In the wake of the collapse of Global Brand Marketing Inc. in 2007, and more recently, Global Feet Inc., which imploded after financing from parent company Titan Global Holdings fell through in September, Datta has formed International Brand Partners LLC and is acting as an agent for the Sixty Group-owned Energie and Killah brands.
Sixty Group will continue to design and develop the dress shoes in both collections, while Datta will focus on fashion-athletic shoes. Datta and his team are overseeing distribution for both lines.
“This is a different kind of deal than anything I’ve done before,” Datta said. “It’s more of a strategic alliance [with Sixty Group].”
The Energie brand is targeted to 18- to 30-year-old men and features a range of styles. Sandals in the line retail from $35 to $100, canvas shoes from $50 to $140 and dress shoes at $250.
Killah, aimed at 16- to 25-year-old women, carries a more moderate price, at $55 to $90 for most styles, with boots at $150 to $170.
For his part, Sixty Group director of footwear Enrico Pesallaccia said the company hopes to significantly grow its U.S. business, and he expressed faith in Datta’s ability to build the brands. “We feel very comfortable with the experience of Killick and his team,” he said. “The U.S. market is very important to us, and now we are ready.”
Datta said a number of independent retailers and chains — including Nordstrom, Journey’s and Finish Line — have bought into the brands. “There are no huge orders, but they are testing it,” Datta said.
One retailer said the new venture has potential.
“The Energie brand has some relevance,” said Sportie LA co-owner Isack Fadlon. “The fact that it’s tied to Miss Sixty is great because it’s not some fly-by-night company.”
Datta also is seeking to expand his business with new distribution deals and acquisitions of established footwear brands. “I don’t want to get into a situation where we’re completely reliant on licensing, so we’re also on the lookout to purchase a couple of brands,” he said. “I’m talking to some people to buy a brand with some external financing.”