The couple responsible for initiating the ballet flat trend two decades ago is back, this time designing for women craving day-to-night shoes with flashes of fashion. The duo sold their namesake label 13 years ago, and in 2004 started Sam Edelman, which has become one of the hottest brands in the moderate market. With considerable backing from Brown Shoe Co., Sam Edelman has increased business eight times over and is on track to boost its door count to 1,500 by year-end. Now the husband-and-wife team is taking the brand global and has made their way into more than 150 doors in Europe, Asia and the Middle East, including Harrods, Selfridges, Harvey Nichols, Lane Crawford and the Dubai Mall’s soon-to-open Bloomingdale’s. Back at home, Sam, 57, aims to bow the label’s first branded retail store, while his wife, 56, is growing the Libby Edelman collection, which debuted at Famous Footwear and on HSN for spring ’09. Next up? They plan to expand both lines into handbags, swimwear, jewelry and sunglasses, among other categories.
Power Player: John Dulin, president
CEO; Marc Fisher Footwear
2008 Rank: 84
Rather than breaking big news or brokering major deals in 2009, Fisher focused on quietly expanding his existing brands’ presence in Asia, Europe and Canada, and growing the brands’ categories. Fisher, 51, opened Sigerson Morrison shop-in-shops at Galeries Lafayette and Printemps in Paris, adding to the brand’s four established boutiques. New Guess outlets and shop-in-shops were also added to the mix, bolstering business in 1,154 stores — 22 of which sell footwear exclusively — in more than 60 countries. Fisher’s agreement with Macy’s over his eponymous line, meanwhile, grew to include a presence in 634 doors. While 2009 may have slowed some, Fisher is hoping for a big boost in the coming year with the launch of an undisclosed new line, collaborations and acquisitions.
Power Players: Susan Itzkowitz, president; Terry Solis, president, sales
Founder, Chief Shoe Giver; Toms Shoes
Mycoskie, 33, has been on the go since 2006. Toms is one of the fastest-growing businesses in the industry, and even after a tough financial year, the company is showing no indication of slowing its philanthropic business model — for every pair sold, one is given to someone in desperate need. By year-end, that will amount to 300,000. High-profile exposure from Mycoskie’s appearance in a national AT&T commercial didn’t hurt either. Mycoskie and team spent time running a pop-up store in Montauk, N.Y., over the summer, and last month released the Cordones collection, the first pair of Toms Shoes with laces. An upgraded and exclusive line with special linings and premium fabrics will hit Neiman Marcus across the nation and in Bergdorf Goodman in New York later this month. Next spring, Toms also will release a line for kids at the luxury retailers. The business has grown so quickly, Mycoskie is hunting for a CFO.
CEO; Columbia Sportswear
2008 Rank: 81
Could there be a light at the end of the tunnel for Columbia? Buffeted by falling sales, earnings pain and a sense that the main Columbia label was missing the consumer target, the brand, led by Boyle, 60, saw earnings dip. But third-quarter sales beat analyst expectations, driven by the company’s Sorel line. To help lead it to healthier times in 2010, the company is refocusing its attention on technology and innovation in both footwear and apparel. Stay tuned for a big announcement in that space later this month.
Power Players: Gertrude Boyle, chairman; Mark Nenow, VP, footwear
Founder, Chairman; Donald J Pliner
2008 Rank: 85
Pliner, 65, has lots to celebrate this year. Coinciding with the 20th anniversary of the fashion brand, his wife, Lisa Pliner, launched Lisa Pliner for Donald J Pliner, a line of high-end contemporary looks. On the heels of the collection is Lisa for Donald J Pliner, a companion collection of progressive, contemporary looks for fall ’10 at $150 to $300. While Lisa is eyeing the women’s market, Donald is focused on the men. He’ll introduce DJ Pliner, a young, aggressive collection priced at $125 to $175. Pliner also continues to believe in the power of advertising, promoting the brand in publications such as InStyle and Harper’s Bazaar. And he’s helping to develop new talent, launching Design with Donald, an online contest that will offer cash prizes to winners.
Power Players: Roxanne Ehrenberg, CEO; Lisa Pliner, creative director; Jerry David, COO
Founder, CEO; Diesel
2008 Rank: 87
Rosso, 54, pressed on with the expansion of his 31-year-old denim brand by opening new stores in India, Tokyo and Italy. But he had an equally aggressive retail play stateside, unwrapping the company’s fourth Diesel Planet store, on New York’s Fifth Avenue, and relocating its San Francisco door to the busy Market Street. Diesel also planted its flag in Washington, D.C., and Miami. The U.S. division offered a wider range of footwear, including high-end styles debuting under the Diesel Black Gold label for spring. In addition to Diesel, Rosso’s Staff International now distributes Marc Jacobs menswear, and Diesel Farm took to the Internet to sell limited-edition product. But at Maison Martin Margiela, where Rosso is a majority stockholder, the fashion house was left without its namesake designer.
Power Players: Steve Birkhold, CEO, Diesel USA; Sophia Kokosalaki, creative director, Diesel Black Gold
Chairman, President, CEO; American Sporting Goods Corp.
2008 Rank: 83
It’s tough at the top. American Sporting Goods President and CEO Tom O’Riordan left earlier this year after failing to persuade Turner, 75, to sell the company — a situation Kevin Wulff encountered two years earlier. Now, Turner has stepped back in and is focused on giving the firm — whose brands include And 1, Ryka and Avia — a clearer direction, from product design to manufacturing to sales. But he knows that the rough economy means battening down the hatches and trying to use strong discipline until things get better. Until then, Turner can count on at least one pretty face to put a positive spin on things: Kelly Ripa, the spokeswoman for Ryka, frequently wears the product during fitness segments on “Live with Regis & Kelly.”
CEO; Titan Industries Inc.
2008 Rank: 89
Ouaknine, 56, started off the year with titan strength. The privately held company said sales were solid during the first four months of the year, then dropped off slightly through the second and third quarters due to the economic doldrums. Months nine and 10 were a little flat, but the company remains stable heading into the fourth quarter. This past spring, Titan reintroduced Bebe footwear, after regaining the license. Ouaknine also partnered with BBC International to relaunch the Charles Jourdan brand. Titan is still working with four labels in addition to Bebe: Badgley Mischka, Betsey Johnson, Harajuku Lovers and L.A.M.B., but it doesn’t stop there. The company is reportedly speaking with several denim brands about future projects, so don’t be surprised to see further expansion and added brands in 2010.
Power Player: Brad Bailey, president
2008 Rank: 91
The astounding success of Kilgore’s wellness shoe product, FitFlop, continued to take shape throughout 2009. Since its launch, the London-based company has sold more than 4.8 million pairs, and revenues for 2009 are estimated to total $19.8 million. The product offering has now grown to 15 styles, including the $125 “Snugger” puffa boot, and a $200 shearling-lined suede boot called Inuk. Going forward, Kilgore, 41, is said to be working on a yet-to-be revealed collaboration with a New York-based ready-to-wear designer and a kids’ FitFlop launch for spring ’10.
Chairman, CEO; Gap Inc.
2008 Rank: 92
In its 40th year, Gap Inc. grew its accessories offering outside of Piperlime.com. In May, the company debuted Edition by Banana Republic, an accessories-only store, in the Westfield Mall in San Francisco. Meanwhile, Piperlime ventured beyond shoes and expanded into apparel in September. In addition to its 250-plus shoe brands, the e-commerce site now offers about 65 clothing brands, including Marc by Marc Jacobs, Seven for All Mankind and Juicy Couture. Also online, Athleta, acquired by Gap in 2008, debuted on the company’s multibrand platform, bringing footwear and apparel to the yoga and fitness set. Murphy, 46, and his team also signed agreements that will introduce stores to Thailand and Israel in 2010.
Power Players: Toby Lenk, president, Gap Inc. Direct; Jack Calhoun, president, Banana Republic
President, CEO; Modern Vintage
After six years of steadily building a footwear business with his fashionable Modern Vintage collection, Cytrynbaum finally came into his own in 2009. His Modern Vintage brand, which brought in about $73 million in sales last year, now sits on the shelves of nearly 320 doors worldwide and is poised for growth as Cytrynbaum targets international markets and adds lines to his portfolio. Over the last year, the Montreal-based company launched two diffusion brands, starting with the spring ’09 release of the fast-fashion MRKT collection and then the fall ’09 debut of the moderately priced Rose Gold line. As the company’s head, Cytrynbaum also spent much of 2009 brokering celebrity deals with supermodel and TV personality Heidi Klum and socialite and tabloid favorite Nicole Richie — collaborations he hopes will boost sales an additional $16 million in 2010. Klum’s yet-to-be named line is launching for fall ’10 with a collection of footwear and apparel, while Richie’s House of Harlow 1960 line hits stores this spring.
Power Player: Brian Cytrynbaum, co-founder
Kevin Burke, Matt Priest
President, CEO; American Apparel & Footwear Association; President; Footwear Distributors & Retailers of America
2008 Rank: 93
While the economy pushed many issues regarding Chinese manufacturing and currency fluctuations to the back burner, both industry lobby groups pushed ahead for passage of the Affordable Footwear Act, which could go to a congressional floor vote by the end of the year. Burke, 52, and Priest, 32, are also pressuring lawmakers to advance trade agreements with Colombia, among other locations. And both are busily working to protect the interests of footwear manufacturers when the Consumer Product & Safety Commission establishes new rules and regulations, of particular concern to makers of children’s products.
Chairman, CEO; Donna Karan International
Two years after taking its footwear in-house, DKNY is getting even stronger in the category. With last year’s launch of the diffusion line DKNYc, footwear is poised to make up a bigger part of the already $2.5 billion business. This year, for the company’s 20th anniversary, global expansion has been top of mind. And a new retail license deal will speed the opening of Donna Karan and DKNY stores in India. (Donna Karan International also has license agreements for stores in South Korea, China, Turkey and Australia, and there are more than 100 Donna Karan stores, including DKNY, globally.) Weber, 59, works closely with Karan, who remains chief designer at the LVMH-owned company.
Power Players: Sal Agati, EVP, DKNY Shoes; David Stamberg, SVP, sales, merchandising, DKNY Shoes
Founder, Chairwoman; Net-a-porter.com
2008 Rank: 96
Massenet has become the poster girl for computer chic, thanks to the U.K.-based luxury e-commerce business she founded in 2000. The 44-year-old has long been sitting front and center at runway shows, first as a Tatler fashion editor and now as the founder of Net-a-porter.com, which last year tallied sales of $134.5 million. And even though this year she launched Theoutnet.com, an off-price retailer, the move into upscale discounting hasn’t resulted in any negative changes to her fashion week seating assignments. After all, it was with the full support and cooperation of designers that she created this new channel of distribution. With its worldwide reach, Net-a-porter.com has become the place to take the pulse of luxury footwear fashion and to find out what’s going to be the next big thing.
Pierre André Senizergues
President, CEO; Sole Technology
2008 Rank: 95
Senizergues, 46, is staying true to the indie nature of skateboarding, remaining one of the few leading independent businesses in the skate market. Luckily, his brand has partnered with some of the hottest riders in the sport, including teen phenom Ryan Sheckler. It also pushed forward in the green space: An eco-sensitive version of its popular Jameson shoe by surf legends the Molloy brothers launched this summer, and Senizergues’ high-end C Pas collection of eco apparel launched this fall. And for 2010, the executive is moving ahead with several big initiatives. The company’s focus on technology will be celebrated next spring, when techy skate line éS marks its 15th anniversary. Meanwhile, “Project Runway” alum Kit Scarbo will debut a collection with Sole Tech (this one for the ladies), and Etnies will unveil a new pro model for skater Sean Malto. And today, the company will announce its first foray into the hotel world, with an Etnies-designed room at La Casa del Camino in Laguna Beach, Calif.
Owner; David Z
2008 Rank: 97
After moving his New York office last year from Broadway and Prince Street — the headquarters for 16 years — farther south to Broadway and White Street, Zaken, 55, is enjoying the seclusion of Lower Manhattan. But his old Soho neighborhood is still largely responsible for keeping the David Z stores packed with crowds of tourists and trend-hungry New York teens. Also driving sales are Zaken’s special makeups with top brands including Red Wing, Polo and Timberland. Then there are the hot partnerships that a retailer dreams of: A 220-pair collaboration with Asics sold out in 22 minutes in October on Davidz.com. And Ugg boots, a Zaken staple, are having a record year at the store.
Power Players: Ronnie Fieg, buyer, designer; Yariv Mizrahi, GM
CEO; Downtown Locker Room
If the traditional locker room is filled with teen angst, Gaynor, 51, knows nothing about it. In fact, the locker room he’s building is one of the hippest spots around. Under Gaynor’s leadership, DTLR is going strong, even posting its best three months ever in the first quarter. Exclusives such as the DL Mid boot done with Creative Recreation and special makeups with New Balance helped the retailer power through back-to-school. No wonder Gaynor is aiming for similar hook-ups in apparel. Fall’s top sellers included Polo Ralph Lauren boots for kids, which registered nearly $1 million in sales across the 68-store chain. Looking to grow the store count, DTLR opened four units this year and is planning to bow two more this month in Chicago. Next year, six to eight additional stores are expected. Be on the watch in Memphis and Houston.
Power Player: Todd Kirssin, DMM, footwear
President, CEO; Brooks Sports Inc.
2008 Rank: 99
It’s a good time to be Brooks. Under Weber, 49, the running brand, owned by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, keeps gaining ground — in both the running independent and mass-athletic channels. A major reason: innovation. This year, Weber previewed the Green Silence, the brand’s pinnacle racing shoe that combined a flashy upper with leading-edge green technology, and next spring will debut a new cushioning innovation called DNA. Brooks also made waves on the marketing side, a change for the largely quiet brand. In April, the company launched a splashy campaign called “Running’s No. 1 Superfans,” and in September announced its sponsorship of the Rock ’n’ Roll Marathon series.
Richard Cofinco, Robert Nand
Co-founders; Creative Recreation
2008 Rank: 100
After making their debut on this ranking last year, Cofinco, 41, and Nand, 35, had another big year, laying the groundwork for future growth. In January, the duo opened a New York showroom to build relationships with clients and editors on the East Coast and launched a high-end Italian collection. For fall, Creative Rec took all the company’s U.S. distribution in-house and opened a new Los Angeles showroom this summer. But the often-imitated, high-style brand isn’t resting on its laurels. To grow business within its 250 accounts (which include A-list department stores, as well as sneaker boutiques and independents), it’s broadening the line. For spring ’10, Creative Recreation is launching Select, with brown-shoe inspired men’s styles, and Essentials, a line of vulcanized canvas looks for men and women.
2008 Rank: 98
Riding the pop-culture wave has been a lucrative proposition for Ross, 46. So much so that Kitson continues to be a major destination for tourists. Hoping to take the Kitson name to other towns, Ross bowed more U.S. locations this year, in Malibu, Calif.; on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles; on Main Street in Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif.; and in the Americana at Brand Mall in Glendale, Calif. Ross introduced his stores to the Asian market as well, debuting two stores in Tokyo with retail giant Itochu Corp. And over the next four years, at least 25 Kitson stores are planned to open in Japan, with ambitious projections of $250 million in sales. China and Korea are also on his wish list.
Power Players: Jay Andrews, men’s buyer; Mimi Kang, women’s buyer