Schwartz & Benjamin Teams with Matiko, Parts Ways with Juicy Couture

Schwartz & Benjamin is bringing a different dimension to its portfolio with the addition of contemporary label Matiko.

The New York-based firm, whose stable of footwear brands includes Diane Von Furstenberg, Kate Spade New York, Derek Lam (and Derek Lam diffusion line 10 Crosby), Rebecca Minkoff and Seven for All Mankind, unveiled a joint venture with the family-owned, 10-year-old Los Angeles-based brand during FFANY this week.

“We are excited to partner with [Matiko founders] Jesse Howard and Cindy Pellechio and to have the opportunity to work together with them to realize the full potential of the Matiko brand,” said CEO Danny Schwartz. “We are particularly thrilled to add this new brand to our portfolio, as it targets a different market segment and does not compete with our existing brands.”

Matiko’s offerings include youthful looks in fashion-forward silhouettes with a variety of materials and prints. The footwear retails in the $100-to-$200 price range, lower than the bulk of Schwartz & Benjamin’s other brands. Matiko, which has its largest presence in boutiques, increased its department-store footprint for spring ’13, expanding from eight Nordstrom doors to 15. The retailer also added Matiko to its e-commerce site.

Under the new partnership, Howard said he and Pellechio would maintain their creative roles at the company, while Schwartz & Benjamin would take over product development and international distribution.

“It’s a small, family-run business joining a large family-run business, and they took us under their wing,” he noted, adding that the label had future plans to grow into a lifestyle brand, starting with handbags and other accessories. “The partnership will give us an outlet to show the brand to more people, and [Matiko will provide Schwartz & Benjamin with] new, fresh styles.”

In another big change, Schwartz & Benjamin President Steve Shapiro also told Footwear News that his company had recently parted ways with licensor Juicy Couture. “We’ve enjoyed a successful business relationship with Juicy Couture through the years and we wish them the best for the future,” he said, noting that spring ’13 would be the final season of that partnership.

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