First Look at Tommy Hilfiger Kids’ Line

Tommy Hilfiger is stepping back into kids’ shoes.

After a brief absence, the brand is reintroducing its children’s footwear line this fall under new licensee Synclaire Brands. The Stride Rite Children’s Group previously held the license.

“We are excited to partner with Synclaire to build our kids’ footwear business with both a greater style range and broader distribution,” said Anne Marino, Tommy Hilfiger’s president of licensing.

Evan Cagner, president of Synclaire, which also produces kids’ shoes under the Stuart Weitzman, Cole Haan and Kors Michael Kors labels, said he sees significant opportunity to re-establish and grow Tommy Hilfiger within the kids’ footwear space, citing the brand’s strong heritage and broad appeal. “It’s a lifestyle brand that has a very recognizable name and a major global presence and that has really stood the test of time,” he said.

The collection will launch with more than 100 SKUs, in pre-walk to youth sizes, including boots, ballet flats and smoking slippers for girls, and loafers, vulcanized sneakers and hikers for boys.

“Tommy Hilfiger is all about classic Americana, with a strong vintage-modern aesthetic, so we focused on those timeless silhouettes that stay true to the brand’s roots,” said Synclaire’s Kristine Ferrell, who led the design of the line.

Shoes are outfitted with stripes, color-blocking and plaid and houndstooth patterns, using tweed, denim, corduroy and chambray fabrics. Extra attention was paid to detail, from trims to printed linings. “It’s very easy-to-wear, lifestyle product that’s not too over the top, but not too conservative,” Cagner said. “It strikes a good balance.”

Priced from $20 to $50, the line is slated to ship to stores in July. For spring ’13, Ferrell said the offering will expand with flip-flops, sandals, nautical looks and a broader selection of sneakers. “We’ll continue to round out the assortment, putting an emphasis on casuals,” she said.

The Designer
Kristine Ferrell, who studied at Philadelphia’s Temple University, spent 10 years in graphic design and illustration before moving into the footwear industry. She joined Synclaire Brands in 2007 and now serves as senior manager of branded design for the Tommy Hilfiger kids’ line.

The Inspiration
Ferrell looked to the latest footwear trends, interpreting them within the Tommy Hilfiger world. “There is a strong classic, all-American theme that runs through the line,” she said. “We wanted a balance between fresh and rustic and between town and country.”

The Pitch
The line, which was previewed to select retailers at FFANY, is targeted to mid-tier and department stores, as well as to independents.