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If The Shoe Fits…

Now that footwear has emerged as a full-fledged category at WWDMAGIC, vendors are preparing to show their wares to retailers they might not have met otherwise.

Casual Barn's suede moccasins.
Appeared In
Special Issue
WWD MAGIC issue 07/16/2008

Now that footwear has emerged as a full-fledged category at WWDMAGIC, vendors are preparing to show their wares to retailers they might not have met otherwise.

“The economy isn’t great right now, so if retailers can come to a show to see everything all at once, and if we can put out great products for them, then it’s a win-win situation,” said Sandy Hsu, founder and designer of the women’s shoe division of Casual Barn in Irvine, Calif.

Colleen Baker, marketing executive at Onesole, a West Palm Beach, Fla., firm that makes interchangeable shoes, said the emphasis on footwear at the trade show is valuable, as it could allow them to connect with larger retailers.

 

Onesole is known for versatility; customers buy a sole and then choose various tops to go with it. Next season features beaded tops in summer brights like yellow, blue and green, wholesaling from $45 to $60.

Reflecting the trend toward all things eco-friendly, footwear vendors like San Gabriel, Calif.-based Bamboo 54 are doing their part to use renewable resources. The brand’s offerings include shoes made from bamboo and grass.

“It’s about taking these renewable materials and pushing the envelope as far as the style goes,” said Michael Horn, director of sales. New looks include “comfortable and stylish” wedges, in variations like plaid prints or hand-painted florals, which he said reflect the collection’s “rain forest theme.” The shoes wholesale between $6 and $20.

Los Angeles-based firm Charles David, known for sophisticated shoes averaging $100 at wholesale, anticipates increased exposure at the show, according to Karen Lascaris, head of design. Fall’s offerings run from sexy platforms, some with patchwork designs, to jewel-studded high-heeled sandals.

“The wedge never went out for our customer, although we are focusing on some new constructions,” said Lascaris. Sandals are also a year-round market, and this time we’ll be showing those with thicker straps and more caged styles.”

Flats are also still important, as are rich purples and greens, many embellished with studs, grommets or opaque crystals.

Casual Barn’s Hsu said she would introduce her line of driving moccasins. Colors include bright rose, yellow, lime and red. She also hopes buyers will be drawn to her sandals, which use Swarovski crystals and are inspired by what she calls the “beach wedding” trend.

Also new will be ballerina styles that take a cue from footwear on the streets of Paris. This group uses European patent leather, metallics and suedes. Casual Barn shoes wholesale from $30 to $70.