Aquatalia has a new creative force at its helm.
Shoe industry veteran Edmundo Castillo — who, over the past 26 years, lent his talents to Donna Karan, Ralph Lauren and Sergio Rossi before launching his eponymous label — joined Aquatalia last month and has been working with the team on the fall ’16 collection.
Since 1994, Aquatalia founder Marvin Krasnow has been the creative juice behind the company, a pioneer in weatherproof and stain-resistant fashion footwear.
“We are very excited to welcome Edmundo to the brand, as he brings a creative vision in both women’s and men’s footwear and accessories that complements our existing expertise,” Krasnow said in a statement.
Jimmy Gabriel, president of footwear for Global Brands Group Holding Ltd., which acquired Aquatalia a year and a half ago, said Castillo and Krasnow will work closely together as the incoming creative director aims to expand the brand into new markets and categories.
One of the biggest changes that will result from Castillo’s hiring, Gabriel said, will be the addition of handbags to the product mix.
“We look forward to expanding our customer base and product offering — launching handbags for fall 2016 — while keeping intact the core product attributes and tenets of the brand that have given us a loyal following,” Gabriel told Footwear News. “The collaborative process for Marvin and Edmundo is key in achieving this. It’s such an asset to the business to have them working side by side.”
Castillo, Gabriel added, will take on an “integral role in developing the DNA of Aquatalia,” while allowing Krasnow and the other executives on the Global Brands footwear team to focus more on other business matters.
With Aquatalia’s growing employee base — Gabriel said it has doubled its headcount over the past 16 months — there will be lots to manage.
“Marvin wore so many hats — he really did it all and is irreplaceable in terms of his impact on the business …” Gabriel said. “If anything, [Castillo’s new role] gives Marvin and me the opportunity to spend more time contemplating next steps — how do we take this incredible brand he has created to the next level. The entire team is growing.”
Castillo and Krasnow are currently in Italy working on the brand’s product offerings.
“I have long respected Aquatalia for its quality and craftsmanship,” said Castillo. “I am very excited to join Global Brands and build on the strong loyalty that Marvin has established.”
A preview, Gabriel said, is expected in the coming weeks.