3 Questions for Melissa Coker

Women’s label Wren is dabbling in footwear.

The Los Angeles-based brand is gearing up to launch a collaboration with Minnetonka Moccasin Co. this summer. The Minnetonka by Wren Moc is a revamped version of the shoe brand’s Thunderbird style and hits retailers such as Nordstrom and DNA Footwear, in Brooklyn, N.Y., in July. It will retail for $65.

To complete the looks, Wren founder and designer Melissa Coker worked with Minnetonka’s team in Minnesota.

“I met the family and I was very impressed by what a tight-knit team they are. I related to how the company is run and how closely they work together,” said Coker. “And I love the [finished] styles.”

In turn, Minnetonka is confident that Coker and Wren were the right fit for the brand.

“We do very few collaborations, so it’s special when we decide to do one. Wren has a whimsical and fun spirit to it. It fits our brand well,” said Kalyn Waters, marketing manager at Minnetonka. “This is a new avenue and opportunity for us to reach really fashionable [consumers].”

Here, Coker chats about the design process and her summers spent wearing Minnetonka.

1. Why did you want to team up with Minnetonka for a collaboration?
I’m basically a lifelong fan of the brand. Minnetonka was a big part of my childhood. Every summer, we would go on this trip to Wisconsin and one of the highlights was I would get a new pair of Minnetonka moccasins. I have a real connection to the brand.

2. How did you merge your design style with Minnetonka’s?
We took the most classic silhouette and updated it in a natural way. Because they are so classic, they can be styled with my entire collection. The cornerstone and the key was really operating within the brand’s DNA, not doing something totally unfamiliar and [out of] left field.

3. What’s on deck next for Wren?
We’re launching swimwear, and we have all sorts of fun projects coming up. Personally, I’m most excited about this [shoe] launch. Minnetonka is such an all-American heritage brand. Any association with them is amazing.

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