The Fort Worth, Texas-based company tapped its archives to create a collection of heritage looks under the Original Chippewa label for fall ’13. The series of men’s looks are inspired by patterns dating back to the company’s launch in 1901 as a maker of logging boots.
“We had a historical equity we wanted to share,” said Scott Milden, VP of international for parent company Justin Brands. He noted all product will be made in the company’s U.S. factories.
The Original Chippewa line, retailing from $230 to $300, takes its design cues from period styles. A more exclusive capsule collection under the Reserve label, selling for $300 to $600, will feature exact replicas of vintage designs. All Reserve styles will be made of Horween leathers, with exclusive period bottoms produced by Vibram (both companies are original suppliers to Chippewa).
Chippewa brand manager Clark Perkins said the two collections also target different retail tiers. The main Original series, composed of 15 styles including engineer styles and 6-inch utility boots, will have broader distribution in department and specialty stores, outdoor retailers and e-tailers. Reserve, with just eight patterns, such as the Original Mountaineer style from 1957, is aimed at upscale department stores and footwear and apparel boutiques in the U.S. and internationally.
“The price point defines the customer,” said Perkins. “The same ethics and ideals are there. When consumers get a pair and open the box, the boots are not distressed or made to look old, they’re just as they would have looked [when they were new] 50 years ago.” Even the boxes, he noted, are replicas of the original packaging.
Both collections will be a permanent part of the brand’s offering. “It’s more than a trend,” said Perkins. “Consumers want a great utility boot that addresses their lifestyle. It’s a luxury [item] for the rugged outdoors.”