“New York is a truly international city with such a strong heritage in fashion,” said founder Daniel Rubin. “It makes sense to open there first. Personally, I also know it better than other cities in the U.S. and feel we would perform really well there.”
To ensure the company’s New York success, Rubin hired Richard Kelsey, previously president of Splendid and Ella Moss footwear, as president of U.S. wholesale. “I saw it as a huge opportunity to take what we’re so successful at doing in the U.K. and throughout Europe, and expand it to the U.S.,” Kelsey said.
Since joining the company last May, Kelsey has overseen the brand’s entry into the U.S. market last August for spring 2014. Lord & Taylor, Nordstrom, Belk, Hudson’s Bay, Piperlime and Zappos are among retailers to place orders, which are currently hitting stores.
A third-party warehouse in New Jersey was hired to fulfill U.S. retail orders. A space for a flagship in SoHo here is being scouted for a slated fall opening. In the meantime, a Midtown headquarters was established — the first Dune London showroom outside of London.
Keeping the Dune London heritage while entering a foreign arena has been instrumental to the U.S. strategy — especially when it comes to product. “All of our design and development is still in the U.K., so the product that you’re seeing here is the product you’ll see in our [U.K.] stores,” Kelsey said. “The U.S. retailers can get the product the same time as the stores in the U.K., and that’s very important.”
The brand will make its first major play for shelf space with fall, with its first press day taking place Thursday. For fall, the brand is offering women’s styles ranging from classic brogues to sky-high stilettos, as well as a wide range of boots. The classic styles are reimagined in luxe materials (Lurex, calf hair, holographics) with trendy details (metal trims, crystal embellishments, decorative zippers). Accessories and men’s shoes will also be presented.
Price point is a key part of the selling story, with most retail prices hovering in the low hundreds. “We’ve got customers that tested us in a certain amount and, without receiving product, have increased their orders for spring,” Kelsey said. “I think that lends a lot of credibility to the product and the price-value relationship to the product. We’re not going to be the cheapest, but we’re not going to be the most expensive. We’re affordable luxury and that’s very key for the brand.”
Describing the contemporary footwear market as a “heavily saturated competitive landscape,” Kelsey foresees the brand’s main competitors to be Vince Camuto, Kors Michael Kors and Sam Edelman for women, and Johnston & Murphy, Kenneth Cole and Ted Baker for men’s. The fact that those names are already established and familiar to the typical U.S. customer does not deter Kelsey.
“We’ve thought about it a lot,” he said. “Those brands are all powerful brands. [But] I think the design elements are our own, and our interpretation on trends is our own. We’re very successful in the U.K., and there are a lot of brands there that we compete with. Given a little bit of time, we’ll win over the U.S. consumer.”
My character, Dinah Madani, is just the coolest, [most] badass woman imaginable," says @amberroserevah. The actress stars in @marvel's newest series on @netflix, @thepunisher. To prepare for her role, Revah sat down with Homeland agents to get a real sense of with Dinah's day-to-day life is really like. Read our full interview on WWD.com. #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
A scene from the 91st annual @macys Thanksgiving Day Parade. The parade, which boasts 50 million TV viewers and 3.5 million on-site spectators, is considered one of the largest and most watched parades in the world. (📷: Jason Szenes/EPA-REX)
The circus came to @bloomingdales 59th Street on Tuesday night and lit up Lexington Avenue with acrobatic dancers, death-defying knife throwing, sword swallowing and aerial acts with no net. The 45 minutes of theatrics built up to unveiling the holiday windows depicting @swarovski crystal-encrusted circus pieces and scenes from “The Greatest Showman” – songs from the soundtrack included. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: Joshua Scott)
The psychedelic fashion that pervaded the ’60s is back with an exhibit at the @museumofcityny. “Mode New York: Fashion Takes a Trip” chronicles the changing styles from 1960 through 1973 and features designers such as @ysl, @oscardelarenta and more. The exhibition, which is on display through April 1, is organized into four periods: First Lady Fasion, Youthquake, New Bohemia and New Nonchalance. Pictured here is model Pat Bardonella during the Garvey Day Parade in 1968. (📷: @kwamebphoto) #wwdeye #wwdfashion
“People should be a lot more honest in expressing both the dark and light of themselves. We need to give each other the space to do that because it’s the only way we can grow and evolve,” says @noelwells of her new film “Mr. Roosevelt,” which is largely based on her own struggles. Unexpectedly leaving @nbcsnl in 2014 after just one season, Wells felt set back in her self-esteem and career trajectory. She quickly refocused her energy to more personal projects, which led to the completion of “Mr. Roosevelt.” Read the rest of WWD’s interview with the “Master of None” actress on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
@barbrastreisand is giving fans a chance to see her perform up close in a new concert series, which makes its debut on @Netflix today. From behind-the-scenes takes to her concert performance in Miami last December, the two-hour streaming special captures Streisand in her element. Pictured here is the singer/actress photographed for WWD in 1963. (📷: Palmieri Tony) #wwdeye #wwdarchive
@chanel and @pharrell dropped what’s being dubbed as the world’s most exclusive sneakers yesterday. The Adidas Originals NMD Hu, which Williams designed in collaboration with Chanel and @adidasoriginals, has a waiting list of over 120K people who pre-registered online at chanelatcolette.fr –– and only 500 pairs are on sale. The singer predicted the resale value of the shoes could reach $40K. Read the full interview on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdfashion (📷: Dominique Maître)
@imanshumpert is diving deeper into his creative endeavors and relaunching his clothing line, Post 90s, and is helping to raise money for the hurricane victims in St. Maarten with a jersey he’s designed with his brother. The Cleveland Cavaliers player talked to WWD about kneeling during the national anthem, working with fashion brands and how he wants to be more than an @nba player. Read the interview on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: George Chinese)