NEW YORK — Jimmy Choo and Ugg Australia might come from opposite ends of the footwear spectrum, but some industry players believe they could be the perfect match.
After the pair announced plans last week to bow a co-branded, limited-edition collection in October, retailers cheered the partnership.
“Jimmy Choo and Ugg were the Nordstrom Partners in Excellence recipients last year, our most cherished supplier award, so we are thrilled to have two of our best partners join forces for one of the most innovative design collaborations in the fashion industry,” said Jack Minuk, GMM of shoes at Nordstrom.
“The excitement after [the] announcement confirms the business potential that exists when creative forces unite. We are excited to be able to offer our customers another reason to be devoted fans of Jimmy Choo and Ugg.”
Nordstrom, in fact, played an instrumental role in the creation of the partnership. Jimmy Choo CEO Josh Schulman met Ugg President Connie Rishwain and her team at the Nordstrom awards ceremony in Seattle last May, and the idea was born soon after.
“We realized we were both huge fans of each other’s brands and started to explore the potential of a collaboration,” Schulman told Footwear News last week.
Rishwain said she has had a personal affinity for Jimmy Choo for some time, while Jimmy Choo founder and President Tamara Mellon said that Ugg is the only footwear brand she wears outside of Jimmy Choo.
“For comfort and chic traveling, my Ugg boots are the perfect sole companion. They really help me relax and feel at ease on planes and weekends,” Mellon said.
The five-style Ugg & Jimmy Choo collection, in multiple color variations, will be available in both brands’ stores and on their Websites, as well as in select retailers globally. While the brands were mum on design specifics, they said the styles will incorporate the construction of Ugg’s sheepskin boots with design details that embody the spirit of Jimmy Choo. The line will retail from $595 to $795.
“We’re about luxury comfort and they’re about luxury fashion, so we’ve married the two,” Rishwain said. “It’s really about the appreciation of each other’s brands. I think it will create a lot of excitement when it arrives.”
Luxury analysts also applauded the union last week.
“It’s a highly inventive combination and illustrates both brands’ hunger to innovate,” said George Wallace, CEO of U.K.-based retail analyst MHE Retail. “Jimmy Choo is brave to move away from its heartland of catwalk and red-carpet shoes and show a different face of the brand. I was more uncertain about Jimmy Choo’s H&M collaboration … but this deal with more of a premium brand makes much more sense strategically.”
Jimmy Choo’s first stab at co-branding with another footwear label came last year, when it joined forces with Hunter to develop a $395 luxury rainboot — and the partnership was a big success for both companies.
“Both Hunter and Ugg are iconic, authentic, best-in-class brands, and we are thrilled to be associated with these leaders in their respective fields,” Schulman said.