Steven by Steve Madden has a new project. Freebird, a collection of eight styles, celebrates culture with its rugged look. Featuring distressed leathers, hand-woven blankets and metal hardware, the line was inspired by a variety of locations, including the deserts of Mexico. Freebird first launched exclusively at Free People for fall ’11, but in November will expand to several independents including LF, American Rag, The Tannery and Kitson. The boot styles retail for $295 to $495, and the brand plans to add sandals and moccasins for spring ’12.
Red Wing is digging deeper into the workboot market with the expansion of its Irish Setter brand. The line, which originally targeted the outdoor consumer, is being retooled to also meet the needs of today’s blue-collar guys. Maurice McClurg, global work marketing manager, said Red Wing decided to add core work looks to make up for lost business due to the recent termination of a licensing agreement with Carhartt. (Carhartt is now produced by Black Diamond Group; Red Wing’s last Carhartt deliveries are this fall.) The Irish Setter work product will retail from $125 to $200 and be targeted to self-service and big-box stores. Included in the mix are soft- and safety-toe laceups, loggers, Western looks and hiking styles. Features include slip-resistant outsoles, Thinsulate linings and waterproofing. Delivery is slated for March.
Women’s fashion-comfort collection You by Crocs will relaunch at wholesale for spring ’12 after a two-year hiatus. Founder Samantha Bryan said the brand now features an improved comfort system built around an anatomical leather-wrapped footbed that uses the proprietary lightweight Croslite cushioning material. For enhanced comfort, flexible outsoles have been added. Included for spring are casual sandals, flats and tailored pumps, retailing for $90 to $140. Delivery is slated for February.
Harrys of London is branching out. After testing the brand’s signature Jet Moc and Penney Moc styles in women’s sizes at its own stores, the ladies’ moccasins are both now launching at wholesale for spring ’12. The looks are made of Italian silk satin with a French calf trim and come in a variety of colors, including pink, loden, gold, aubergine and navy. Retailing for $443, the shoes will be exclusive to Louis Boston starting out.
When it comes to design, Ariat believes in teamwork. The footwear brand has inked a licensing deal with Western-inspired apparel and accessories brand Gypsy Soule for a series of boots and shoes designed by founders Lorinda Van Newkirk and Amy Moorhouse. Known for their rock ’n’ roll cowgirl style, the designers created a co-branded collection of boots and boat shoes that will feature novelty embroidery, screen prints and some rhinestones and studs. Set to hit shelves in April, the $180-to-$500 range is targeted to Western retailers, better boutiques, department stores and catalogs.
Women’s fashion brand A. Marinelli is putting mother nature in the spotlight for spring with the debut of Au Natural. The series of comfort-based sandals, moccasins and wedges incorporate earthy elements such as bamboo ornaments, raffia-wrapped wedges and crystal beads. For comfort, the shoes feature cushioned insoles and flexible outsoles. Set to deliver in February, the line retails for less than $100 and is being targeted at better independents.
Madeline Shoes is getting a younger look. The brand, owned by Consolidated Shoe Co., will launch a juniors’ line called Madeline Girl for spring ’12. With such inspiration as the London music scene and Spanish Samba dancing, the line of about 25 styles features colorful patterns and a variety of polka-dot and floral prints on sandals, flats and wedges. The collection will retail for $29 to $69 at a variety of independent stores, including Shoe La La in Lafayette, La., and online at Sophieshoes.com.
Lacoste is taking its footwear in two new directions for spring ’12 with the launch of sub-brands Live and Essential Design, both set to hit stores in January. Designed to coordinate with Live apparel, which targets a younger consumer, the Live footwear collection (below) for men and women retails from $90 to $130. Built around an athletic base, the series includes updates of the signature Réne Lacoste CVO and sneaker-based boat shoes. For the higher-end male consumer, the Lacoste Essential Design collection of luxe athletic-inspired looks retails from $120 to $180. Aimed at a more sophisticated customer, the line was created by Pierre Garnier, global creative VP at Lacoste Chaussures and product director for LED Mark Godwin. The series includes high-tops, boat shoes with kiltie trims and classic vulcanized sneakers. “When we design,” said Garnier, “we think about what Réne Lacoste would wear, want and demand, as he was a man of distinction.”
Redondo Beach, Calif.-based Kuhlman Agency is now the exclusive sales agent for the Plomo Shoes brand. Launched in January 2010 by friends and designers Galia Katz and Keltse Bilbao in Mexico City, Plomo has 33 styles in the upcoming spring collection that retail for $265 to $365. The line will show at D&A in the Chelsea Art Museum in New York, Sept. 16-18; and at Sole Commerce at New York’s Javits Center, Sept. 18-20.
New men’s line Ourchive debuts for spring ’12 with seven styles. The brand, which showed at Project in Las Vegas in August, was inspired by architecture and vintage racing, with colorways influenced by cars and each style named for famous architects. The 100 percent leather looks include hikers, sneakers, ankle boots and woven laceups. Retail prices range from $88 to $180. The brand is targeting department stores for the launch, with delivery dates starting in February.
Sock It to Me
Health and wellness firm Star Nutrition’s Incrediwear line of apparel has expanded with cycling, snowboarding and skiing socks. The Chico, Calif.-based brand aims to offer therapeutic benefits. It said the socks release negatively charged ions when warmed by the body to increase circulation. They also are made to wick away moisture and prevent odor. The socks, which range from $14 for the biking sock (at right) to $24 for the skiing sock, will be available on Nov. 1 at retail outlets and on Incrediwear.com.