Ready-to-wear label William Rast will enter the women’s footwear market for fall ’15, unveiling an Americana-inspired line that plays with stage presence.
“The collection is a mix between biker culture and the Rat Pack, with an elegant tailored look. It’s very focused on street style and the way girls dress today,” said Marcella Lindeberg, design director at the brand, which was co-founded by Justin Timberlake and longtime friend and business partner Trace Ayala in 2005. “We are influenced by Justin’s showmanship, and there is a coolness and rock attitude [to the line].”
Madison Fashion Group is the licensing partner for the footwear collection, which also includes a selection of men’s styles. (Separately, Cobbler’s Kitchen will produce athletic shoes for the label.)
For women, there is a large focus on boots, sneakers and fun flats, with buckles, fringe and zipper details, plus earthy hues like green, burgundy and dark gray.
With an “everyday” design aesthetic, the brand is targeting a wide age range. “[The shoes] are for any girl who wears skinny jeans,” Lindeberg joked. “You can wear biker jackets at any age — it’s about a sense of style.”
For wholesale distribution, the contemporary-priced brand is aimed at major retailers such as Lord & Taylor, Nordstrom and Bloomingdale’s. William Rast, which started as a denim brand, already sells in the department store channel.
The team also is eyeing opportunities in Canada, the U.K. and European markets. Lindeberg noted that label is working off a strong base. “William Rast has a loyal following among consumers. And of course, having one of today’s most iconic artists behind the brand helps,” she said. “[Justin and Trace] are very involved from a creative level and ensure that the brand’s DNA remains part of everything we do.”
But the design director isn’t relying just on the label’s celebrity buzz. “We are focused on having the brand stand on its own,” said Lindeberg. “With this collection, we can achieve that.”