Sole Technology’s éS brand is back.
In 2012, founder Pierre-André Senizergues suspended production and disbanded its team of sponsored athletes.
“[We wanted a space] where we [could] think freely about the brand, design shoes, talk about ideas and look at where the market and where skateboarding was going,” he said.
This week, the first éS collection since spring ’12 will deliver to 100 skate shops around the world. And while it’s not a full relaunch, the capsule collection consists of three styles — the Accelerate, the Accelite and the Accent — in two colorways: black and red. The line launches Feb. 14 at such U.S. retailers as Pharmacy Hollywood in California, KCDC in Brooklyn, N.Y., and Pitcrew in Frederick, Md.
Each store will receive just eight pairs of each shoe. Prices for the line will run from $65 for the vulcanized look to $75 for a foam-outsole style.
Here, Senizergues sounds off on reviving the brand and what comes next.
1. What led you to put the label on hiatus after spring ’12?
PAS: When the Great Recession happened, there were too many brands in the skateboard world. In the 1980s, when Etnies started, and into the 1990s, we started launching a bunch of brands because I felt we needed more brands made by skateboarders to represent the types of consumers there were. But during the recession, it was the opposite. We needed fewer brands in the marketplace.
2. So why bring it back now?
PAS: [After we put éS on hold], one thing happened: People started asking us about product. The Japanese market came to us first and asked, “Can we get some éS shoes?” We were in retreat, but they were begging so much, so we dropped some shoes in November in Japan — just one style, [the Accelerate], in four colors. We said we’d see what happened, and in two months at core accounts, it became the No. 1 shoe. It took us by surprise how much the customer still loved the brand, and we thought maybe we should release some shoes in the U.S. and Europe, too.
3. Is this the first step to relaunching éS?
PAS: For now, we don’t have any plans for the brand to come back [with a full collection], but we can do what we want. We like this idea of being independent, so we’re doing this drop and we’ll see. Being free and independent allows us to bring a sense of surprise and excitement to the market.