Kenneth Cole has entered into new licensing partnerships with Eastman Footwear Group Inc. and Vida Shoes International Inc. for men’s and women’s footwear.
Beginning with spring ’22, Eastman will be responsible for the development, sourcing, production and sales of all Kenneth Cole men’s shoes under the Kenneth Cole New York, Kenneth Cole Reaction and Unlisted labels.
Vida Shoes, meanwhile, will handle the same responsibilities for the women’s footwear lines under the three labels. Vida will also oversee the development, sourcing, production and sales for the Gentle Souls label for both men and women.
Kenneth Cole Productions will continue to market the collections and oversee design.
“I am excited about this next chapter for our heritage footwear business and the company,” said Kenneth Cole, CEO and chief creative officer of Kenneth Cole Productions, Inc. “I believe that with the incremental leverage these two ‘best in class’ operators can bring, we will be able to gain efficiencies and realize a level of service and growth beyond our current capabilities.”
According to the company, the collections will be sold at better department stores and select specialty stores throughout the U.S. Most of the Kenneth Cole footwear team will transition to the new organizations. Roberto Zamarra will continue in his capacity as group president of Kenneth Cole Footwear.
“We are thrilled to partner with Kenneth Cole, such an iconic brand and company. Kenneth’s singular vision and commitment to community and this business has made him a global icon,” said Solomon Dabah, president of Vida Shoes International. “We believe this is an exceptional opportunity for both companies and we are excited to play a role in taking the business to even greater heights.”
Kenneth Cole’s other licensed categories include men’s and women’s outerwear, fragrance, watches, optical, luggage and home.
In September 2020, the firm entered into a licensing agreement with Esquire Brands to manufacture and distribute its children’s footwear. Starting with the spring ’21 lines, Esquire produced and distributed the kids’ category under the Kenneth Cole New York, Kenneth Cole Reaction and Unlisted labels.