Via Spiga is having a busy year — and well it should, as the women’s footwear label marks its 30th anniversary this holiday season.
Changes have happened on multiple fronts. As part of its heightened brand strategy, Via Spiga is promoting a wider product assortment to serve more customers in more places. The brand is also introducing a new look for its digital properties and e-commerce site. Plus, its latest ad campaign is going bigger than ever, with an anniversary capsule collection in partnership with model Hilary Rhoda.
“The brand is 30 years old, so it was time to take a fresh, modern approach to what we think are great styles and shoes,” said Jay Schmidt, division president of contemporary fashion at Via Spiga’s parent company, Caleres. “We have a consistent strategy that is going to help us connect with the consumer.”
That strategy started with a stronger product assortment. Last spring, Via Spiga split its collection into four categories, or “moods.” “Big Meetings” are for the workplace, “Get It Done” shoes tackle work-to-weekend, “Weekend Off” covers casual looks and “Big Night Out” offers evening styles.
“Prior to that, we may have lost some customers because we didn’t give her enough options,” said Schmidt. “The takeaway [from consumer focus groups we conducted] was that she wanted weekend items and, for lack of a better word, a little more fun.”
Via Spiga also aims to create a larger lifestyle presence with additional categories — the brand will launch handbags this fall.
“We have an outerwear business, and handbags are next. We are going to continue to license other accessories and develop greater depth and strength in our existing lines,” said Schmidt.
The new product direction is now reflected across Via Spiga’s digital properties, including social media, and on a rebranded e-commerce site that allows consumers to shop the “mood” categories.
“We wanted to illustrate the excitement we’re feeling on our website,” said Schmidt. “We have a great ability to take a look at product in a slightly different way. Traffic is up, and we are very excited about that.”
Retailers are taking notice, too. “With the casual and athletic trend being so big right now, it’s great that [Via Spiga] has included more of those looks,” said Devin Altschul, a buyer at Zappos.com. “The wide variety of product helps generate interest from a younger consumer.”
To generate buzz during its anniversary year, Via Spiga has expanded its relationship with Rhoda, who starred in the brand’s spring ’15 campaign. For the fall, she’ll serve as an ambassador,
appearing in Via Spiga’s latest ads and curating a special “Hilary’s Faves” section on the website. On social media, the #HilaryViaSpiga hashtag will offer a behind-the-scenes look at the campaign.
Schmidt said Rhoda is a natural partner for the label. “When she walked into the room, she just had this glow about her. She’s fashionable and on trend, but not trendy. She has a great sense of understated style,” he added.
Rhoda, whose capsule collection launches at FFANY this week, said she’s a fan of Via Spiga’s timeless look.
“I love how enthusiastic everyone [at the company] is about each new collection. Everyone on set was wearing Via Spiga shoes, and it’s inspiring to see how each person styles them and makes them their own,” Rhoda told Footwear News, adding that her personal shoe style is ever-evolving. “I tend to go through phases where I wear the same one or two pairs of shoes for a few weeks and then I’ll move on to something else. But for everyday, I love a great bootie. Those go with everything from a dress to jeans.”
Also as part of its fall digital outreach, Via Spiga is featuring a new monthly section on its website — The Footprint — where tastemakers, such as bloggers and stylists, share their
favorite looks. Up first was editor and stylist Shiona Turini talking about what attracts her to a pair
Schmidt is confident about the brand’s growth trajectory, thanks to a continued focus on the customer. “We’re not just about being anything to anyone — we’re staying on our own course. We want consistency in our product offering to our consumer,” said Schmidt. “She’s in charge, and the more we meet her needs, the better and more successful we are.”