Keds is getting a brand refresh.
In February, Designer Brands Inc. (DBI) acquired the Keds label from Wolverine Worldwide. As part of the deal, the DSW-parent company took over all Keds products, including the Pro-Keds sneaker line, and the brand’s e-commerce business. The terms of which were not disclosed. Prior to the deal, DSW was Keds’ largest wholesale customer.
The core Keds leadership team made the transition from WWW over to DBI, according to the company, but much of its leadership, which is mainly made up of women, is new to the brand within the past few years.
Since then, the Keds team has been focused on updating its vision, brand messaging, as well as its product assortment.
“The refresh is really rooted in our rich history and it’s about enabling wearers to experiment with style and explore how they want to show up in the world,” said Nicole Underwood, director of brand, collaborations and energy. “It’s a slightly new approach to a new audience. We are looking to speak to the expressive millennial.”
With that comes a new logo in a new blue hue. Keds also launched three upgraded sneaker styles: The Court, The Platform and The Mini. Pricing for these styles range from $50 to $80.
In addition, collaborations are an important strategy for consumer acquisition and are a way to bring the brand refresh to life, added Underwood. “One of the things that we really wanted to reconnect with was being that leader in fashion sneakers,” she said. Last year, Keds was the official footwear sponsor of New York Fashion Week, and most recently, it partnered with Maisie Wilen, as well as Altuzarra, on collaborations. The Keds x Altuzarra collection will launch later this month.
And while Keds continues to focus its marketing on female empowerment and its “Ladies First” mantra, the brand is looking at this idea through a new lens.
Said Underwood, “We’re incredibly proud of being the first to create a sneaker specifically for women. That’s kind of central to a lot of our brand identity. We want to be at the forefront of these ideas and we recognized that we needed to open it up a little bit. We know that you don’t have to be female in order to be feminine and we truly believe that everyone belongs and we want to create a space for everyone.”