Customization has been popular service in the sneaker market for years, and recently more and more luxury designers are getting in on the trend, such as Nicholas Kirkwood with his Beya loafer.
But these three direct-to-consumer brands have made custom fashion shoes a priority. Their businesses combine cutting-edge digital platforms with high-quality design.
Read on to find out more about their plans for 2018.
As one of the forerunners of the customization movement, the 9-year-old Shoes of Prey brand has learned to weather market ups and downs. After dabbling in brick-and-mortar locations inside select Nordstrom stores, the firm has since wound down that business and has instead focused on improving operations and expanding its product selection. In 2017, for instance, it shortened production time to one to two weeks worldwide for made-to-order shoes and introduced a collection of athleisure sneaker styles. For this year, the global company, which has offices in Sydney and Los Angeles, is working to fine-tune its digital shopping experience with dynamic photorealistic renderings of designs, as well as improved search and functionality. And it will leverage its technology and processes to produce private-label for other fashion brands.
The direct-to-consumer Margaux brand was co-founded by Alexa Buckley and Sarah Pierson with the idea of creating luxurious made-to-measure flats. Since launching in 2015, the New York-based firm has taken steps offline by opening a showroom in New York and debuting roving retail stores that last year popped up in San Francisco, Palm Beach, Fla., and Nantucket in Massachusetts. It also closed its first round of seed funding in 2017, including an investment by strategic partner Assembled Brands. Those funds will help support its 2018 initiatives, such as introducing a mobile digital imaging tool for foot measurements. Margaux also hopes to expand its third-party alliances with a shop-in-shop opening in Q1 and a distribution partnership launching the following quarter.
Former IBM executive Sandra Gault is utilizing her technical expertise to reimagine the footwear industry. In late 2016, she debuted her True Gault app, a photo-based program that scans feet to create customized luxury heels made in Spain. Since launching, the New York-based brand has gained the attention of new Elle editor-in-chief Nina Garcia, who signed on as an adviser to help consult on the brand’s creative, design and marketing. To fuel its goals, which include creating an Android version of the app and expanding with flats and block-heel styles, the company launched a crowdfunding initiative on Republic.co. As of press time, it had raised more than half of its $1.07 million goal, with a month left in the campaign.