Footwear Plus | The Source for Retailers | June 2013

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METAL SHOP Elements of Surprise and Allure

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28 The Art of Packing Travel-friendly foldable flats, rainboots and light walking shoes present a terrific addon opportunity for retailers. By Lyndsay McGregor

32 Trend Spotting

10 California Dreamin’ Spring ’14 is awash in a West Coast vibe of warm colors and laidback materials. By Angela Velasquez

14 Q&A: Me Too President Adam Tucker dishes on the Me Too makeover and his new eponymous label. By Greg Dutter

22 Two Ten Cares Thousands of industry volunteers took part in the first-ever National Footwear Community Service Week.

Emerald, Pantone’s “Color of the Year,” flourishes in several silhouettes for fall. By Angela Velasquez

34 Metal Metallics add an edge to dress. By Angela Velasquez

46 From Networking to Texting Industry leaders gathered at the 20th annual USRA May Event to discuss retailing in the social media age. By Greg Dutter

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6 Editor’s Note 8 This Just In 24 What’s Selling 44 Shoe Salon 48 Street 50 Accessories 52 Last Word On the cover: Jon Josef metallic bootie, Kaimin cutout dress and leather jacket worn over Topshop sheer dress. Below, clockwise from top: United Nude pump with metal heel, Joanne Stoker embellished bootie, shimmery pump by Badgley Mischka and Calleen Cordero open≠ toe pump. Center: Alice + Olivia wedge. Photography by Jamie Isaia. Styling by Sara Dunn, styling assistance by Alejandro Garcia Gaetan. Hair by Seiji and makeup by Kristen Hilton at The Wall Group.



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 Social Media Editor Maria Bouselli Associate Editor Kathy Passero Editor at Large Tim Jones Senior Designer Judy Leand Contributing Editor PRODUCTION Tim Jones Deputy Art Director Production Manager Alexandra Marinacci Operations Manager Joel Shupp Circulation Manager Mike Hoff Webmaster Theodore Hoffman Special Projects Director OFFICES Advertising/Editorial 36 Cooper Square, 4th fl. New York, NY 10003 Tel: (646) 278-1550 Fax: (646) 278-1553 editorialrequests@ Circulation 26202 Detroit Road, #300 Westlake, OH 44145 Tel: (440) 871-1300 Corporate 9Threads 26202 Detroit Road, #300 Westlake, OH 44145 Tel: (440) 871-1300 Xen Zapis Chairman Lee Zapis President Rich Bongorno Chief Financial Officer Debbie Grim Controller

FOOTWEAR PLUS ™ (ISSN#1054-898X) The fashion magazine of the footwear industry is published monthly (except for bimonthly April/May and October 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. Ride-along mail enclosed. Publisher not responsible for unsolicited articles or photos. Any photographs, artwork, manuscripts, editorial samples or merchandise sent for editorial consideration are sent at the sole risk of the sender. Symphony Publishing NY, LLC, will assume no responsibility for loss or damage. No portion of this issue may be reproduced without the written permission of the publisher. ©2008 by Symphony Publishing NY, LLC. Printed in the United States.

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editor’s note wheeling and dealing

Show and Sell Online shopping isn’t going away, but does that mean stores as we know them might? A DIRTY PHRASE being bandied about in our industry lately is “showrooming.” Here’s how it works: A consumer enters a store to browse. He touches the merchandise, learns about features from a trained employee and possibly even gets fitted. Seconds later, he whips out a smartphone and conducts a nationwide search to see if the same item is offered elsewhere for less. If the retailer doesn’t match the lower price, many consumers walk out and buy the item online. Showrooming isn’t illegal and some shoppers don’t even realize it’s offensive. But it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that if this scenario plays out too often in a store, that store might eventually disappear. To that end, a recent Harris Interactive study noted 125 million Americans now use smartphones to comparison shop and four in 10 adults confessed to showrooming during the recent holiday season. What if one day there were no more showrooms to showroom in? Would consumers really be satisfied shopping virtually, given the lag time between buying and trying on a purchase? If not satisfied, would they be willing to start the process all over again? Suddenly, the Internet doesn’t seem all that quick, convenient or enjoyable. It seems cumbersome, inefficient and exasperating. I was reminded of the tremendous value a physical store offers during a recent bike ride. As I made my way from New York across the George Washington Bridge, I realized my rear wheel was leaking air and, worse, upon quick inspection, my tire was shot. I would need more than a spare inner tube to continue my ride. I knew a bike store had recently opened about a quarter mile north of the bridge on the New Jersey side. This happens to be a location hundreds of cyclists pass every weekend when the weather is nice on their way into and out of the scenic lower Hudson Valley region. It’s become a convenient meeting place for group rides, and the owners have added to its appeal with patio tables and umbrellas, free water refills and pumps. There’s also a selection of sports drinks and energy bars for sale as well as facilities for those who need to make a pit stop. But the best part of this store is its pit crew of bicycle mechanics. That Sunday

morning, I came upon a triage unit tending to flats, broken chains and derailleurs, loose brake cables…you name it. Despite the crowd, an employee greeted me within seconds, asked what was wrong and got me a new tire— one that even matched my yellow-trimmed front wheel. He assured me his team would have my wheel fixed in a few minutes. I was left to browse the store’s array of racing bikes and accessories. What avid cyclist doesn’t mind spending a few minutes drooling over carbon-framed eye candy? Beyond tantalizing patrons with gleaming racing bikes, this store serves a vital purpose for the local riding community: maintenance on demand. I was out the door in 15 minutes and enjoying my ride again—all for $90. The tire and inner tube were priced competitively, which means the labor came to less than $25. In three simple words, “I’ll take it.” The prompt, courteous service made my experience even more pleasant and left me more willing to frequent the store in the future. In fact, I feel an obligation to do so in the hopes that it will still be in business the next time I run into a mechanical issue. If the staff had tried to price-gouge me because they had me over a flat tire, so to speak, I would have changed my flat myself and headed home. This store’s best chance for long-term survival lies in its service—not in preying on hapless cyclists. Word travels fast among the area’s weekend warriors. If the place is a clip joint, they’ll take their business elsewhere. Brick-and-mortar shoe stores offer similar value. Shoes aren’t going away anytime soon. People need proper fitting. And millions of them drool over the latest styles, which means a store with cool ambiance and fashions provides entertainment. Add knowledgeable, courteous sales staff to the mix, and odds are good that customers will whip out their wallets instead of their smartphones. Besides, what’s the alternative? Accusing customers of stealing your services and shooing them out of your store? That’s no good for business. Technology isn’t going away, so retailers must play to their strengths: service, selection and setting. And if a particular brand keeps popping up all over the Internet at discount prices, perhaps it’s time to carry others with cleaner distribution. There are hundreds of them itching for the opportunity.

Greg Dutter

Editorial Director

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High Line Flowing high-low hems frame this season’s crop of ankle boots. By Melodie Jeng 8 • june 2013

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California Dreamin’

If it seems like designers are taking a laidback approach to creating their Spring ’14 collections, they are. From warm hues to natural materials, the season looks to be awash in the West Coast’s finest relaxed attributes. By Angela Velasquez DID THE ENTIRE footwear industry stream The Endless Summer for design inspiration? Or is it just a coincidence that designers have collectively woken from their winter hibernation invigorated by the endless possibilities of sun-kissed, color-washed, über-casual designs for Spring ’14? At first peek, the season looks to be a case of California Dreamin’ all over again. Deconstructed penny loafers, an abundance of canvas, warm shades of yellow, along with natural materials are all part of the Californication of footwear that has even swept up brands that traditionally skew East Coast, like Sebago and Sperry Top-Sider—both are as iconic to Nantucket and Cape Cod as the region’s lighthouses and lobster shacks. Bradley O’Brien, vice president of women’s design and global trends for Sperry Top-Sider, a division of Wolverine Worldwide, says the brand’s California-inspired end of the spring collection has a youthful, free spirit vibe reminiscent of the ’70s with salmon, orange, bright yellow and turquoise playing starring roles. “These colors are balanced with blushing bride pink and pretty violet,” she adds as an ode to sunsets and sunrises. Photo real images of beach landscapes, vibrant Hawaiian prints and Mexican serape stripes build upon the Baja look—the latter being a fresh alternative to last spring’s tiring obsession with Native American-inspired textiles. Sister brand Hush Puppies is taking a more swingin’ approach to the California look with its laidback suede penny loafers and moc toes that call to mind the retro cool guy vibe of the Rat Pack lounging about The Beverly Hilton. That focus on easy-on, easy-off silhouettes is part of the brand’s reorganization of its casual product. “We’re focused on reinventing ourselves in the casual sector,” says Dana Strand, global product line manager, adding that Spring ’14 will revisit trend details Hush Puppies became known for in the early ’60s such as colorful suede piping on men’s shoes. Throwback geometric prints from the ’50s and ’60s lend a bright, yet nostalgic, feel to women’s shoes. Nods to the era’s jewelry and furniture are also

spotted throughout the line. The brand is paying close attention to cup soles along the same vein of the So-Cal look made famous by Vans. “We’ve seen an increase of interest in that type of shoe for the last couple of seasons now,” Strand reports. “We are happy that sneakers are again an interesting and relevant option for women outside of the gym,” says Tretorn designer Elizabeth Renda, adding that the trend suits the brand’s tomboy aesthetic for women to a tee. “We have a new sneaker style launching that is unlined, deconstructed and court based—elegant but relaxed at the same time,” she reports. The casual athletic shoe is a new category that Corso Como is digging into more deeply as well since a successful first run this spring. “We’re planning to redo the two styles we introduced with an expanded range of materials including more prints, lace details and new color combinations,” says Maxwell Harrell, president. “They look like a feminine Chuck Taylor.” While the exec believes in these streamlined casual kicks, he doesn’t expect to see the current rage of flashy wedge hi-tops sticking around for next spring. “It’s overdone now as it is and people will be past it by next spring,” he predicts. “People who are wearing wedge sneakers now will be the ones going for shoes with a chunkier heel.” Less about surf culture and pick-up volleyball games and more along the lines of San Francisco, circa the Summer of Love, the more fashion-forward end of the California macro spring aesthetic involves bulky block heels, wood soles and the continuation of espadrilles and wedges. Block heels are a bolder look Harrell is vetting for, especially for customers who don’t want a ladylike single-sole pump. Vogue Footwear is bulking up with chunkier sandal silhouettes in more muted, less saturated color palettes with vegetable tanned leathers, including city-friendly fisherman sandals. The label’s assistant line builder, Jessica De Castro, notes that these styles will especially be important for later in the season and suit the trends toward tunics, maxi

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boho story by implementing more natural materials on the outsoles. Jute wrapped wedge sandals from Sebago, for example, offer a dressier alternative to the brand’s more streamlined and classic range of flats, and Hush Puppies is testing the waters with textile-wrapped wedges. “Cork is on a big comeback, too,” Harrell of Corso Como states, as a material for uppers and heels. Hush Puppies is bringing color-washed cork to wedges. O’Brien reports Sperry Top-Sider is playing with color-tinted and printed cork as well. Au natural materials carry into women’s flats and men’s styles, too. Raffia adds a beachy, earthy texture to French Sole’s classic ballet flats, where macramé brings a bohemian flair to Sebago’s women’s sandals. On the men’s side, the label turned to even more natural elements to spruce up its mostly brown leather, canvas, suede and nubuck offerings. “Men’s are washed and distressed. They have a driftwood feel to them,” describes Gary Malamet, general manager. Similarly, Tretorn blended natural textures to its otherwise crisp spring range. “Our most compelling inspiration comes from looking at the interaction of natural elements like GLAMIATOR wood grains sitting alongside modern elements of urban Gladiator sandals are back, which Restricted General Manager James Matush says corre≠ life,” Renda explains. Linen and canvas are go-to fabricasponds with the trend for multi≠ straps on footwear. ì Youí ll see them with the back heel cut≠ tions for Tretorn to update some of its most popular styles out, some embellishment and shiny bling,î he describes. Corso Como President Maxwell including the Nylite sneaker and slip-on Skymra sneaker. Harrell says the silhouette demands metallic materials. ì Metallics are going to play a big Like a fake tan, canvas—be it washed, crinkled, distressed role, especially gold,î he reports. Rose gold is also picking up as a neutral and accent in or faded—may be the simplest way to convey the casual, Restricted and Taosí collections. In terms of metallic embellishments, think more pretti≠ coastal look permeating footwear without actually being a fied details like crystals and sprinkles of beads, not harsh studs. ì Thank you, but weí re over beach bum. On boat shoe silhouettes—the result is as idyllic [studs and spikes],î says French Sole spokesperson Saadia Hussain. Bradley Oí Brien, vice as a California afternoon spent sipping piña coladas by the president of womení s design and global trends for Sperry Top≠ Sider, agrees everyone got Pacific. Tretorn is updating its version of the boat shoe in the memo: studs are out for Spring í 14. fresh spring canvas colors. Whether in canvas or leathers, Malamet of Sebago says COLOR BY NUMBERS boat shoes will be where you’ll see the most attention to As Sebago General Manager Gary Malamet puts it: Nothing goes to zero. He says color is color. “You’ll see more color in the Dockside shoe for women still important but not a driving force for spring. ì Think classic accents of colors that make and men than anywhere else in the line. That’s where we sense,î he says. Shots of navy and red with chocolate and burnished tan is about as color≠ play with color combinations,” he adds. On the flip side, ful as Sebagoí s mení s range goes, but the womení s line is renewed with washed Nantucket the season’s key neutrals will conjure up images of dunes colorsó cranberry, teal and sea foam greenó that take on a bolder appearance on pearlized and seashells. “Men are still into traditional tans and muted patent leathers and against white. Angilina Douglas, director of design and development grays,” Strand reports, “while women are seeing pastels as a for Taos, sees more dusty hues coming onto the scene. Likewise, pastels like mint and coral new neutral, like softer hues of green and purple.” Restricted are key colors for Restricted. These muted and classics colors hint to a fashion backlash General Manager James Matush expects pale peach, rose against the intense neon hues that took over last yearí s street and athletic styles. and blush pinks to be key, as well as nude. Tretorn, Dansko and French Sole are using tan, slate and oyster gray tones HOT TROPICS in lieu of bright white. “We like the freshness of grayedAs Dansko Creative Director Ann Dittrich says: Every womaní s closet needs a bright sandal off neutrals,” says Ann Dittrich, Dansko creative director. for a party. Vogue Footwearí s homage to Miami offers retailers that pop of color needed She adds that these colors are sophisticated and versatile to spice up the shop floor. ì This is where we saw an opportunity to use bright colors, raf≠ enough to wear with any number of clothing choices. fia and interlace wovens,î Vogue assistant line builder, Jessica De Castro, describes. Tropical A wild card for what plays well next spring fashion-wise island prints such as kitschy pineapples, tie≠ dye and animal prints in un≠ natural colors add is the lingering memory of this spring’s weather or, more a fun and flamboyant look to sandals and wedges. To that end, Corso Como is revisiting its precisely, the lack of warmth nearly nationwide. Whereas Brazilian roots with vibrant splashes of green and yellow. in recent seasons retailers complained about sluggish boot sales due to mild winters, this year sandals have collected CLEAR INTENTIONS dust as the nation shivered in one of the coldest springs ì Ití s hard to do a clear shoe in a sophisticated way, but weí re going to play with that pos≠ on record. While one can never predict the weather accusibility,î Harrell of Corso Como states. Clear materials as uppers, or in Hush Puppiesí case, rately from one season to the next (remember last spring translucent outsoles, will add a light look to womení s footwear. Sperry Top≠ Sider is incor≠ featured record warmth), Hush Puppies’ Strand expects porating Lucite materials into wedges. For men, brands are taking a more athletic approach the cold to impact Spring ’14 buying patterns. As such, she to airy, breathable footwear with sporty mesh uppers, ‡ la slip≠ ons by Tretorn and Sebago. advises, “The key is to focus on transitional styles with a mix of open- and close-toe silhouettes.” And depending on SEA WORTHY how fashion-forward your clientele is, you might already Like clockwork, nautical details return for spring. Braided and knotted embellishments be seeing this trend in apparel. Strand says this spring men offer a chic nod to the perennial trend, but this year brands like Sperry Top≠ Sider are look≠ and women are taking it upon themselves to make their ing for more literal approaches to show its seaside heritage with Breton stripes, sea critter wardrobe more counter seasonal by wearing full-length embroideries and bold navy and white combinations. Vogue Footwear is diving in with iri≠ pants rolled up at the first hint of sunshine, which just so descent and water≠ like materials with a very directional seascape color palette. And with happens to be the perfect style to show off new shoes while pearl and crystal adornments, De Castro notes, ì Ití s like you dunked your foot into a sea strolling along the beach. • treasure.î ó A.V. dresses and palazzo pants in women’s wear. On the earlier end of the season spectrum, espadrilles and wedges are designers’ go-to source for adding a bit of height to their collections, although Strand believes after seasons of sky-high platforms, footwear will drop to lower heel heights. “Heels are not over, but the industry will be pulling back on them,” she predicts. Plus, these silhouettes are still ringing the registers, not to mention giving designers a broader canvas to tell their West Coast

More to Love

While every label has its core product, these fun and imaginative trends being cast out for Spring ’14 might just be the bait to hook shoppers.

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RUN N I N G M A N Having just completed a brand makeover and introduced an eponymous label, Adam Tucker, president of Me Too Footwear, shows no signs of slowing the pace as the company races to the next level.

ADAM TUCKER IS off and running—literally. If it’s not the day-today running of Me Too Footwear in New York—meetings with the sales team, the design team and pretty much any team within the company— it’s the frequent hurrying to catch flights to Seattle, Dallas, Los Angeles and wherever necessary to present the brand’s latest collections to its retail partners. In addition, there’s the enormous international running around of late required to introduce his new label (Adam Tucker Me

Too), which has involved plenty of running back and forth to Europe and to China—upwards of eight times in the past year alone with regards to the latter—to make sure no detail is overlooked. Last but not least, there’s the daily morning runs Tucker takes to clear his head and prepare for the multi-tasking skills his job demands. Tucker wouldn’t have it any other way. For starters, he likes to keep moving. “I like purpose. I like being busy. I’m just not good with free time,” he says, noting he recently tacked on a trip to India to meet with the owners of a factory making a small collection of Me Too boots (see side bar, p. 20) before jetting to China to review the brand’s latest line. Being a relatively small company trying to keep pace with the conglomerates that run at full-steam, Tucker says being fit to run hard is simply job requirement No. 1. If you lack the stamina or are just unwilling to put forth such effort, he believes you’ll quickly run your business into the ground. “The business has just gotten tougher and more brutal,” he says. “[My competitors] just don’t stop. They are machines. And they are not going away, so they really make us step up our game.” In fact, Tucker believes retirement is not even a consideration for those career lifers. “They are going to die with a shoe in their hands,” he says, only half-kidding. “But since they are never going to hand me the baton, I’m going to have to try and take it from them.” That’s not to say Tucker hasn’t been offered opportunities to join a relay team of sorts. There has been a fair share of conglomerates interested in acquiring Me Too, but Tucker values the company’s independence and agility too much to go that route. “I got too much Hemingway or Tucker in me,” he laughs. “My father (Mark) was the same way. It’s not about the control as much as it’s about the competitive aspect of winning and losing on my own terms.” And Tucker is OK with taking a few bumps along the road, because he feels that after more than 20 years in this business he has gained the experience and knowledge to now come out on the winning end far more often than not. “No matter what industry, we all have our prime and don’t want that to be taken from us,” he offers. “And at 45 I believe I’m just in the prime of my career where nothing is going to take me off this ride that I foresee for our team.” Tucker understands that in order to get Me Too to the next level he needs to expand. “If your shoes are successful and you do the right thing by the brand, then you are going to grow,” he says. “But you must be prepared for that growth.” Tucker adds, “You see the magic of what

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O&A one item can do in terms of sales. So imagine the magical ride it can become when you hit an overall brand concept. That’s what we’re aiming for.” The way Tucker sees it, he’s got at least 15 to 20 years to go before he taps out, so there’s no time like the present to kick it into an even higher gear. Step one was the Me Too facelift. Tucker describes it as a “push pause” moment, realizing that the brand was resting too much on its flats-based laurels. “We reached a plateau and the product needed a bit of a makeover,” he explains. “We got a little bit younger without losing anything as far as the overall classic, easy dress look of the brand and its comfort appeal.” So far so good as Tucker reports that, in the face of a cold spring, sales were up noticeably over last year. “The brand has been refreshed and I believe we What are you reading? will really maximize that aspect going Wonder by RJ Palacio. into next spring,” he says. My 11-year-old son Jacob On the heels of that came the Adam turned me on to it. It’s Tucker Me Too launch this spring. phenomenal. I read it Tucker says the decision came partly in one shot, which is a out of his intense competitive drive and miracle for me. a look at the current retail landscape. “It seems like everyone is coming up What one word best with multiple brands. So I decided to describes you? I’m a compete in that arena too,” he says. walking oxymoron. I’m Tucker aimed for something reflective a total clown, but I’m of his own design sensibilities and to extremely driven. I’m not have it be just another “me too” laidback, but I’m also product—literally and figuratively. competitive. “It’s very different from what I see in the marketplace,” he says. “It’s not What is inspiring you just some gimmick to try and make most of late? Being from more margin, to play name games Boston and watching or soothe my ego.” A muse, Tucker people come together notes, is actress Kate Hudson. “It’s after the bombings. what I picture her wearing. It’s super Obviously, it shouldn’t cute and totally casual.” Specifically, take something like he describes the collection as more that, but it was nice to hand-finished and buffed with vintage see when the chips were leathers, heavier bottoms and leather down how people rose linings—an overall “downtown” vibe. together. “Me Too is your classic uptown brand with patents, clean leathers and ornamentations with a little more shine to them, whereas Adam Tucker gets a little more dirty,” he says. It’s also a little more expensive: Me Too suggested retail runs from $79 for flats to booties that are $100 to tall boots ranging from $149 to $159. Adam Tucker runs from $99 for flats up to boots that are priced from $250 to $300. The only similarity between the two brands, Tucker notes, is in the comfort aspects. Despite the intense competition that only shows signs of getting tougher, the industry-wide sourcing woes in China, the increasing demands of retailers, the price pressures brought upon by the Internet and consumers who are more discerning than ever, Tucker confesses that he is enjoying the business more than ever. “It’s that oxymoron response to what one word best describes me,” he laughs. “I’ve never been more happy or excited about being in this business, but at the same time it’s harder than it’s ever been.” Tucker’s joy largely stems from the long-term potential he sees for Me Too Footwear. “I don’t think that we’ve hit our full running stride and there’s plenty more room to grow,” he says. “And I love the whole challenge that it entails.”

So what makes Adam run? I see the growth and the opportunity that lies ahead for our company. And I’m so competitive that when I get into something, I’m just really all in. Unfortunately, this business has become 10 times harder than when I first started. And it’s getting harder every year as there are more and more challenges. Yet I see such opportunity. I guess I’m not tapped out or beaten down yet. Although, I do shake whenever I grab my Blackberry in the morning fearful (mostly) of what challenge the factories will present that day. But after my run, I’m truly energized and ready to roll.

OFF THE CUFF What famous person in history do you admire? Following my recent trip to Key West, FL, it’s Ernest Hemingway. He was unapologetic about living life to the fullest and always loved the journey. Who would be your most coveted dinner guest? Bob Dylan. I just love eccentric people like a Hemingway and Dylan.

How is business this year so far? It’s coming back well. Overall, business has been tough as many brands have had to deal with a cold spring and its subsequent impact on sandal sales. You don’t want to lean on bad weather because you want to believe that if an item is good it will sell no matter what. But it won’t if it’s 35 degrees and raining outside, which it has been that for a while this spring across huge parts of the country.

Specifically, what’s different about Me Too since its makeover? The overall aesthetic is best described as refreshed. Basically, halfway through a recent season I asked myself, “God, What is your most guilty am I going to build another basic flat pleasure? A breezy, fall in patent leather? And tell everyone Sunday afternoon. Football. it’s also flexible and comfortable?” I Family. Food. Lounging. felt that we needed to expand from our comfort zone. We got a little bit fresher What might people be as far as the overall look and materials surprised to know about are concerned. Instead of just churnyou? Deep down, I’m ing out flats in black, red and driftvery shy and private. And wood, we got more interesting as far as I’m a huge sports fan, materials—fabrications, leathers, pony particularly that of the hairs and ornamentation. Our categoBaltimore Orioles. ries expanded as well. We went down from 70 percent flats to about 30 percent. Making up the balance is sandaltype footwear and dress styles—a lot more heels than before. But it’s classic dress, nothing junior-y or too over-the-top. It’s right in the strike zone of what brought Me Too to the table. You expanded further into boots as well, right? Actually, that’s our biggest breakthrough of all. We’ve placed as many boots and booties as we ever had this year. I believe that’s going to take Me Too to the next level, because we tended to ride flats through fall just by redetailing them in darker colors and fabrications. The fact is boots and booties are now selling year-round. Along those lines, we’ve established a niche by offering basic combinations of leather and stretch boots with padding. How would you describe the boot market overall now that it is no longer as dominated by a particular brand and silhouette? That’s a good question. There are cycles and eventually downswings to all of them. That look largely was replaced by a sea of black riding boots last

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fall. Since we didn’t have the name recognition in that category and were heavily skewed in flats, it forced us to do mid-heel boots and booties. They look sexy but aren’t too aggressive. And it also got us away from what everybody else was doing. This fall I’m seeing trends toward a casual military boot, which I think we are in a perfect position with the Adam Tucker Me Too brand. I got lucky because I naturally lean toward more casual designs. We did a lot along the lines of military, motorcycle and vintage-y boots that have a little more lug to them. That’s been our biggest score on top of filling in on mid-heel boots and booties that are built on a comfort construction.


Do you expect the boot category to be more eclectic for a few seasons or will it coalesce around one look? I think it’s going to be a little more all over the place. A lot of times when a big run slows down it opens up the market for brands to try and fill that void. This is where the need for creativity comes heavily into play. There’s not that big item that’s easy to chase. But you can never go too far off base where you build something that is beyond sellable.




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Is this a better environment for the industry as opposed to having an easy target? I think so. I like change and I’m into this added degree of challenge and need for creativity. For a brand like Me Too, where we are still on the rise, this type of eclectic market is a perfect scenario.

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Did that factor in with the decision to launch the eponymous label this year? The truth is the idea has always been there. In that sense, it’s what you live for. But the reason it specifically came about now is part of the same process that began about a year ago when I came to the conclusion that Me Too could no longer rest on its laurels. We needed to take it up a notch without raising the price because I like the volume. Still we needed to take it to the next level in terms of materials and expanding into new categories. It’s basically the same scenario behind the launch of the Adam Tucker Me Too brand. I just didn’t see this look in the market in the way I felt I could do it. While anybody can make a casual shoe, why does one flat sell and another doesn’t? I think we became very good because of the extra details we put into our product, and that makes all the difference. And I knew we could do that with my brand as well as anyone else. I see the look out there a bit, but it’s much higher priced. So I figured we could fill a void.


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How has Adam Tucker Me Too been received? It’s been well received and the Yale smoking slipper, in particular, has performed phenomenally at Nordstrom this spring. It has literally been 25 to 28 percent sell-through a week. The online reviews for the line have also been incredible—and I’m not the one writing them. I have some sandals coming out now and this fall we’ll add some boots and booties that take the brand’s direction a little more forward. And let me just add, not that I don’t care about Me Too, but when you put your name to something there’s that extra gear that comes into the process that says, basically, “God, don’t let me make a complete ass of myself.” There’s a lot of pride involved. Why not just call it Adam Tucker and drop the Me Too? Because my ego is really not that big that I think that I could carry the

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brand on my name alone just yet. I need all the help I can get at first. (Laughs.) Me Too is a good name that carries some weight and consumers respect. Eventually, I could step out of the Me Too shadow. In fact, I’m planning to show a five-shoe package at this month’s FFANY that’s just Adam Tucker. Counter to what some people claim, retailers are interested in new brands and styles. Absolutely. But it’s really a numbers-driven game today and you’ve got to perform. Every retailer I know—from independents to online to department stores—are busting our balls about numbers because they are really up against it, too. They demand shoes that perform. And a lot of the buyers today are women who really love and know shoes. You can’t hide from that. The product is either there or it’s not. I mean, in the old days people were doing cocaine and writing orders on napkins. It’s not like that anymore. Relationships are great, but retailers today will tell you two dinners in that your product sucks and that this isn’t going to work. But that just keeps our juices flowing, because there is no room for error. There’s so much competition to choose from as an alternative. Back in the day it was often a case of, “We’ll ride you out for a couple of seasons, you’ll give us our markdown money anyway and as long as you guarantee the margins who cares...” No more. Now you’ve got the little Adam Tuckers of the world coming up and even ones behind me who can’t wait for you to fail. It’s cut throat and more competition than retailers can even buy, but they are at least willing to check it out.


Everyone is possibly one item away from the next $100 million run. You’re absolutely right. There’s always that opportunity if you do it right, and buyers can’t ignore something that is right no matter whom it’s from. They can’t and won’t ignore talent. And that competition is coming from everywhere. Perhaps, after all, this business won’t dissolve into five wholesalers competing for the shelf space of five retailers? I don’t think so because, for one thing, the consumer has the ultimate say. A lot of people believed that amid the recession consumers would get more conservative and go to their standby brands, but the biggest growth period our company experienced was during that time. I think I know why: Because consumers wanted something a little different and they also wanted value. People gave us a shot and we took a lot of market share during that time because we delivered on both of those fronts. I think the opposite occurred in that consumers lost faith in many of the brands they once trusted, particularly ones like banks and financial institutions. I’m a witness to that because it happened with our brand. And that’s why I believe there are always opportunities in the marketplace. There’s always people looking for something new—consumers and retailers. It’s not just a shut-down deal where they are relying on the standard brands. Do you consider yourself a designer first or a president? I guess I’m a president first because I’m involved in all aspects of the business. A CEO may seem more hands-off and I wouldn’t want to go there because I’m really just a glorified salesman. I tell my team that we are all on the same playing field and let’s just make this happen. Although I will add that working with production, systems and sales teams makes me

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O&A better at the other aspects of my job. Each one schools me to be better at the next. And I have a great team behind me that all do their individual jobs phenomenally well, which allows me to jump around. Have you developed a sixth sense on whether a particular shoe will be a hit? Yes and no. Some do much better than I thought and there have been stinkers where I couldn’t believe they missed their mark. And then, for example, there’s the Yale smoking slipper that I just knew was going to be a big hit. The fact is if you hit two or three constructions and maybe a couple of patterns out of an entire collection where you may be showing 150 styles total, then that’s a home run. Maybe 90 percent of your shoes just don’t work. And we build six collections a year, and I’m compulsive beyond belief where I bring in 60 styles even for in-between collections when the industry norm is 20 styles.

Why is there such extraordinary room for error? I really don’t know. There’s only so much shelf space and that’s a magical little spot where everybody decides if it’s a good shoe or not. And if it’s not, you can’t say, “Well, I had that other style that we all agreed wasn’t good enough beforehand...” That doesn’t matter. A lot of times you are limited by the department stores’ style directives. While I may have a few items off their beaten path and believe they would sell phenomenally, they don’t play into what they are looking for. We can test them online but, for the most part, because of minimum issues you have to support what is being supported by the industry as a whole. Otherwise, you are taking a huge risk with your factory. It’s a tough decision. Speaking of online, what’s your assessment of that tier going forward? Pretty much all retailers report that the Internet is the biggest sales growth

A PASSAGE TO INDIA? Could the industry’s next great sourcing partner be found in the world’s second-most populous country? AMID THE CURRENT China syndrome (demands for higher wages and many facto≠ ries switching to other forms of production) impacting pretty much anyone sourcing foot≠ wear in that country, manufacturers are looking to potential new lands. The search includes revisiting of old partners like Brazil, the Dominican Republic and Mexico, as well as exploring newer locales like Ethiopia, Morocco and India. Adam Tucker, president of Me Too Footwear, is no exception. While he enjoys a solid relationship with his current Chinese factory base and envisions no near≠ term rea≠ son to make a clean break, thatí s not to say there have been increasing challenges with its ability to meet all of the brandí s growing pro≠ duction needs. Thus, his recent trip to India. Tucker added the stop on his way to China to meet the owners of a well≠ regarded, family≠ run operation that is making a tight collection of boots for Me Too, and also does a lot of business in Europe. Tucker made the connec≠ tion via the ownersí son whom he met years ago through industry colleagues when he was working in Hong Kong. ì I decided to take the extra two≠ hour jaunt to check out the facility and do the ë meet the parentsí kind of thing,î Tucker says. The factory also happens to be relatively near the Taj Mahal, so Tucker saw the bonus of getting in touch with his ì inner selfî before moving on. ì Our boots look really high≠ end. I was walk≠ ing Bloomingdaleí s the other day and it com≠

petes on any casual boot they were carrying in the $350 range,î Tucker says. (The Me Too boots will be priced in the $150 to $250 range.) ì They really follow through on the product specs and ship on time, which is not easy to find in India,î Tucker adds. ì They are real shoe people.î Tucker says the India factory is also flexibleó another attractive quality. ì They caní t produce a huge amount, but Ií m comfortable with their output and they can handle smaller runs as well,î he says. While Me Too isní t a small≠ orders com≠ pany normally, the occasional 1,000≠ to 1,500≠ pair run can be ideal. ì If I really believe in an item, I can have 3,000 to 4,000 additional pairs ready to back it up,î he says. ì I can take the risk and order a little ahead of time than on average.î Nonetheless, Tucker believes China is still the primary factory base for Me Too and the industry as a whole for the foreseeable future. ì If you are still willing to pay a little bit extra for quality product and can fulfill their production minimums, then I believe China is the answer,î he says. The fact is China still wins on lead times, produc≠ tion quality and an experienced labor force. ì Even though India has the hands to produce a massive amount, they doní t have the skills yet. Ití s still very raw,î Tucker offers. And, as evidenced by one of Tuckerí s recent trips to China, thereí s no shortage of people willing

to work in its shoe factories. ì I passed facto≠ ries on the way to ours where lines of people a half≠ mile long were waiting for an inter≠ view,î he says, noting it was a relief that the labor supply exists but sad to see so many people desperate for work. ì Thereí s still plen≠ ty of factory workers, and Ií m also heartened by the fact that our partners take good care of their people. Ií m there enough to know that weí re in a good spot.î ó G.D.

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area, and I see it in sales with our Internet partners. But with our distribution remaining very clean, we haven’t cannibalized our sales. If a customer shops Me Too there’s generally one consistent price online. We strive to protect the integrity of our brand. Otherwise it can start to look like a cheap discount brand. It also helps create a trust factor with our existing retail partners. Are we heading toward a world some day where the majority of all shopping will be conducted online? I don’t know, but the truth is I really hope not. That’s not how I built Me Too. Personally, I want to go into the store to touch and feel the shoes. Plus, there’s something about the human touch. I don’t even like to do banking online. I want a human being dealing with me. I want some level of accountability. Maybe I’m old school, but I don’t believe the industry is fully going to go that way. I get that online shopping is convenient: If you see something in the store, try it on, you can [then] buy it from them later online so you don’t have to carry it around. But initially, I have to be up close and personal with shopping. So long as you buy it from that store’s online site. If consumers just use brick-and-mortar stores as showrooms they will not survive. It’s a problem. We definitely see a lot of independents struggling, which is a shame because I shop a lot of those stores and I’m blown away how beautiful some of them are. I, for one, am more willing to make a purchase in those types of stores. But it’s tough to buck a system like online shopping when the technology allows one to instantly find it cheaper elsewhere. But that partly goes back to having a clean distribution policy. Between all of our highs and lows with the majors, independents have been our most loyal retail base and we value them tremendously. That’s why we’ve always had six reps killing it in all states. Some of the stores we have been doing business with for more than 10 years, and they have presidents that I talk with on the phone regularly. There’s something very authentic in those conversations where that small business owner is paying his or her bills in an effort to survive, and so am I. What do you love most about your job? The industry camaraderie. How we are all in it together. Every time I go to a show I realize how much bigger this all is. There’s a kinship that seems different than other industries. Perhaps that’s why many of those who leave come back. I love what this business has brought to my life, which includes having met my wife. I also love being in touch with fashion—it keeps me young. I love seeing all the work involved bleed down into a style that really pops—that’s really cool. Well, unlike VCR tapes, I don’t see the need for shoes becoming obsolete anytime soon. Even if I came up with a way to eliminate gravity so we can all float around, people will still buy shoes because they are just cool. I bought a new pair of running shoes the other day and during that first run I floated through those miles because there’s just something cool about that type of purchase. And it’s a relatively cheap thrill. And it’s the accessory that often tops off an outfit and just makes you feel good. What’s not to love? •

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The shoe industry came out in force for a greater good. COINCIDING WITH NATIONAL Volunteer Week, the first≠ ever Footwear Cares National Footwear Community Service Week, organized by the Two Ten Footwear Foundation, saw 66 footwear organizations of which thousands of employees pitched in on a variety of projects to support local communities and charities. The efforts spanned gathering and distributing donations for a local food bank, planting trees, cleaning playgrounds for kids and sprucing up centers for teenagers. The week involved working with national organizations like Feeding America, Lions Club International, Habitat for Humanity and Ronald McDonald House and local organizations like Chippewa Falls Main Street Association, Occupy Sandy Recovery and Nelsonville City Pool Beautification. Participating companies included Steve Madden, New Balance, Zappos, Puma, Timberland, Clarks and Brown Shoe Company. Benevity, Footwear Distributors & Retailers of America, Footwear Plus, The Jonas Group, H.H. Brown, Insource Services, National Shoe Retailers Association, SEI Institutional Group and United Shoe Retailers Association all sponsored the volunteer week. ì Footwear companies have a spirit of generosity unmatched by any other industry in the USA,î says Neal Newman, president of Two Ten. ì Footwear Cares is just one remarkable example of how deep footwear companies are committed to improving the quality of life in our local communities where we live, work and play.î


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A GOOD MOVE PAY IT FORWARD. Give back. Just do it. Do some≠ thing. Lend a hand. Reach out. Pitch in. No matter how you phrase it, taking action to help those in need is a good move, and it makes the giver feel pretty darn good, too. Thatí s exactly how myself and Footwear Plus col≠ leagues felt after a few hours spent lifting heavy boxes and sorting frozen meats at the Food Bank for New York City as part of the Two Ten Foun≠ dationí s inaugural Footwear Cares Week of national com≠ munity service. The effort got us out of our comfort zone, which primarily involves sitting behind computers creating this magazine. And despite some achy backs and a blister or two, the physical price was alleviated when we learned that we packed approximately 8,000 pounds of foodó enough for 6,000

meals for fellow New Yorkers. Helping us were fellow shoe industry volunteers from Schwartz & Benjamin, Jonas Group, RG Barry and Steve Madden. Competitors, in some cases, who instantly came together to become a meals≠ packing machine. For an organization built on the premise of ì shoe people helping shoe people,î it was exciting to see Two Ten extend its reach. All the people who benefited from Footwear Cares Week are our industryí s customers. What an ideal way to show a little gratitude in return. Based upon the tremen≠ dous response, plans are already in the works to expand the effort further next year. I urge you to help out. You wonít regret it. I would also like to congratu≠ late Two Ten on a terrific idea. Ití s a really good move. ó Greg Dutter


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w h a t ’ s s e l l i n g b out i que s



South Miami, FL

OMING OFF A renovation last summer, Capretto Shoes, founded in 1987, is doing better than ever, reports President Patty Fluxman. The 2,280-squarefoot store with its contemporary Parisian vibe draws in customers with an array of leading designers, including Prada, Miu Miu, Celine, Givenchy, Gucci, Isabel Marant, Jimmy Choo and Yves Saint Laurent. Each shoe and handbag is defined within its own space and is individually lit. In fact, Fluxman says the best thing to happen to the business this year has been the positive reception to the renovation. “It’s shed a completely different light on things,” she says. “The store is airy, bright and people are really responsive and it’s driving more customers in as well.” Fluxman, president since January 2008, would know because she’d been shopping at the designer boutique for years. “I had been a long time customer of Capretto and the timing was perfect,” she notes of taking over the store. Fluxman, formerly a director of corporate human resources for Steiner Leisure, a spa and skincare company, says, “The business model was unique in that there are very few independent shoe salons left in the country that sell luxury brands.” She adds that the sales team has been together for years. “We’re a family, and customers respond to our personal service. I recognized that there was a strong foundation, which I believed I could expand upon and bring to the next level.” —Maria Bouselli

Isabel Marant

Top-selling brands this spring: Prada and Miu Miu. They consistently bring it to the table. How’s business overall? We’ve had a very strong spring and I’m very pleased with 2013 thus far. Spring/summer is always a better season for us than fall. That’s a tricky buy for us. We don’t want customers to buy something that they can’t wear and get use out of. How would you describe your core customer? Sophisticated and sexy. Our clientele is extremely diverse. We have a large Latin clientele, professional women who want more practical shoes, and fashion trendsetters who only want labels that they cannot find in the leading department stores. What are this season’s leading trends? It’s all about color! Yellow and red are particularly strong. The single-sole shoe is back and has been strong this season. The menswear-inspired loafer and driver have also been strong and they’re moving into fall as well. The bootie is another must-have piece. You can pair a bootie with a dress or skirt and tights, or with jeans or even shorts in Miami.

What are your best-selling accessories? We sell a lot of Balenciaga and Celine handbags. Is there anything missing in the designer market right now? I really like the single sole [pump], but it’s a bit of an education to our customers because they really got comfortable with the platform. I’d like to see more of a mix. It would be a lot easier for us if the collections were more varied. Is there a particular trend that you are high on for this fall? I love the menswear inspired trend, like the loafer and the driver. And I like the use of embellishment, making it a more feminine shoe. It makes it more wearable.

What’s been the best new label added to your mix in the past year? Isabel Marant, which is hip, fresh and highly sought after. We cannot keep it in stock.

Where do your customers look for the latest styles? Some read fashion magazines, but a lot of customers rely on our Facebook and Instagram pages. We post pictures all the time, and our Instagram especially has had an impact on our business. Often it’s not the foot traffic [that brings in customers]. I’ve even had a girl in Milwaukee call and say she wanted a bag and shoes we posted.

Any emerging design talent on your radar? We just started carrying Pierre Hardy and it’s doing extremely well. It’s a good fit for our clientele, and I’m excited about the upcoming fall season.

What is your customer’s price limit? There’s that $3,500 maximum on a handbag and about $800 on shoes. We do carry much more expensive items but, on average, that’s what they’re willing to spend.

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An abundance of brands and styles. More than 1,600 lines all under one roof. Everything for your spring inventory. At the show consistently ranked the industry’s best by show attendees.



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w h a t ’ s s e l l i n g b out i que s

ELYSE WALKER Pacific Palisades, CA


LYSE WALKER OPENED her self-titled boutique in 1999 to provide luxury offerings to fashion-savvy women residing in the family-oriented community just north of Santa Monica. Today, she counts celebrities from Kate Hudson to Jennifer Garner as customers in her 6,500-square-foot boutique (2,500 of which is dedicated solely to footwear). Walker describes the look of the store as an art gallery that “shows off all of the shoe designers and their fabulous works of art.” The store offers luxury labels (including Givenchy, Valentino, Yves Saint Laurent, Isabel Marant, Nicholas Kirkwood, Alejandro Ingelmo and Christian Louboutin) to outfit women head-to-toe in clothing, footwear, jewelry and handbags. “We have people who drive and even fly long distances to come and shop here,” Walker maintains. A fact that delivers on the store’s mission statement: to make every customer leave with a smile. “Every time you visit, it should be a great experience,” Walker offers. “Ultimately, we want [customers] to feel good and comfortable enough that they want to come back.” —M.B.

Is there anything missing in the designer market right now? Shoppers really appreciate when a company like Prada or Miu Miu makes a sandal at an affordable price point. Is there a particular apparel trend that you are high on for fall? Architectural blazers. There are some amazing cuts with exaggerated shoulders, a tailored waist and peplum bottom. It’s a flattering shape that will make shoes even more important. What are you looking to add more of to your assortment for fall? I am always looking for a great 1- to 1.5-inch heel that is not frumpy! No matter how high the shoe—and we all love some serious height—you just can’t wear them all day, every day. It’s not easy to find! Where do your customers look most for the latest looks? Our Instagram and blog. Our customers love to follow us through New York and Paris Fashion Week; they like getting a sneak peek of what’s to come! What is your customer’s price limit? Once the price has a comma in it, it becomes a slower sale. Is the recession over for your clientele? It’s not completely over. The new retail roadblock is higher taxes in California. Everyone is talking about it, which is not great for sales. What is the smartest business move you made this year? To get back on the sales floor and listen to my customers. The customers have so much to tell me and I still have so much to learn.

Top-selling labels: Givenchy, Isabel Marant and Yves Saint Laurent. Who is your core customer? She likes to look up to the moment but still has a California flair of looking comfortable. She loves to know what’s new and hot but hates to be pushed into something that doesn’t suit her just because it’s “in” for the season. What have been your top-selling brands and styles this spring? A lowheeled, double-strap Givenchy sandal that can be worn everyday and a Valentino studded flip-flop, since we are about one block from the beach. Also Nicholas Kirkwood’s coral and watermelon-colored pumps are a beautiful, sexy color.


Alejandro Ingelmo

The season’s hottest colors: Nude and coral. What has been the best new label added to the mix this season? Aquazurra. It has a great price point and a ton of style. Best-selling accessories: The Woods, Tom Binns and Shourouk for jewelry, and Givenchy, Balenciaga and Yves Saint Laurent for handbags. Is there a particular designer that is uniquely popular to your locale? Isabel Marant from head to toe. Her boho-chic [style] really allows a “carpool mom” to feel stylish in a carefree look, and its low-heeled Dicker boots are so comfortable people buy them in multiple colors. Who is your favorite shoe designer and why? Alejandro Ingelmo. I love his architectural shoes, color palette and attention to detail. Any emerging design talent on your radar? I am keeping my eyes on the collaboration between Peter Pilotto and Nicholas Kirkwood. The shoes and designs are sick. 26 • june 2013

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THE ART OF PACKING Travel-friendly footwear takes the weight off one’s shoulders— literally—and presents an attractive add-on opportunity for retailers. By Lyndsay McGregor Smar tpho nes a elimi nd ta nate blets d the MP3 may need playe have t o r , dat tote block e a r p ound buste lanne a r nov r and carry e l t , but charg he la test most ers, s any o wom ungl ther a e sses, n stil just≠ fit in in≠ ca l make their s u e p and item purs New s the es. A York y can quick offic edito surve es of rs ha y Foo of th uling sauc e every twear Plu e to s fou thing pepp in th n er sp d from eir h ray t Taba andb o shoe s S c a o o gs. T ur Pa s into oss a tch K the m an af s i p d are p s ix ter≠ w air o ork w ó be it sn for d f e orko akers ate n ut or ightó fo avera t r e and i ndy p r ge ha t í u s mps ndba no w six p onde g we ound i r g s the hs m . Wh pack ore t ile th horse h e a y n habit caní t frien s, the help dly f o kick f o o twea llowi the l r solu ng tr oad, avel≠ whet tions comm her n want ute o a v t o lig igati r wal hten ng a king daily the S edon a tra ils.


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Butterfly Twists

HAPPY FEET Foldable flats that can be tucked in a purse serve as ideal relief from sky-high heels. IF YOU’VE EVER been guilty of kicking off your high heel shoes on the sidewalk when your feet are in such throbbing pain that going barefoot seems like a better alternative, there’s an easier way: the foldable flat. Perfect for commuting, these flexy shoes disappear into tiny pouches for popping into small spaces. You can play it safe with brown or black but brands like Butterfly Twists, Cocorose London, Footzyfolds and Yosi Samra have upped the style ante with bold colors and luxe materials. Make no mistake; these are not your flimsy drug store add-ons. “All of our shoes have double-cushioned leather insoles, non-slip outer soles and a petite heel to ensure the ultimate in comfort and support,” says Janan Leo, founder of Cocorose London, noting that she works with everything from pony hair to fish leather. Since launching in 2007, the brand has grown into a 100-piece collection, including collaborations with the Royal Ballet and Liberty Art Fabrics, and for the past three years has been an official gift partner to the British Academy of Film and Television Arts awards. While the likes of Dr. Scholl’s Fast Flats are only good for a handful of club-to-car runs, Leo’s handcrafted foldable shoes are made to be worn all day, every day if need be. Footzyfolds offers a similar longevity. “As we evolved we wanted the shoes to be a little more fashionable and comfortable, so we created a more substantial shoe with extra cushioning inside—the whole point of a flat is that you shouldn’t have to break it in,” says Sarah Caplan, who launched Footzyfolds four years ago with her sister, Jenifer. Today the line spans booties to boat shoes and is carried everywhere from QVC to Bloomingdale’s. “The Northeast has really proven well with us but now that we’ve introduced sandals to the lineup our numbers in the South are increasing,” she says. The brand’s merchandising team works directly with buyers to come up with displays and packing options depending on each store’s needs. “Hanging footwear has become very popular as space is a huge issue with some retailers,” Caplan notes. “We have created a special hangtag option for those retailers that wish to have our marketing but do not have the room to have shoes out on the floor in a traditional way.” In addition, Caplan says the company has developed sub-brands at different price points that allow it to sell in high-end boutiques to department stores to the middle market retailers. Along those lines, second-generation shoemaker Yosi Samra follows in his family’s footsteps with his eponymous range of bendable footwear that targets the “ultimate everyday girl.” Product features include soft leather that cradles the heel and stays snug with an elastic band along the top line, while a lightly padded footbed offers all-day comfort. “Due to the ultra-flexible design of the two-piece rubber outsole, our flats really do fold up into the most portable and convenient package,” Samra explains. The designer believes that the market is still in the early ages. “I’d like to think that the concept of a foldable flat is beginning to really take off. Customers love that our flats are real leather and that we offer both classic, timeless options and very trend-forward styles at a highly accessible price point,” he says. “I also believe that the convenience of being able to take off your heels, throw on your Yosi Samras and still be wearing a great outfit is something that women will always want.”

In the case of Butterfly Twists, it took a man walking in a woman’s shoes—literally—to realize the need for women’s foldable footwear. As company legend has it, one of Butterfly Twists’ four founding male partners (who wishes to remain nameless) lost a bet and found himself wearing 6-inch stilettos to a party, and the long night of discomfort prompted him to come up with an idea to end ladies’ high-heel suffering. Thus, Butterfly Twists was born. The team realized they were on to something pretty quick when, during its first trade show in 2009, it generated orders of more than 50,000 pairs in four days. The four founders subsequently quit their day jobs and set about developing more products and creating a lifestyle brand synonymous with practical fashion. “Our range already includes [foldable] boots, rain boots, flipflops and [cushion] socks and is quickly growing so our customers can use our shoes in a variety of different ways and in a variety of different situations all year round,” says Elizabeth Rodriguez, a representative for the London-based line.

Cocorose London

Yosi Samra


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Urban Explorer Tackle miles of gritty city sidewalks in style.




Dr. SchollĂ­ s


Trek Lightly

Lems Patagonia

Apres outdoor styles soothe feet following hiking adventures and double up as a lightweight alternative for city travels.

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D‰ v


PERFECT STORM Avoid getting drenched with packable rain boots. WHILE A LOT of rain boots are ideal for when it’s actually raining, once the weather clears, they quickly become nonfunctional. They’re too sweaty to wear all day and too big to pack in one’s purse. Several outdoor lifestyle brands are starting to acknowledge this utilitarian conundrum, and are beginning to move away from the clunky wellies of yesteryear to bow styles that transform from knee-high boots to flats that fit easily in handbags and suitcases. Take Bogs, for example. When the design team began to develop a rain boot for babies, it realized that a mini-me version of its adult styles was not the way to go. Rather than use rubber, the brand made waterproof, machine-washable booties with 3-mm Neo-Tech insulation and a cozy, plush lining. Lightweight and easily packable, it was a light bulb moment as the Summit will hit stores this fall in

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women’s styles as well. “We have a lot of women customers who live in the city or in places where the weather is inclement in the winter. They don’t want to wear a big heavy boot, but they still want to be protected from the elements,” explains Bill Combs, president of Bogs. “This boot is warm, washable and really light, and because it’s made out of Neoprene you can fold it up and put it in your gym bag or wherever.” And while Combs doesn’t think packable rain boots will sound the death knell for traditional wellies, he says frequent flyers will appreciate the travel-friendly aspect of them. “Everyone who travels a lot is always looking for the right footwear that will work for all climates they might encounter,” he says. “All boots, whether it’s a rain boot or a leather boot, are difficult to pack because they’re heavy and large, and we thought how great it would be to have a boot that looks like a boot but is soft enough to roll up just like a sock,” says Kerri Sengstaken, marketing director for Däv. Last year the brand introduced Festival, a rain boot with a waterproof rubber membrane between its fabric upper and lining that easily rolls up to disappear as soon as the rain clouds do. “To date, Festival is one of our top sellers,” Sengstaken reveals, but is quick to point out that foldable rain boots won’t be “the new wellie,” rather a great new option. “I think this is more of a trend—a beautiful boot that can be worn in any weather, totally versatile and great value,” she says. Meanwhile CitySlips’ co-founder Katie Shea notes that her rollable rain boots have sold as well in Albuquerque, NM, as in New York, and says the key is the makeup bag-size waterproof travel case that comes with each purchase. With regards to displaying the wellies, Shea advises retailers to keep two samples out on the floor, one rolled up in the travel bag, one standing upright as a normal pair of boots. “It’s proved effective in getting the functionality of the product across without demanding the highly valuable time of salespeople,” she says. >51

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Bionda Castana Steven Dann

El Naturalista


Emerald City The 2013 Pantone “Color of the Year” is set to renew, revive and refresh fall styles for all occasions.


J Shoes

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Angela Scott brogues, leather jacket and mesh top by DKNY, Veda leather skirt, Mawi necklace, Falke socks. 35

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This page: Gio Diev pumps, Ohne Titel paneled top and skirt. Opposite page: Laurence Dacade boot.


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Ivy Kirzhner stilettos, HervĂˆ LĂˆ ger dress, biker jacket and skirt by Bess, Fiona Paxton necklace. 38

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This page: Ruthie Davis stiletto sandals, Bess studded leather dress, A Peace Treaty necklace, cuff and bracelet by Zena Khan. Opposite page: Goffredo Fantini open≠toe harness boot, Vogue pump. 40

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This page: Nina metallic bootie, Ask Alice cutout pump. Opposite page: ZiGi Girl stilettos, metallic top and skirt by Kaelen, BCBG leather harness, Vanessa Gade gold bangles.


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5/22/13 3:05 PM

Brocade purse by Inge Christopher

Jessica Simpson clutch

D E S I G N E R C H AT : Calleen Cordero wristlet

“I LET MY imagination take over,” designer Maria Lorenzo says of her gravity-defying collection of platform stilettos. From silver fairy wands encased in clear heels and rainbow-inspired platforms to deceptively comfortable spike heel booties, Lorenzo’s debut collection this spring seemingly leaped from her outrageous sketches and onto daring women’s feet. But the first-time designer, who possesses a mathematics background, says it wasn’t easy getting there. It took three different factories in Italy and three rounds of prototypes in Lorenzo’s determination to create a line of heels that she always wished she had with the comfort features women the world over have sought for eons. “Each shoe has padding in the toe and where the heel meets the leg making it comfortable to walk in without feeling constrained,” Lorenzo explains. The Fall ’13 collection ($550 to $700 retail) is chock-full of animal prints, snakeskin and metallic leathers and includes Lorenzo’s first boot—a large blank canvas for her imagination to run wild. “I really love the futuristic direction that fashion is moving towards,” she says. Silhouettes are mostly closed toe and in the 5- to 6-inch heel range or, as Lorenzo puts it, “The higher the heel, the closer to God.” Color plays an important role, too, but the palette is slightly more subdued than spring. In a segment where designers often chase after the same trends, Lorenzo is determined to offer boutiques something that they can’t find elsewhere. “I want people to walk into a boutique and see a shoe that they’ve never seen before,” she says. “I want them to swoon.” —Angela Velasquez

Golden Touch Richly embellished evening bags are pure gold for fall.

Envelope purse by Whiting & Davis


Who is your target customer? The line tends style is on point, whether it’s trendy prints or mix to attract 20- to 40-year-old women who adore and match, she always pulls it together. fashion and know when they see something unique. What is your dream shoe? My dream shoe bears Which designers do you admire most? Christian inherent glam and edge and can be paired perfectly Louboutin, of course. I also admire Samantha with everything from jeans to a miniskirt. Joseph. She’s a unique designer because she makes trendy shoes for bigger sizes. There’s a real need What is a key tenet to designing shoes? You have for that in the market and she does it in a way that to be patient with the sample making process—be stays true to her design aesthetic. willing to go back to the drawing board and wait for the real thing. Everything has to come together. What shoe will we never see in your collection? Boot and high heel hybrids, or boots with open toes. What has been the best compliment you received I don’t like things that are in between. I love high about your designs? How trendy and super heels and I love boots, but I want them to stand on comfortable my shoes are. One client wore them their own. I also don’t know if I would ever design for more than six hours and did not experience the low heels or flats. It’s important to stick to what I discomfort that comes with high heels. know and love. If you weren’t designing shoes, what would Who is on your best-dressed list? Sarah Jessica you be doing? I would be working on my PhD in Parker is still the most fashionable woman. Her mathematics.



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FROM NETWORKING TO TEXTING Attendees at the 20th annual USRA May Event tackled hot≠ button issues relating to the rapidly evolving retail landscape. PERHAPS ONE OF the best takeaways from the recent USRA

technology and a brick-and-mortar experience. “Omni channel

May Event, held at the Wigwam Resort in Phoenix, AZ, was

is the new term,” he said. “Your store and customer service have

a casual aside overheard during one of the seminars discuss-

to be consistent throughout the supply chain and shopping

ing social media’s ever-growing influence in retail. In an effort

experience. The connected consumer wants to buy in one part

to better field the numerous questions from the approximately

of a chain, return it in another and take delivery in a third with-

300 people in attendance, it was suggested that rather than

out any barriers.”

a person with a mic racing from one end of the ballroom to

DeMartini noted that, in order to survive, independent

the other, it would be more efficient to text message questions

retailers must generate repeat business by building relation-

directly to the panel. That’s exactly the type of sound advice that

ships through superior customer service. He cited a Life is

was presented by several speakers in attendance at the three-

Good brand study that revealed existing customers were five

day conference, which included representatives from more than

times more likely to buy than new ones. Thus, servicing their

50 retail businesses and more than 60 wholesale companies.

best customers is what really drove its business. As an exam-

Robert DeMartini, president of New Balance, delivered a

ple of exemplary customer service, DeMartini highlighted the

sobering keynote presentation on the growing power of e-com-

efforts of Rob Murray, manager of Lucky Shoes in Columbus,

merce. He cited one study that noted 125 million Americans

OH. Murray sends hand-written notes to thank each customer

use smartphones to comparison shop and another study that

who buys shoes from the store. “Rob has found a powerful way

stated four in 10 adults confessed to showrooming during

to differentiate himself and Lucky Shoes from the barrage of

the last holiday shopping season. Despite what seems like an

choices and prices on the web,” DeMartini noted. “It’s that kind

insurmountable threat to traditional retail, DeMartini said it

of special service that will keep customers coming back to Lucky

needn’t be the case. For starters, he reassured attendees on how

Shoes for generations.” —Greg Dutter

independent retailers survived previous dangers, be it the Sears Catalog, shopping malls or Wal-Mart. The key to their ongoing survival: adaptation. “It’s not the strongest species that survives, it’s the one that is most adaptable to change,” DeMartini said. To that end, he advised retailers to adjust to consumers’ growing demand for a seamless approach to shopping that integrates

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TAKEAWAYSÖ ì Geo≠ marketing. Basically, to send texts to potential customers whose location is within a specific distance from your store like an invisible line that when crossed triggers the text. Our marketing team has found a few companies that offer this type of service and they will be pitching us soon.î ó Marc Takken, VP of merchandising, Takkení s Shoes, San Luis Obispo, CA

ì After listening to the presentation by Ron Cates we now have a Twitter account set up and will see where it goes [in regards] to reaching out and communicating with potential customers along with our Facebook, Instagram and website. And during pool chats I got some great info on emerging brands and some hot items.î ó Bruce Benge, owner, Bengeí s Shoes, Grand Junction, CO

ì New Balance President Robert DeMartini cited excellent stats concerning consumer shopping habits onlineó the most startling of which was 71 percent of Best Buy shoppers in≠ store end up making the final purchase online. Also, the analogies he used to reinforce the need for brands to reinvent themselves and evolve with their consumer or face the very real prospect of losing them entirely. His talk was timely given todayí s economic realities.î ó Bill Lucas, sales representative, Crocs

ì The town hall panel discussion. Issues like: MAP pricing; company≠ owned stores and how independent retailers feel about them; independents selling on Amazon off≠ price and vendors letting this occur; out≠ servicing versus trying to compete with price; demanding higher margins for independents; vendors stocking items in≠ seasonÖ Everyone in that room benefited from that open and honest discussion.î ó Danny Silver, general manager, Earth Brands

ì In addition to all the networking, this selling tip: Think of yourself as not only being in the shoe business but also in the hospitality business. To that end, I keep bottles of water and ë thank youí mints on the cash/wrap that is offered to all customers in addition to traditional thank youí s.î ó Barry Silver, owner, Brillí s Shoes, San Bernardino, CA

ì There was a lot of talk about marketing on the Internet and using cell phones to target and attract new customers. I also learned that I need to look into ways to better thank my customers for their business and be better at turning them into repeat ones.î ó Jim Foster, owner, Fosterí s Shoes, Tucson, AZ

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Oh, Canada! Menswear silhouettes mount up for La Canadienne’s fashionable fall line.

House Party Casa Couture dispels the notion that women must suffer for their fashion. AFTER YEARS OF struggling to find shoes that actually fit her feet, Claudia Espinola refused to sacrifice style for comfort. She was determined to have both, and so she left her 10-year career in consulting and studied footwear construction and design in Milan to solve this dilemma herself. “[I was] no longer willing to subscribe to the notion that fashion is pain, so I set out to create the first self-adjusting designer shoe,” she says. In 2008, Espinola started making custom shoes for clients with unique foot shapes and launched her collection of Casa Couture four years later. The brand is led by two patented comfort technologies. The first is the “Weight Shifting Technology” featured in a line of pumps that improves posture, balance and ankle stability as well as reduces pressure on the forefoot by shifting one’s weight back to the heels. The second patent is the “Self-Adjusting Technology” that gives a custom fit. “The insole and the upper construction allow our shoes to shift and expand in length and width,” Espinola explains, noting that this technology is perfect for swollen feet, irregular foot shapes or different size feet. With Casa Couture’s comfort attributes firmly addressed, Espinola has been equally determined to deliver on style. She describes the line as “uptown sophisticated with a strong yet feminine edge.” The

shoes are made from premium leather and soft satins sourced in Italy. The designer notes that she looks for materials that breathe, are water resistant and have enough elasticity to stretch and mold to the foot. “All of these features ensure you have a stunning designer shoe that fits perfectly every time,” she says, adding that each collection follows that season’s runway trends. “Today’s woman wants a stylish, comfortable shoe that is made with the same care and attention as the best runway pump but yet doesn’t make them want to dash into a cab and fling them off.” For fall Casa Couture takes a more creative approach than its two previous classic collections. Inspired by a necklace she picked up in a vintage shop, Espinola focused on a minimalist, modern geometric style with a pure color palette (think gray, midnight blue and black) and then mixed and matched different materials and colors. Two best sellers include the Olivia pump and Nikita bootie. “The bold color blocking on both really ups the ante of any ensemble,” Espinola offers. “The petite bow embellishment adds a touch of simple elegance on the bootie while the tubular embellishment on the Olivia adds a bit of a modern edge to a classic pump.” The wholesale price range for Casa Couture is $125 to $195. —Maria Bouselli

FORTY-FIVE YEARS AGO in Montreal, La Canadienne began addressing a need for a women’s boot that is both fashionable and practical, starting with waterproof capabilities. “Living in Canada where weather changes so frequently, it seemed natural that women would want waterproof, fashionable footwear to take them through fall and winter,” says Romy Feliciani, sales and marketing director for the brand. La Canadienne has stayed true to that mission and, for this fall, has updated some of its staples and added new on-trend styles—all of which answer what its target customer demands: fashion, style, quality and comfort. In terms of quality, the line sources the finest materials from Italy, from suede and leather to embellishments and zippers, and handcrafts the collection in Montreal. Comfort-wise, designers instill a 3-mm cushion memory foam insole to ensure satisfying all-day wear, with a breathable and antibacterial lining to keep the shoes like new. The other two design elements—fashion and style—play out in the silhouettes and colors for this fall. The menswear trend influenced several styles, including a flat stud-covered burgundy wingtip and a penny loafer, and La Canadienne’s take on a motorcycle boot was another stand out. The key to these street style additions is to ensure that they are done tastefully and subtly, according to Feliciani. “We don’t need to push boundaries, but we need to offer our customers styles that are fresh and current,” she says, adding that customers are reacting positively to the additions. Classic boot styles are also updated with lacing and buckle details, platform heels and soft shearling touches. For its next collection, La Canadienne will continue to develop designs based on “fashion trends, weather patterns and consumer feedback,” Feliciani says. Wholesale prices range from $130 for shoes to $235 for tall boots. —M.B.

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SUMMER MARKET | JULY 31 - AUGUST 3, 2013 Salt Palace Convention Center | Salt Lake City, Utah Open Air Demo | July 30, 2013 | Jordanelle Reservoir, Utah Find out at

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Ecco Expands its Empire The Scandinavian brand’s simple lines and clean silhouettes are echoed in its accessories.

Pony Up Dressage offers classic luxury inspired by equestrian excellence. SOME FOOTWEAR AND accessory brands slap a harness on a product and call it equestrian, but the luxury handbag line by Dressage likes to put a little more thought into it. With meticulous attention to detail and artistry, each tote, satchel and cross-body is a nod to the prestigious sport from which the brand takes its name: a braided handle harkens a horse’s mane; straps recall bridle halters; the interior lining is the same red as that of a first place rosette. “It’s nice to open your bag and have a bright interior as opposed to black, and on the flip side the red ribbon is the highest level of accomplishment in the sport of dressage. It adds a nice luxurious feel to the collection,” says Charles Chehebar, the label’s founder and creative director, whose family has been in the handbag industry for more than 30 years. “Dressage is the highest level of horse riding; I wanted to bring the same caliber to leather goods.” Handcrafted in Florence, Italy, from vegetable tanned leather, each handbag has a sleek, structured shape with plenty of organization inside, while feet protect the bottom from scratches and dirt. “Anything we put our name on has to meet the standards of who we are. We work closely with the factories to ensure everything right down to the stitching is on target,” the creative director says. One standout silhouette features hand-woven handles (that Chehebar says will develop a nice patina over time), Italian naturally shrunken nubuck and pockets accessible from both the exterior and interior. As for whom the Dressage customer is, Chehebar offers, “Whether it’s a 30-year-old on Madison Avenue or the elegant women of Palm Beach, we try to not make it too fashion-forward. It has an iconic look that gives off a sense of elegance where we can meet those two demographics.” And just as “horse ballet” is often associated with the upper echelons of society, Dressage is targeting high-end boutiques with a suggested retail price range of $1,295 to $2,895. For Spring ’14 Dressage will expand to include luggage, small leather goods and a full men’s collection. “We’re not about screaming fashion and repeated logos,” Chehebar offers. “We’re for that understated customer who understands that they’re carrying a piece of quality.” —Lyndsay McGregor

ECCO MAY BE based in Denmark but its expanding accessories collection is establishing the brand beyond its comfort and sports shoe roots stateside. “Over the past two to three years our expansion from shoe leathers into leather goods has been a huge priority for the organization,” says Lindsay Campbell, head of Ecco’s accessories division. In fact, she notes that much of its leather— nearly half—is sold to external customers beyond shoes. “The thought was that if we can sell these great leathers to great brands around the world then we must be doing something really unique ourselves.” Enter its men’s accessories collection for this fall, which spans messenger bags, laptop cases and iPad holders, while a wine cellar-worthy palette of purples and reds is applied to hobos and shoppers bags for women. With a suggested retail price range of $100 to $400, Campbell believes the accessories collection will not only appeal to Ecco

shoe loyalists but also attract new consumers to the brand. Kathy Cho, Ecco’s U.S. sales representative, concurs: “Because we use our own leathers we’re really able to control the style, the texture and the quality of what we’re using.” She adds that instead of bells and whistles, it’s about showcasing the natural beauty of the materials. “Now more and more, especially with busy working women, it’s this idea of going from day to night and wanting a bag that can house your iPad or small computer but that’s still something you can take out with you after work,” Cho says. “And men are not necessarily always looking for a business bag—they want a great looking messenger bag that can house all their things,” Campbell adds. Where some brands focus on the design first and turn to materials later, Ecco’s approach to leather goods begins with the hide. “With shoes our starting point is the foot and we build the design around that,” Campbell explains. “With bags we really take a look at the core material and leather and apply our Scandinavian aesthetic. The colors, materials and design aesthetic align so that the collections will sit naturally in the stores and complement each other.” Moving into next spring Ecco will introduce its brightest color story yet, with a hint of rose gold hardware featured on bigger bags. “You’ll see a lot of natural bags where the leather speaks loudly—you’ll want to grab them off the shelf,” Campbell predicts. —L.M.

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SWAP IT OUT Simplify everything without sacrificing fashion. WITH INCREASING COSTS for checking bags and overhead bins filled to the brim, learning how to pack efficiently can be easier on both the wallet and the shoulder. And, thanks to the emerging interchangeable footwear category, female travelers no longer have to stress over how many pairs of shoes to take on trips. Faced with exactly this problem every time she flew to Europe to visit her in-laws, Dina Ortner created Mups, a line of ballet flats and sandals with interchangeable accessories. “When I started the company I aimed it more at college girls but I noticed women liking the shoes because of the practical element behind them,” Ortner says, explaining that each pair, which wholesales for $69, comes with two removable accessories that fit to a heart-shaped Velcro built in between the lining and leather. “The attachments fit the shoes in a way that you don’t know they’re removable,” she adds, noting that there are more than 100 to choose from and she’s designing more and more every day. “When you go out during the day you can take an accessory in your bag and just change it later and it’s like a new pair of shoes.” But

how can retailers get this day-to-night aspect of the shoes across to consumers? “The best way to present the shoes is as a pair with one ornament on each shoe,” Ortner says, adding, “It shows our concept without needing much explanation.” Lisa LeCroy, another frequent transatlantic flyer, agrees that sometimes the simplest ideas are the best ones. While cleaning out her closet one October day she had an epiphany: a boot collection with interchangeable shafts. “I realized there needed to be a company that offers people the freedom to choose and design their own look,” says LeCroy, who debuted her eponymous label at FN Platform in February. For someone who admits she used to check a suitcase full of shoes every time she went overseas, her line now enables her to pack 22 boots in a small rolling carry-on. “When we started out I wanted style and quality first and concept third. It’s convertible, but I worked very hard to make sure it looks like a single unit.” Harry’s Shoes in New York, Barbara Jean in Little Rock, AR, and Rib & Rhein in Newport, RI, are among the high-end boutiques that have picked up LeCroy. “Each season we will produce


a fun stop-motion video showcasing the concept. It’s amazing how instant everyone gets it as soon as they see the video,” LeCroy says. “We also have custom displays [retailers] use, which makes merchandising the line so easy.” The fall collection, made with buttery soft leathers, canvas and calf hair, features 16 booties ($116 to $129) and 36 shafts ($64 to $295), and Spring ’14 will see the offering expand to include convertible sandals and wedges. “I would say 99 percent of our line will always have an interchangeable aspect or have multiple ways to wear the shoe,” she says. “My desire is to give more to my customer so I am working hard at coming up with innovative ways to do just that.” •










June 5-7 NY,Booth

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Jun 5-9 Atlanta, GA

Jun 9-12 Marlboro, MA

Jun 12-14 Atlanta, GA

5/21/13 4:37 PM



Hell on Heels Country star Miranda Lambert strikes a chord with Rich Footwear.

Opening Act Three highlights from the country singerturned-designer’s debut collection.

WHEN COUNTRY SINGER Miranda Lambert invited Gary Rich, co-founder of Rich Footwear Group, to one of her shows last year to hang backstage, he knew the decision to launch two labels, inspired and designed by Lambert, had the making of being chart toppers. “When I saw her for the first time [in concert], I was quite impressed with her fan base and the age range,” he says. “The audience dressed for the show like a ladies’ night out.” Rich and Lambert are channeling these fashionable fans as well as the “Hell on Heels” singer’s own sense of country rock style to bring two unique lines of footwear to the marketplace for Spring ’14. In collaboration with license Duffy and Duffy, Rich and Lambert will debut Miranda by Miranda Lambert (suggested retail $69 to $249) and Kerosene by Miranda Lambert ($36 to $129) at the FFANY show this month. Rich says the lines encompass Lambert’s ability to go from on-stage star to laying low at her Oklahoma home with her many dogs and her country crooner hubby, Blake Shelton. According to Rich, both lines include looks to take wearers from the red carpet to a Saturday night out on the town to kicking back with friends on a Sunday afternoon. Look for a signature pump for both brands, plenty of heels, flats, sandals and, of course, Western boots. “I’m always looking for a great boot that’s stylish and tall with a higher sturdy heel—it’s something that I would wear while performing,” Lambert notes. Lambert, winner of several Academy of Country Music and Country Music Association awards including female vocalist of the year as well as a Grammy Award for her hit song, “The House That Built Me,” is a force onstage as well as off, and her rocker edge mixed with country glam style translates to women of all ages. “Just like most women, I love shoes and can never have enough of them,” she says. “On my website we get a lot of inquires about what I wear and how my fans can be part of that style. So the Miranda footwear line[s] just made sense as a natural evolution of my brand.” Both lines feature artisan touches of weaving, hand-burnished leathers, ornamentation displaying iconic rock ’n’ roll and country music images, and linings with highlights of vivid pinks and soft blues. “I want the lines to reflect who I am as a person and as an artist. The lines are bold, sassy, confident and accessible,” Lambert says. To that end, the singer is hands-on throughout the design process. “Nothing goes out until Miranda approves it,” Rich confirms, adding that Lambert aimed to please her tastes as well as those of her fans. “We want a great-looking product for women of all ages in all economic positions,” he notes. Adds Lambert, “My fans are women who are best friends, sisters and rebels. But they all connect. That’s what I’m expressing in Miranda—a love of fashion that’s real with just the right amount of sparkle.” —Maria Bouselli

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