When combing through creative destinations that offer an atypical blend of bustle, grit and undeniable cool, Brooklyn, NY, feels like a natural choice. For Danish footwear company ECCO, its vision to engender untapped footwear flair takes form at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, a transformative setting that touts some serious cultural capital.
ECCO’s interest in the Brooklyn Navy Yard piqued when the brand sought to establish an intimate design space that would help develop a stronger presence in the U.S. market. Kevin Isbell, Studio Director ECCO Studio at Brooklyn Navy Yard, said that “Having a space in Brooklyn, undoubtedly one of the world’s greatest creative centers, offers closeness to an inspiring community. Via our ECCO Leather family, we already have many close friends and partners in the New York City area, so being physically present and ever engaging only allows for more circular knowledge sharing and collaborative opportunities.”
Isbell added that the Studio is “there to challenge the status quo, both internally and externally, and to drive the perception of the brand forward as an industry leader in footwear, leather goods and leather manufacturing.” The U.S. is a key focus market for ECCO, Isbell emphasized – and being physically closer to consumers in the marketplace is “certain to produce products better suited for the intended consumer.”
The story ECCO conveys to customers aligns with a heritage-based aesthetic that is inspired by the past but modernized with a Brooklyn-style edge. Isbell said that it tapped into its own archive of products at ECCO’s global headquarters in Tønder, Denmark – where the brand holds an archive of products that represent ECCO’s nearly 60-year history and commitment to heritage and innovation – to revisit and relaunch styles that evoke the visual appeal of its own workwear originals.
“Each season, designers are encouraged to leverage this resource to gain inspiration for the new season’s collection,” Isbell said. “For Autumn Winter 2022, there were a couple of archival products that inspired our new Heritage collection, which is an assortment of products for him and her featuring rich workwear leathers and silhouettes.”
“Given that the U.S. was the primary target market for this product, the design of this collection was largely driven out of Brooklyn. Like any other design project, there was a deep tie to the team in Denmark to ensure cohesiveness across the entire range of global products. We are excited to see this collection, which is the first out of the Brooklyn team, to land in market this fall.”
ECCO also recently opened a satellite studio in Shanghai, the brand said – and notes that it is the “foremost intent of these satellite studios to design products that bring the brand even closer to our loyal U.S. and China consumers.”
Brooklyn and Beyond
What’s more is the Brooklyn Navy Yard itself, which offers a built-in support system for the brand. Isbell said that beyond design and drawing closer to the U.S. market, the Studio’s focus is on “engaging with the local creative community—to learn from others, to teach, and to be a resource that aids in empowering industry peers to achieve their creative aspirations.”
“Collaboration betters us all, and there’s no better home for this than Brooklyn,” Isbell said. “More specifically, there is no better home for this than the Brooklyn Navy Yard, which has been a tremendous partner in connecting us with neighbors exhibiting shared interests. The feeling here is that every business, large or small, is rooting for the success of its neighbors – this inspires, motivates, and creates a space to organically and granularly tell ECCO’s story.”
In addition to the Heritage collection, the designers in Brooklyn are also extremely focused on building out its core franchises and expanding the offerings on products well-known by its consumers. Shoppers can expect to see new styles and color ways on popular products such as the Soft 7 and the Yucatan for women’s and men’s, as well as the Helsinki 2 for men’s, which will be offered from Spring/Summer 2023 onward.
“Creating iconic and well-known footwear is pertinent as to further establish its identity towards the consumer market. There is also a brand focus to establish ECCO more richly as a leader in leather goods,” Isbell said.
Regarding its in-house tannery and leather goods atelier at ECCO’s global Leather Headquarters in The Netherlands, its rich resources “will empower the brand to offer beautifully-crafted small and large leather goods – at a premium, yet accessible price point.”
ECCO’s 100 Hours Campaign Explores the Art and Science of Heritage Design
ECCO’s new campaign homes in on the underpinnings of its heritage-inspired aesthetic.
One hundred hours is roughly how long it takes to break in a regular pair of boots, according to ECCO – and its new campaign, aptly titled 100 Hours, focuses on its Heritage Collection that offers the lived-in look and feel shoppers crave right out of the box.
Jared Udell, Senior Designer ECCO Studio at Brooklyn Navy Yard, said that its Heritage Collection was inspired by the U.S. marketplace for work boots. “We have been making the Track 25 platform for decades, offering the market a comfort-led product in a couple of styles. We wanted to give the consumers who have been wearing the Track 25 boot or shoe additional new options on a familiar platform.”
“These new styles are the new classics that sit alongside the existing ones. They are solid additions with the same comfort and quality that can be found in the original Track 25 boots and shoes.”
ECCO’s Heritage Collection differentiates from other work footwear in the marketplace through a unique aesthetic described as classic, simple, and utilitarian, supported by technologies that allow for a comfortable wearing experience.
Udell’s personal favorite? The Track 25 Chelsea boots that represent the “best example of this new classic style. The rugged performance details, smooth Scandinavian lines, and built-in comfort that has proven to only get better with time and use is here
with a clean simple short pull-on boot. This is a homerun for all ages that performs best in class!”
“Where ECCO Heritage differs, is in the hidden comfort and fit features that
can only be found in ECCO footwear,” Udell said. “Through the use of ECCO’s FLUIDFORM technology we are able to marry anatomically correct fit with the superior comfort and lasting rebound that can only come from the use of a polyurethane midsole.”
ECCO also uses a perforated thick natural Vachetta leather footbed combined with comfort foam footbed combo that molds to an individual’s foot and does not produce unpleasant odors like fabric footbeds, the brand said.