Del Toro’s Comeback Starts Now — Here’s What the Brand’s New Direction Will Look Like

Del Toro CEO Andrew Forbes said the company’s growth was stagnant when a group of investors, led by The Forbes Co., acquired it in April 2017. But the luxury Italian footwear brand is ready for a turnaround.

The label released its debut men’s and women’s apparel collection this week, boasting high-end bomber jackets, joggers, T-shirts and hoodies in addition to new versions of its slippers and sneakers. Retail prices of the line range from $65 to $325.

The introduction of apparel, Forbes said, is just one thing that will drive sales moving forward.

“When we acquired the brand we knew we had a great name, a great hero product in that black velvet slipper, but we wanted to take time and reassess the product, the supply chain, the retail strategy — everything from A to Z,” Forbes said. “We wanted to add more products because having a men’s footwear brand is very difficult and costly to scale. Women make up about 75% of the retail market so we wanted to expand our women’s offering, and we wanted to offer ready-to-wear that would complement our footwear assortment.”

Del Toro Red Bomber Jacket
Del Toro’s red bomber jacket.
CREDIT: Del Toro

Although Forbes said the brand, which was founded by Miami-based designer Matthew Chevallard, hasn’t seen sales growth since acquiring it from the founder, he believes these moves will turn things around. The exec expects to see 10–15% growth this year over 2018.

What will also bolster its sales is a new retail vision. Forbes said while direct-to-consumer is a big push, the brand is also targeting wholesale with top-tier accounts such as Saks Fifth Avenue and Nordstrom. Also, Forbes is focused on releasing exclusive capsule collections with marquee boutiques and opening seasonal pop-ups throughout the year.

And while Del Toro isn’t a stranger to collaborations, delivering a notable one with Superga in 2016, Forbes said the brand should engage in more of them to drive consumer interest.

“Being traditionally an Italian brand, I think it would be really cool to collaborate with other heritage Italian brands moving forward,” Forbes said. “It would be cool to do collaborations with brands like LaVazza or anything that speaks to the Italian heritage of the brand and has authenticity behind it.”

To keep the company on track, it has recruited a roster of high-profile investors, with several coming from the sports world. The lineup includes NBA stars Draymond Green and Carmelo Anthony (also a past FN cover star), LeBron James’ business partner and friend Maverick Carter, and several others.

Anthony is helping Forbes spearhead another initiative the CEO is eager to get going: charitable efforts.

“We redid our logo and went through a rebranding so we have a bunch of old merchandise. Most brands burn it or do an off-price buy, but we have 1,000 to 2,000 pairs of footwear we’re going to take to underprivileged schools in the New York area and do a giveaway for prom,” Forbes said. “Most kids in underprivileged areas can’t afford $350 shoes, and the prom is very expensive, so we want to give them the opportunity to pick out a cool pair of shoes.”

Forbes confirmed that the giveaway will happen within the next few weeks.

Del Toro blue suede Sardegna 2
Del Toro’s blue suede Sardegna 2 sneaker.
CREDIT: Del Toro

Aside from delivering quality luxury goods, Forbes also wants Del Toro to change people’s views on the pricing of high-end goods and make them more affordable.

“You’ll get our hoodie at $165 right now and I’m confident that you’ll think it’s the same quality of the hoodie you’d get at Saint Laurent for $800 or $900,” Forbes said. “We want to redefine how the consumer views luxury and the price points they think they can attain for luxury products.”

Check out behind-the-scenes footage of NBA star Carmelo Anthony’s cover shoot with FN below.

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