3 Questions for Michelle Kidwell

Vogue Footwear has a solid grasp of the juniors’ market.
The brand, which launched for spring ’11 and is owned by St. Louis-based Elan Polo International, is using its parent company connections to build buzz, said Michelle Kidwell, assistant line builder for Vogue.

“Vogue benefits from the international resources and information that Elan Polo has assembled during its more than 30 years in the industry,” said Kidwell, who started at Elan Polo in 2006, before transitioning to Vogue last year. “We have access to up-to-the-minute trend information from our U.K. and Paris offices, and we are able to use materials and technology from our men’s, kids’, cleated and slipper divisions.”

Vogue retails for $99 to $249 at such retailers as Amazon.com, Modcloth.com and Von Maur. Fall product will be offered on the renovated shoe floor of Macy’s New York flagship.

Here, Kidwell sounds off on the brand’s competition and the concept behind the name. 

1. Where does the brand’s name come from?
We have no connection to “Vogue” magazine, but in the public’s eyes it helps that the word is synonymous with always changing and evolving to define the current fashion. That concept has helped us build our brand philosophy.

2. How do you plan to develop Vogue in the future to compete in a crowded marketplace?
We will continue to push the envelope with fresh designs and to provide quality product that exceeds our customers’ expectations. The competition at our price point does a good job of covering every trend each season, but we would love to see other brands develop a more defined identity.

3. As a young brand, what have been some of the challenges along the way?
Our biggest challenge is launching a new brand in a soft market. Retail in general has been soft, [so] getting consumers to spend on items like fashion footwear versus work or necessary footwear has been an industry challenge. When you have retailers with old product in their stores that is not selling, it is hard to get them to open their doors to a new brand. We have worked toward overcoming this challenge with a grassroots strategy for exposure. We started small with select retailers that fit our target market and plan to build a solid consumer base with fun, confident styles and quality product.

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