Ross & Snow is not your typical mountain gear.
The luxury shearling brand — founded last year by former Zappos execs Fred Mossler, Meghan Mossler and Steve Hill — has brought a fresh approach to winterwear, one that blends a fashion aesthetic with performance technology and fine craftsmanship.
“It sounds cliché, but we’re doing this because we’re shoe people and we wanted to make shoes the way we thought they should be made,” Fred Mossler told FN. “We think [the premium shearling] space in the market is a really big opportunity.”
Retailers seem to agree. In addition to selling on Zappos and Nordstrom.com, the brand this year secured spots in more than a dozen independent boutiques in mountain resort towns such as Vail and Aspen in Colorado and Park City, Utah. To generate consumer attention, it has been partnering with the stores on trunk show activations that it dubs “Bourbon & Boots.”
“With our product, it’s such a touch-and-feel experience, and trying to convey that online is a challenge,” said Mossler. “It’s really about getting this product in people’s hands.”
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After initially crowdsourcing designs for their first boot samples, Mossler and Hill have since handed over much of the line-building responsibilities to two Ugg veterans: creative director Leah Larson and Peter Young, who oversees men’s.
“We’re getting away from fast fashion and building product that is built to last,” said Larson. “The silhouettes are timeless but updated in these unique materials.”
Some of the most popular women’s styles in the collection include the Elena over-the-knee boot and the Stefana studded biker boot; while for men, the Stefano hiker has been a top seller. The collection is handmade in Italy, with leathers sourced from local tanneries, and retails for $195 to $595.
Larson noted that performance is an essential element for the brand.
The fall ’18 boots are treated with SuPreen waterproofing technology, and the label is rolling out Vibram’s Artic Grip nonslip outsole to the line. “We’ve been working with Vibram to get their products into a fashion-type shoe to offer women something that she can wear all day and all night,” she said. “So she can wear a heel but still have that stable footing.”
For holiday ’18, Ross & Snow also introduced luxe shearling slippers, and Larson said more new styles will be added for spring. But she emphasized that their focus will continue to be the winter après ski category. “Up to now, we’ve been doing the groundwork and building the basics, but now fall ’19 will be about elevating those basics even more,” she said.
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