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Justin Timberlake’s William Rast Steps Into Shoes

William Rast, the brand founded by Justin Timberlake and Trace Ayala, is moving beyond denim with a new capsule collection of footwear.

A sketch of William Rast footwear.

William Rast is moving beyond denim with a new capsule collection of footwear.

This story first appeared in the February 17, 2010 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

The five-year-old brand, founded by Justin Timberlake and Trace Ayala, will introduce a small line of men’s and women’s shoes at its fall presentation tonight during New York Fashion Week. The line bows this fall at William Rast stores and its wholesale accounts, such as Neiman Marcus and Shopbop.com.

William Rast footwear features boots, spectators and wedges that share the same aesthetic as the fall clothing. Themes such as “nomadic biker” and “soul searching, nomadic collector” are represented by elements like feathers, fringe, beading and brass detailing. Retailing from $248 to $449, the footwear will be produced in partnership with Jimlar Corp., a licensing firm for lines such as Coach and Calvin Klein. Next spring, Rast will offer a larger, more varied range of shoes.

“We felt that footwear was natural for us,” said Rast chief executive officer Colin Dyne. “Obviously, being in the denim business, we felt the biker boot and the whole ‘Americana biker’ theme goes well with boots and shoes and they share that essence and DNA of the brand. We thought our fashion show was the ideal launchpad for us to get it out.”

William Rast unveiled eyewear last month in partnership with Viva International Group and is in talks to create a handbag line. Dyne said nonapparel items could eventually encompass 50 to 70 percent of the brand’s revenue.

“We feel the market for some of these categories is stale and the environment is right for fashion-forward eyewear and footwear,” Dyne said.

Rast also plans to open 40 to 50 stores in the next three years in markets like Dallas, San Diego and Miami that will join the three it currently operates throughout California. It is also signing distribution deals to open retail and wholesale shops throughout Asia.