P448 has a new owner.
In a statement early this month, StreetTrend LLC announced that it purchased the Italy-based luxury sneaker brand from NoThanks SpA. As part of the acquisition, the consolidated entity will be called P448 SpA and will become part of StreetTrend’s portfolio of footwear and fashion brands.
StreetTrend founder and CEO Wayne Kulkin, who held the chief executive role at Stuart Weitzman for more than 25 years, said he first discovered P448 three years ago while traveling to Italy to source brands for his new company. He signed an agreement with the label to serve as its exclusive distributor and marketing partner for the United States, as well as Canada, Mexico, China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan.
In 2018, StreetTrend snapped up a 30% stake in P448 from NoThanks SpA. According to StreetTrend, P448 has achieved a compound annual growth rate of 40% each year and has “dramatically expanded” its distribution channels to retailers including Nordstrom, Bloomingdale’s, ShopBop, Revolve, Printemps and Level Shoes. It is also said to have seen an increase of 800% on its digital channels in the first half of the year amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“In the midst of the worst health and economic crisis of modern history, we launched a new design and creative services group with a network of experts and facilities to leverage shared knowledge, industry experience and best-in-class resources,” Kulkin explained, sharing that the entity was called TheProjectSociety LLC. To support the business, StreetTrend opened a 20,000-square-foot design studio in the Spanish city of Elda, where technicians and staff are led by creative director Daniele Michetti. The facility, said the company, will enable it to launch shoe collections for four lifestyle brands.
“All production and sourcing were executed in Italy and Spain — a critical factor in order to ensure premier design, quality and craftsmanship,” Kulkin added.
In 2017, Kulkin founded StreetTrend in a joint venture partnership with brand investment firm Hilco Global and its executive chief, Jeffrey Hecktman. Karen Katz, who previously served as president and CEO of Neiman Marcus Group, was appointed as chairman of StreetTrend’s advisory board.
“Wayne has a grand vision for StreetTrend, and he has been successfully executing against it since we first met several years ago,” Hecktman said in a statement. “Wayne describes StreetTrend as a modern day incubation company — built from new global businesses and brands in the men’s and women’s fashion and streetwear sectors, with a focus on footwear ranging from sneaker to lifestyle categories for the consumer who wants fashion, technology and fit.”
This acquisition comes eight months after P448 announced the debut of its first store in Milan. The boutique, which houses the brand’s women’s and men’s collections, plus accessories, is designed in an avant-garde way, radiating a blue glow and boasting neon art in an urban and industrial setting in the city’s Brera district.