Buzz: Brett Johnson, Bearpaw & More

United Front
Footwear company Vasyli LLC has merged its brands Vionic, Orthaheel and Dr. Andrew Weil Integrative Footwear. They will now be known as Vionic with Orthaheel Technology. In a statement, the company said the strategy should enable the firm to focus its energy in one direction, and that Vionic is expected to see 65 percent growth in 2013. Podiatrist-designed Vionic will launch in spring ’14, priced from $60 to $140, at Dillard’s, Belk, Footsmart, Zappos.com and other select retailers across North America.

Comfort Factor

Insole maker OrthoLite has partnered with occupational footwear brand Arbesko for five new shoe styles to be introduced in August. The X40 OrthoLite foam insert will be incorporated into the looks to increase breathability and reduce impact. The X40 is also moisture-wicking and anti-microbial. To celebrate the relationship, Arbesko will offer customers a free extra pair of X40 inserts with the purchase of the brands’ current shoe collaboration, the Arbesko 382 (above). The Arbesko line is available for $225 a pair in European stores, and the OrthoLite X40 inserts will be sold as after-market accessories starting in August.

Sneaker Fever

Brett Johnson will unveil his eponymous fashion label with T-shirts, outerwear and three footwear styles for holiday ’13. Johnson, the son of Black Entertainment Television founder Robert L. Johnson, has been a sneaker collector for years and decided to launch what he calls crossover styles for dressing up or down. “This is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time,” he said. “[I want this to be a line] of contemporary, sophisticated designs.” The high-, mid- and low-tops are made in China of mostly nubuck leather and suede. They range in price from $225 to $295 and will be available at the outset on Brettjohnson.co starting on Aug. 10 (with outerwear added in October). For spring, the brand will introduce new shoe styles, denim, knitwear and belts, and will target department stores for wholesale.

Artistic License

Bearpaw has signed its first licensing deal, with Sock & Accessory Brands Global Inc., to develop a line of socks, hosiery and accessories. The holiday ’13 launch includes lightweight, ankle and knee-high socks, as well as headbands and scarves for women and juniors. “We knew the time was right to expand our brand offering, and socks and accessories were the obvious place to start,” said Rich Marten, VP of international business development at Bearpaw. “I’ve had a long-standing relationship with Jeff Arnold, owner and CEO of SABG, and [the firm’s] skills and expertise in the industry are unparalleled.” The collection, which will retail for $15 to $25 per pack, debuts at the Outdoor Retailer trade show this week.

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