have to have the personality that listens and is willing to help people.” The store is 80 percent women’s and 20 percent men’s shoes. While a basic walking oxford is the biggest seller year round, sandals also do well in-season due to the desert heat.
ONE AND ONLY Location is another aspect that keeps Brill’s Shoes’ business thriving, as it is the only independent shoe store in a 30-mile radius, according to Silver. “Customers travel a good distance to get to our store,” he says. “It’s a blessing.” He notes, however, that it’s also a big obligation to ensure they service the customer to fill all their needs, which includes supplying them with extra pads, arches or lifts if necessary. Silver tries to keep footwear prices right under $200, with boots occasionally costing more, because of its lower-income area. Thirtyeight to 50 percent of the population in the store’s surrounding area is on welfare, according to Silver, who had an avid interest in working in city government before being coerced to join the family business. “My father always had a business of his own—he was a mechanic—so I was intrigued by being a store owner. I quit my career in city government as an administrative assistant and have had no regrets,” he shares. Another bulk of customers come from the nearby hospitals and nursing homes, some of which bring a van full of customers on a regular basis. “The medical business has now gone crazy—it’s through the roof,” he says, adding that the store’s overall sales were trending up about 12 percent in 2012. As for 2013, Silver hopes to keep even with last year’s sales. “I’m so happy where we’re at right now, but I think it’s going to be a wait-it-out year,” he says, referring to the shaky economy and the new healthcare act that may impact a lot of his customers. In the meantime, Silver is looking to stay at the helm for four more years. The plan then is to retire when he turns 70. Beyond that, the future for Brill’s Shoes is still up in the air, as his daughter is a nurse and his son, whom he calls his “pride in the industry,” Daniel Silver, is the western regional manager of Earth Brands. It seems unlikely that the business will be passed down the family tree, but could fall into the hands of one of his loyal employees. For now, however, Silver enjoys his work at Brill’s. “The longest day of the week is Sunday when I’m not at work,” he says. “Six days a week I have something to look forward to—the feeling of being the head of a business, the head of a family and making people feel better. Working here gives me a great sense of accomplishment and pride.” • 2013 february • footwearplusmagazine.com 55
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S WA N K Y S N E A K E R S D I A L U P T H E M E TA L L I C E L E M E N T S . PHOTOGRAPHY BY JASON HINDLEY
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KEY TYPE DESIGN AND PHOTOGRAPH BY MCCANDLISS & CAMPBELL
Bronx suede wedge sneaker. 57
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From top: Naot patent trimmed sneaker; Rock & Candy wedge hi-top. Opposite, from top: Gotta Flurt quilted hi-top; crystal-embellished track shoe by Gabor. 58
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Heart Soul metallic wedge hitop. Opposite: Skechers sequinembellished wedge sneaker.
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CLASSIC SMOKING SLIPPERS ARE AN INSPIRING CANVAS FOR FASHION’S CREATIVE AWAKENING. PHOTOGRAPHY BY JAMIE ISAIA
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Luichiny spiked slipper. Marissa Webb blouse and pants, jewelry by Psyche Jewelry. 63
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From left: Delman studded jester pattern slipper; smoking slipper with metallic heel by Eric Rutberg Transparent; spiked gold slipper by Zigi New York. Dress by Valentine Gauthier. Opposite: Valentine Gauthier bra, Andy Lifschutz necklace worn as a crown. 64
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FASHION EDITOR: ANGELA VELASQUEZ; STYLIST: KIM JOHNSON; HAIR: SEIJI @ THE WALL GROUP; MAKEUP: KIRSTIN HILTON @ THE WALL GROUP; MODEL: MEGAN V. @ IMG.
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FASHION EDITOR: ANGELA VELASQUEZ; STYLIST: KIM JOHNSON; HAIR: SEIJI @ THE WALL GROUP; MAKEUP: KIRSTIN HILTON @ THE WALL GROUP; MODEL: MEGAN V. @ IMG.
Eye-embellished smoking slipper by Barbara Briones. Floral dress by Valentine Gauthier, Lady Grey necklace. Opposite: Nicole embroidered slipper. Strathcona printed sock. 67
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Ugg velvet smoking slipper. Strathcona printed sock. Opposite: Zayan silk blouse, Lady Grey choker. 69
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Q by Pasquale
D E S I G N E R C H AT : TAYLOR REEVE
Mixology Class A mixed media lesson in fine textures, treatments and baubles.
strappy sandals, single-sole pumps, chunky heels and some flats, will feature Native Americaninspired designs on the sole. Other styles are accented with fringe. Reeve says a pink ribbon shoe is also in the pipeline, and she hopes to generate money for breast cancer research and raise awareness. To the latter aspect, Reeve is confident all of her designs will deliver. “Whoever wears these shoes better be ready for attention,” she says. “They’re a great conversation starter.” —Angela Velasquez Where do you find inspiration for your designs? I’m always on the Internet, scanning street fashion to see what girls are wearing. Pinterest is a great place, but I find inspiration in things like sunsets and the stars, too. My mind is always on full blast. Which designers do you admire most? Marchesa, Derek Lam and Alexander McQueen—that’s an obvious one with the skulls.
E DI TO R’S P I CKS
What shoes in your closet are getting the most wear? My Fierce pumps. They have all-over black rhinestones and a lion on the sole, which is perfect because I’m a Leo. Where do you like to shop for shoes? Since I’m always online I go to sites like Asos, Shopbop and Nasty Gal. What’s on your shopping list? I’m obsessed with Wildfox’s loose and baggy T-shirts. I love wearing oversized shirts with short shorts and the illusion it creates. It makes your legs look fantastic. Which celebrity would you like to see wearing your shoes? I always listen to music while I draw, so I’d say Rihanna. She’s on repeat now. What’s the best part of your job? Seeing other girls wear the shoes is still the best part. It’s very humbling.
EDITOR’S PICKS PHOTOGRAPHY BY TREVETT MCCANDLISS
IF THE EMERGENCE of websites like Pinterest and Etsy has proved anything, it’s that twentyomething women are masters at D.I.Y. projects. Just take Taylor Reeve, designer of TaylorSays. For fun, the California native would add a stroke of individuality to her shoe closet by painting her heels with bold colors, prints and designs. Back then she says, “I used to paint the entire shoe. The uppers would always get scuffed and chip, but the sole would stay perfectly intact.” People began to take notice of the one-of-a-kind wearable art and, in Spring ’13, Reeve bowed a line for the masses. A born artist (Reeve recalls leading her second grade class’ art projects) she finetuned her talent at California State University, Long Beach. Still, she had no formal shoe design training when she first considered trying her hand in the industry. “It was intimidating at first, especially because I didn’t know a lot of the terminology,” the designer admits. “Luckily, everything came naturally to me.” The initial collection comprised of platform pumps in poppy colors accented with artwork straight from Reeve’s own closet, including carbon copy versions of the skull and bulldog designs she had painted on the soles of her shoes. Other motifs spanned sharks and lions to more dainty daisies and seahorses. “I want the collection to reach out to every woman. I might not be a butterfly girl, but others are and I hope the line hits a note with many types of people,” she explains. The Fall ’13 collection (retail prices range from $119 to $269) has a western vibe, a nod to Reeve’s and her grandfather’s shared obsession of the Wild West. More platform pumps, along with new silhouettes such as
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FEBRUARY 5–7 TUESDAY–THURSDAY
Hilton New York Hotel & Member Showrooms
Download FFANY’s iPad App to view the show directory Save the Date: August 5–7 Monday–Wednesday
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ACCESSORIES FALL « PREVIEW » 2013
LIZA WORE THEM. So did Lady Gaga and in his own way, David Bowie, too. And most recently thanks to American Apparel, metallic hosiery has slinked its way back onto the radar of trendsetters. But these are not last year’s liquid gold and silver leggings that turn hipsters’ stems into walking molten hot lava sticks. Barons of business, take note—and stock—of this season’s precious metals. The latest twist on metallic hosiery beckons the sophisticated glitz and glamour of the Roaring Twenties. Can’t you just hear the jazz playing? Metallic gold threads and bands of silver glitter shine, while metallic appliqués dazzle. Paired with black and nude, a hint of shimmer goes a long way. —Angela Velasquez
PHOTOGRAPHY BY TREVETT MCCANDLISS
From left to right: Hue striped stockings; fishnets by Pamela Mann; sparkle stockings by Wolford; Emilio Cavallini silverembellished tights; United Legwear black stockings with gold flecks.
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Boy Meets World FROM HI-TOPS MADE with brogue-quality leather to chambray shirts beneath a shrunken Allen Edmonds
Thom Browne jacket, men are cranking out more mileage from casual dress styles that blur the lines between work and play (i.e. adulthood and college). A little boyish charm is, well, charming, but for every baseball cap saved and hoodie gone unwashed, let’s compromise and hang up the bedraggled backpack. Bidding adieu to the collegiate staple will be easier this fall with a new crop of versatile carryalls. The bags may look all business on the outside with burnished leather, vintage hardware and indestructible nylon, but these sidekicks offer plenty of room for necessary toys including iPads, iPhones, and iPods. And like a good wingman they complement the season’s mixed bag of footwear
Gear3 by Saen
From left to right: Dahlgren; Tretorn; K. Bell; Etiquette; Richer Poorer.
WE ALREADY KNOW its meatballs are tasty, the simple furniture is deceptively complicated to assemble and that it is home to some of the happiest people on Earth, but Scandinavia is more than ABBA cover bands and Ikeas. With summer months reaching a high of just 63 degrees, Scandinavians also know a thing or two about what it takes to stay warm. Those Vikings didn’t keep beards for beauty. Leading the trend in warm and cozy Scandi fashion is men’s socks. From Fair Isle motifs with an edge to chunky mixed yarns and allover patterns, the socks are a subtle way to incorporate the look onto sales floors and into closets. Wearable colors keep the socks a step away from becoming gnome-like. —A.V. 2013 february • footwearplusmagazine.com 73
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UPCL OSE KIDS
Take a Little Hike Timberland has young explorers covered for fall. IF THERE’S ONE thing Timberland knows it’s boots. Beloved of
World Party Feiyue Kids’ international roots speak a universal fashion language. WHEN CHINESE-BORN, France-based brand Feiyue (“flying
forward”) landed its kids’ kicks on U.S. soil last year it had an inkling the scaled-down sneakers would be a hit. After all, actions speak louder than words and since the line was lifted from relative obscurity in 2006 the children’s collection represents 8 percent of its global turnover. “Colorful designs and accessible prices make the range very attractive for buyers,” says Cynthia Pelletier, the brand’s North American sales manager. Started way back in 1920s Shanghai and built off the core tenants of quality and timeless aesthetics, the heritage-inspired brand debuted takedowns of its bestselling adults’ styles in European sizes 22 to 34 during the Spring ’13 markets, with child-friendly details like Velcro straps and multicolored eyelets in materials spanning canvas, suede and leather to denim, nylon and wool. For this fall, the brand has added two new styles: the Feiyue Hi Kid, a hi-top version of the classic Feiyue Lo Kid, and the A.S. High Kid, an urban sneaker featuring three hook-andloop straps on the upper. “Feiyue Kids’ many different designs are specially adapted to children’s needs. Comfortable, colorful and practical, they’re perfect to be worn daily,” says Cristina Alvarez, international marketing manager, who adds that the price tag (the line wholesales from $12 to $26) makes them affordable to most parents. Also on the fall horizon is a collaboration with Milk on the Rocks, an eclectic kids’ clothing line based in New York. “For little boys dreaming of exotic adventures, a tiger motif sneaker, and for little girls, a romantic style in pink and gold featuring a heart-shaped tongue,” Alvarez shares. Feiyue is hoping to reinforce its retail presence in New York this year as well as expanding distribution to the rest of the country. In addition, the brand will launch an online store this May for the U.S. and Canada. “Our existing e-shop already delivers to these countries, but the warehouse is still located in France which unfortunately means added fees and shipping time for our North American consumers,” Pelletier says, but she’s quick to add that it hasn’t stopped U.S. sales from flourishing. “The love and demand for Feiyue in the U.S. is strong, as most of our online sales come from [there],” she says. —Lyndsay McGregor
hip hop stars, construction workers and outdoor enthusiasts alike, the iconic brand, now a subsidiary of VF Corp., is expanding its children’s collection for Fall ’13 with a selection of rugged boots made to handle the rough and tumble life of kids. First up is the Rime Ridge collection, with leather uppers, waterproof constructions and thermal insulation. “Using our signature wheat nubuck leather, these boots will be recognized as Timberland from a mile away,” claims Lorelei Davis, product manager for kids’ footwear. Meanwhile the GT Scramble collection has expanded to include chukka silhouettes as well as an oxford pattern. On the girls’ side, seasonal standouts include the Bethel Buckle, modeled after one of the brand’s best-selling women’s boots, and the Blizzard Bliss, a waterproof lace up with 200-gram PrimaLoft insulation that combines the best in winter boot protection with a nod to fashion. “Kids have unique needs in terms of function and style when it comes to footwear, so we take that into consideration when planning the line. We’re inspired by what is happening in men’s and women’s and pull some characteristics into kids’ footwear, but adapt the designs to their specific needs,” Davis says, pointing to Timber Tykes, a toddlers-only collection of boots that launched last fall. “We stayed hyper-focused on just a couple of patterns but really honed in on constructing a shoe that met the needs of the toddler. The response was overwhelming and we’ve seen double digit sell-through on the program,” she reveals. The kids’ collection wholesales from $45 to $95, and spans toddler, youth and junior sizes. “Kids love our boots for their rugged attitude, style and comfort—they’re the boots they reach for first whether heading out for school or to play. Parents love them because they fit so well, are durable, warm and have a versatile look that’s great for the colder months,” Davis says, adding, “Kids will outgrow these boots before they wear them out, making parents feel great about them.” —L.M.
74 footwearplusmagazine.com • february 2013
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GDS Düsseldorf, GERMANY MA R C H 1 3 - 1 5 , 2 0 1 3 pieth, Angela S en A. p p ri CEO,T . Oehler M , th ie Sp : GmbH only offers , “GDS not on ive selecti s an exten p to from especially brands, n a e p ro Eu l e potentia th but also w g ne for excitin s.” e ri e v o disc
x Karlheinz Schlecht, Parabiago Collezioni/Thierry Rabotin: “The product segmentation at GDS helps visitors focus on specific bran ds and receive a comprehensive mar ket overview. For example, the newly structured Wellness segment offe rs buyers fast orientation, a daily Wel lness fashion show and lectures about the category trends.”
s, director of Sylvia Klemen lopment, Peter ve collection de Kaiser: ve rm we only ha “At FN Platfo e w S D but at G a small booth, to n io ct lle co tire present our en d an th ng re st e th demonstrate the n experience U.S. buyers ca d get an S D G at m largest spectru l the overview of al e iv ns te ex an collections.”
José Manuel Vera, sales manager, Studio Mihara,S.L .: “We always meet new clie nts who are interested in good products exhibiting at GDS. Many clients from all over Europe come to see trends and the atmosphere of the White Cubes segment is ver y appealing and well organized place for business.”
Leo Koek, sales manager, Loints of Holland: “For our expanding export busines s, GDS is the best international trade fair to meet buyers from around the world.”
Date: March 13-15, 2013 any Location: Düsseldorf, Germ de visitors only; tra to pen Admission: Free–o .com. register at www.gds-online an Active & Fresh, rlds: Urban Authentic, Urb wo d me the Concept: Eleven ior, Essential, Prime, White Cubes, Super Design Attack, Upper Style, . Deco–offer easy orientation Kidwalk, Wellness, Shop &
around the world The latest collections from ors from more than 30 countries, such as itors: More than 800 exhibit Exhib ds. , Germany and the Netherlan Italy, Spain, Portugal, France n/Winter 2013/2014. dbag collections for Autum Collections: Shoe and han
INTERNATIONA L EVEN FOR SHOES & ACCESSOTRI ES
Theresa Sieb er department, hein, communication El Naturalista : “GDS is an im portant trade fair, very focused on re tailers and pr oducts. It brings togeth er the best in dustry peers on the exhibito r and visitor si de for a well-segmente d fair presentin g casual and comfort st yles and inno vative designs within white cubes.”
Unique ancillary program: le and Trend Show. Sty ily fashion shows: Upper
Da sions. workshops and panel discus Information: Trend lectures,
For all show information go to www.gds-online.com FW_02_13_GDS_Shopper_02.indd 75
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UPCLOSE CO M FO RT
Classic Americana Comfort Dr. Scholl’s puts a new spin on timeless style.
Oh So Fashionable Oh! Shoes provides comfort and style for a woman on the go. GREG VAN GASSE and his partner Gary Wells utilized their combined 60-plus years of footwear industry experience to provide women with comfortable and healthy heels that wouldn’t damage their feet. Van Gasse says the idea for Oh! Shoes, founded in 2004, “probably [came] from my mother who wore heels to work every day for more than 40 years and suffered every day from foot and joint pain.” VanGasse and Wells realized that there was no brand that catered to women who wanted heels that were both fashionable and comfortable. “We called it the big compromise—you could have either comfort heels or fashion heels but not both,” VanGasse notes. “Oh! was engineered and designed to deliver both.” The brand uses a patented multiple contour footbed that is similar to an orthotic. “Our patent-pending heels include a shock absorbing material that dampens the impact of each step by up to 50 percent, lowering the risk of osteoarthritis,” he reveals. The shoes are also fully leather lined and implement stretch materials to create the perfect fit for the wearer, whom VanGasse describes as a “career woman who is on her feet for eight-plus hours a day and wants to look and feel great all day.” The shoes, designed in Italy, are meant to emulate the styles and trends of the season. For Fall ’13, the brand continues its mission “for both cuter and more sophisticated styling,” completing its range of booties and boots, both mid- and high-heels, and adding new toe and heel shapes for the single-sole high heels, as well as materials, colors and patterns. Oh! Shoes’ line of flats has also developed with the use of comfort technology in the heel and the addition of new materials, such as glove-soft and soft-patent leathers, with colors ranging from navy and cobalt blue to dark red. VanGasse says the initial reaction to the latest collection, which wholesales from $60 to $160, has been, “Oh! MG!” “Retailers and consumers are applauding us for pushing the fashion and keeping our great comfort technology,” he notes, adding, “it’s what women want. Sure there are some great ‘comfort’ brands and certainly some great ‘fashion’ brands, but ultimately women want the psychological comfort of looking great and physiological comfort of feeling great—especially if they are wearing heels for 10 to 16 hours every day.” —Maria Bouselli
ANYONE IN THE shoe business knows of Dr. Scholl’s iconic wood sandal that first debuted in the ’60s. What was originally designed by William Scholl to be a healthy comfort shoe became a fashion icon. While times have changed, the need for comfortable shoes marches on and Dr. Scholl’s, a subsidiary of Brown Shoe Company, continues its mission to provide such shoes with what has become its now signature playful design aesthetic. “We adamantly believe our wearers should not have to sacrifice either [comfort or fashion],” says Keith Duplain, senior vice president and general manager of Dr. Scholl’s. “Combining our innovative comfort technology, updated styles and brand authenticity makes us very relevant for a broad range of today’s consumers.” For its Fall ’13 collection, Dr. Scholl’s is channeling early Americana fashion. “We want our shoes to evoke smart American style with clever useful details and great owned materials while maintaining our desire to ensure comfort for the wearer,” says James Sowins, creative director. “We took vintage classic styles from the heritage of America’s grand past and made them new and modern.” This style update includes the use of classic men’s designs such as wing tips, desert boots, wallabees, tassel loafers and vintage basketball shoes in the women’s collection. For men’s, which has expanded for fall, work and hiker style influences are prominent. “Each style has a sole plate that is a vintage map of St. Louis from 1904 in a variety of colors,” Sowins adds. When designing for fall, Sowins states that the team focused on season staples, employing such materials as cable-knit sweater, vintage yarn dyed plaid flannel, yarn dyed knit stripes, leathers, suedes and bull denim. “The materials and silhouettes were thoughtfully selected so our shoes and boots would tackle the elements and protect our consumers in style,” he says. Standouts from the women’s fall selection include the boot line, a wedge grouping and the Freestep collection. In men’s, Sowins says, buyers can look forward to a selection of low- and hi-top styles. Duplain notes Dr. Scholl’s is coming off strong momentum from this past fall and is confident the success will continue with the latest collection. “We want to be able to walk down any street in America and see our shoes on people’s feet—be able to talk to those people and hear how our shoes have helped them live a better life,” he says. “Our passion is making great shoes.” —M.B.
76 footwearplusmagazine.com • february 2013
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Retro Hollywood ... Glamour. Fun. Excitement.
USRA May Event May 5-7, 2013 Wigwam Resort & Spa Phoenix, Arizona You are invited to play a leading role in this premiere event! Keynote Speakers, Panels & Workshops Continuing Education Points for CPEDs Order Discounts Golf Tournament Hotel & Meals included Industry Networking Vintage Hollywood Party Thereâ€™s no business like shoe business. Enjoy VIP star treatment at the 2013 red-carpet May Event.
Call or email the USRA office for Membership info or a May Event package. Phone: (818) 703-6062 Email: Linda@USRAonline.org
One Industry. One Goal. One Place.
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AT HLETIC P R E V IE W: FA L L 2 01 3
Cycling continues to be one of the most popular recreational activities in the U.S., but riding for transportation has also become a viable, growing market that is being spurred by rising energy costs and increasing consumer interest in eco-friendly practices and healthy lifestyles. The expansion of the commuter-specific segment bodes well for athletic footwear makers as consumers increasingly seek out shoes that will perform both on and off the bike. “Bicycles are a growth industry and will stay that way, and this is opening up new niches,” says Charles Cole, founder and president of Five Ten. “The category has every demographic working for it.” For Cole, the challenge was to create a shoe that is as good for pedaling as for walking. For Fall ’13, the Aescent Elements shoe features a new rubber compound called Stealth M16 that provides enormous shock absorption, sticks to pedals, and is comfortable and flexible enough for walking. The shoe also has a breathable, winterized upper that beads water and dries quickly.
In keeping with the current trends of lightweight performance, comfort and versatility, golf footwear makers are diving into the burgeoning casual golf niche. Ecco, which created the hybrid golf footwear category when it rolled out its Golf Street collection a few seasons back, continues to innovate and is offering the men’s collection in sport, luxe, textile, camel and premier categories. The Men’s Golf Street Sport shoe includes street-inspired upper patterns made from Hydromax treated leather for weather protection, breathable Aero linings, and a patented outsole design that provides traction and stability on and off the course. For women, Ecco’s new Golf Street Life model will be available in regular shoe and bootie silhouettes. The women’s Golf Street Life Bootie boasts high-fashion Hydromax treated leather uppers with patent and glitter finishes, moisturewicking Second Skin breathable linings, and a
patented Ecco Street outsole. Also eager to enter the golf category is Vibram FiveFingers. The brand’s mission is to offer players a more natural footwear alternative that will provide superior ground feedback. “There’s a reason golf pros practice barefoot,” states Mike Gionfriddo, CEO of Vibram USA. “That connection to the earth improves stance and stability which can ultimately improve your game.” The highlight of the line is the Speed XC Lite, available in men’s and women’s versions, that offers a lightweight breathable mesh upper, an EVA midsole and a cleated Vibram performance rubber outsole. •
TRU SHOW Feb. 10-11 San Francisco | CA
FASHIONABLE IS NOW COMFORTABLE
FN PLATFORM Feb. 19-21 Las Vegas | NV
New for Fall 2013:
ATL SHOE MARKET Feb. 23-25 Atlanta | GA
Style Blueberry from our L’Artiste Collection.
NORTHEAST SHOE EXPO
Feb. 24-26 Manchester | NH Booths 209-211
Hand-painted Leather Uppers, Padded Insoles & Polyurethane/Rubber
WINDY CITY SHOE SHOW
Feb. 27-28 Schaumburg | IL
NORTHWEST MARKET March 2-4 Portland | OR
facebook.com/SpringStepShoes youtube.com/SpringFootwear 800.962.0030 | www.springfootwear.com
1/21/13 10:40 AM
continued from page 25 is a rarity. And that might be from a consumption standpoint. Maybe people aren’t all-consuming as they were before the big recession. Back then if you had something that wasn’t selling, you’d discount it at 25 percent and it cleared out. But today’s consumer has so many options to buy so many things that when you mark an item down 25 percent, they don’t necessarily care. If they don’t need it, they’re not going to buy it. Consumers today know more than ever what they want. Any fears of consumers falling off another cliff of some sort? I think in our price point and product sectors we’re fine. Most of our stuff is wearables, meaning they wear out and need to be replaced on a regular basis. Even back in ’09, sales were dropping 50 percent for some companies; we actually picked up 8 percent that year. A Foot Petals insert is less than $10. A Dearfoams slipper is less than $30 and a Baggallini bag is less than $200. If the economy gets tough, or if we go into a double dip like some analysts have been talking about, consumers may stop buying houses, cars or refrigerators, but they can still afford these items. The real concern is at the top end and how people are affording mortgages. Or, how are they going to pay for their kid’s college education? Or how are they going to provide for their retirement? Those questions are what people don’t have answers to. What flies in the face of this perhaps is department stores pulling out all the stops with lavish shoe presentations. What’s that all about? Department stores are smart. First of all, the apparel business hasn’t been growing overall, especially if you take out denim for the last decade. And apparel margins are also horrible. That’s why you see huge presentations of handbags on many first floors. They offer good margins, they’re profitable and the category is growing. Same for footwear. It’s been growing, although not as robust as other accessory categories. But this season the uniform for every woman—young or old—has been black tights or jeans tucked into some type of high-riding boots. The footwear has become the centerpiece of the outfit. The tights could be from Target. The jeans could cost $50. The handbag and the high riding boot are the signature items. So I don’t think anyone should be surprised seeing department stores make footwear a destination point.
phone, iPad and whatever other essentials you might have. Where do you see RG Barry five years from now? With the right brands, capital and infrastructure, I believe there are huge opportunities for us. It gives our portfolio the ability to innovate and be on the edge of technology. And that innovation can be everything from product to systems to you name it. If you are not moving forward each and every day in this business, it will brutalize you. Most people think M&A work is all about some great deal where you negotiated a better price. But what it really comes down to is the people you acquire. The balance sheet is just a paper transfer. The best acquisitions happen when you really get great people to come with them. Baggallini brought us people with great expertise that helped us in our other businesses, and our other businesses have helped them. There’s been some real crossover pollenization.
“Most people think M&A work is all about some great deal where you negotiated a better price. But what it really comes down to is the people you acquire.”
Any danger of it becoming too much of a good thing? Some stores may over do it and then it will become un-productive, and they’ll have to scale it back. In the meantime, shoes and handbags continue to create excitement. Handbags used to be a very replacement-type business but what suppliers have done with shapes, materials and hardware continues to reinvigorate the category. You have to give the players a lot of credit. The same goes for footwear. As other consumable categories have gone down, footwear has done a pretty good job of bringing new ideas into the marketplace.
Well, the utilitarian benefits of a bag or shoes blow away jeans or a shirt. Just take into account the amount of expensive gadgets men and women are lugging around these days. I agree. In order to go anyplace, you’ve got to have a tote bag to fit your
So no plans to leave Columbus any time soon? Actually, now that I have been president of publicly held companies for more than 14 years (Phoenix Footwear Group prior), when my friends ask what do I want to do when I grow up, my answer is, “I want to be president of a privately held company because I think that’d be fun.” And you can print that because I joke about it all the time. I just got done with my 58th conference call with Wall Street and it’s getting more and more cumbersome to run a company in the public markets. But, at the same time, I have a great board of directors who run the governess of the company and allow us to manage it. And as long as they are allowing me the flexibility and opportunity to acquire more companies, which I enjoy doing, then I’m in a really good place. Where can you go where they let you manage the business and allow you to take the profits of the company and acquire more companies to grow further? Look at the footwear industry and ask how many companies are doing that— it’s a handful. The other thing that is interesting is about Columbus itself. When I moved from the West Coast, a lot of my friends wondered how I would be able to survive. [You] can’t surf on a lake… But Columbus, between Victoria’s Secret, DSW, Abercrombie & Fitch, Lane Bryant, The Limited, RG Barry and now Eddie Bauer, has become quite the retail hub. When we look for designers, operators, merchandisers, etc. there’s a lot of talent in this town. We’ve been able to hire some people who have worked at billion dollar brands.
What do you love most about your job? Getting to help our brand presidents and people in the company accomplish their goals. I get the chance to give them the resources and share with them all the mistakes I have made in my career so they don’t have to go through them. The ability to watch people come into our organization, become a part of the culture and then watch them thrive is rewarding as hell. And, to this day, I still get [excited] by the fact that we actually create products, bring them to market and then get phone calls when they sell well. I get to be help in that whole process and that’s great stuff. It’s why you do what you do. At the end of the day I’m a merchant, and that’s what I love to do. • 2013 february • footwearplusmagazine.com 79
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DELIGHT AT THE MUSEUM Givenchy Haute Couture
Shoe Obsessed A new exhibit at FIT puts the focus on fashion’s most desirable accessory. Iris van Herpen X United Nude
Nicholas Kirkwood X Keith Haring
Charlotte Olympia Masaya Kushino
OVER THE YEARS shoes have grown from a simple necessity to statement-making works of wearable art. As designers in the last decade have continued to push the envelope and raise the style bar, women the world over are coveting their latest creations. And now we have the exhibit to celebrate it, thanks to the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology (MFIT). The Manhattan-based college’s “Shoe Obsessed” exhibit will be on display Feb. 8 to Apr. 13, celebrating contemporary shoe designers and how they have transformed the world of footwear since 1999. Approximately 150 styles will be showcased, including works from some of the most in-demand designers such as Manolo Blahnik, Christian Louboutin, Alexander McQueen and Nicholas Kirkwood. “We wanted shoes that were exhibition-worthy, shoes that you would really covet,” says Valerie Steele, co-curator of the exhibit and director and chief curator of the museum. She describes the collection as “eye candy,” adding that this is the first ever exhibit focused on a mix of contemporary designers. Steele believes the timing of “Shoe Obsessed” is ideal because of the “flourishing of shoe designs” and the category’s growing popularity. “People have twice as many shoes in their wardrobes than [they did] a decade ago,” she says. “Shoes have taken over from the ‘It’ bag as the accessory of choice. You make a major fashion statement with a pair of shoes, and they are so collectible.” Furthermore, Steele describes the contemporary fashion world as being in “an incredible shoe moment.” She cites the increasing number of department stores broadening their assortments amid nirvana-like shoe emporiums as well as more fashion houses venturing into the category. Steele also cites the HBO series Sex and the City, which first aired in 1998, as having played a starring role in the growing enthusiasm for designer footwear. Whether it was Carrie Bradshaw’s fall down the runway in a pair of sky-high heels or the fashionista’s rhinestone-buckled Manolo Blahnik pumps in the episode, “A Woman’s Right to Shoes,” featured in the exhibit, shoes played a frequent role in the plot lines. Embracing their inner Carrie Bradshaws, Steele and her co-curator, Colleen Hill, immersed themselves in the world of highend fashion to find standout shoes for the exhibit. Such unique pieces as Noritaka Tatehana’s 18-inch Lady Pointe shoes worn by Lady Gaga, Eyelash Heel pumps by Roger Vivier and Charlotte Olympia’s Kiss Me Delores pumps that feature a set of bright-red lips on the toes will be on display. Shoes from fashion powerhouses like Givenchy and Prada will also be featured, as well as prized styles of various shoe enthusiasts, including jewelry designer Lynn Ban, Baroness Monica von Neumann and Daphne Guinness. A “Shoe Obsessed” book will be on sale as well, with all proceeds benefiting FIT, a State University of New York. Steele believes the exhibit and the book will be terrific conversation starters about why designer footwear is currently so popular. “From Cinderella to Carrie Bradshaw, people are obsessed with shoes—their glamour and sex appeal,” she says, noting the exhibit buzz is spreading fast. “Women are extremely excited to see it.” —Maria Bouselli
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FFANY: Warwick Hotel—Warwick Suite PLATFORM: Booth 62831 ATLANTA SHOE MARKET: Booths 736 – 740
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The healthiest shoes you’ll ever wear® - Lynco® orthotic footbeds for support, balance and alignment. - Memory foam cushioning for customization and comfort. - Anti-microbial technology to keep your feet healthy and clean.
Visit us at FFANY and FN Platform to view our new Fall 2013 collections
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