Titan Industries Looks to Men’s

Titan Industries Inc. is dipping a toe into the men’s market after 14 years of partnering exclusively with women’s labels.

The Huntington Beach, Calif.-based footwear company, whose stable of licensors includes Charles Jourdan, Badgley Mischka, Adrienne Maloof and L.A.M.B., has teamed with Prodigy Brands for the spring ’13 launch of shoes from men’s clothing label Bugatchi Uomo.

Prodigy Brands was formed as a joint venture by Titan CEO Joe Ouaknine and his cousin Serge Abecassis, who serves as Prodigy’s CEO, with the goal of entering the men’s category. Abecassis noted that Prodigy holds the Bugatchi license, while Titan will display the shoes in its showroom and handle product development and manufacturing for the brand, which was presented alongside Titan’s other labels at FFANY and FN Platform in August.

“[Joe] and I have always talked about working together,” said Abecassis, who is also the CEO of clothing and accessory brand Silver Dagger. “He always wanted to stay away from men’s because he knows women’s and likes to focus on what he knows, but I said, ‘Let’s start a [men’s] company. You have the infrastructure. I will handle all the men’s.'”

Abecassis added that while the companies currently operate separately, Prodigy is expected to become a division of Titan Industries, though he did not give a timeline.

The spring collection of Bugatchi dress loafers, oxfords and sneakers, primarily made in leather and suede in pop colors, will retail from $125 to $275 and marks the European label’s first foray into shoes. Prodigy and Titan are targeting Bugatchi’s existing wholesale partners, such as Nordstrom and Saks Fifth Avenue, as well as select specialty retailers.

Abecassis said he is banking on athletic fashion trends to bring the footwear to prominence. “The sneaker category will evolve quite rapidly [in the U.S.] over the next couple of seasons,” he said. “When you see what is going on in Europe, you see that sneakers have taken over the market.”

As for what the future holds for Titan in men’s, the company was tight-lipped, only revealing through a spokesperson that Bugatchi is its sole men’s line “for now.”

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