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Coming off her latest fragrance launch, Taylor Swift is now adding footwear to her fashion résumé with a new partnership with Keds.
This story first appeared in the October 11, 2012 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The country-pop star has inked a three-year deal with the sneaker maker, in which she will play a pivotal role in the new direction of the brand.
“I’ve been a fan of Keds for years, because they have two of my favorite elements of great style — they’re classic and effortless. I remember wearing Keds as a little kid, while riding my bike around the farm. When I got older, I started wearing them again. There’s something cool about shoes that you can grow up with,” Swift told WWD.
“I think they add something casual and cool to your look, and the new colors and patterns are so eclectic,” she added. “I love pairing them with vintage looks.”
For Swift, she’s pairing the release of her new album “Red” with her new Keds shoe, also aptly dubbed “Red,” to hit stores on Oct. 22.
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Unlike her album, Swift’s sneaker, which happens to be red in color, will only be available on keds.com, taylorswift.com, nordstrom.com and journeys.com, for $50.
Leading up to the release of the limited-edition shoe, Keds is pulling together a digital and print campaign that will focus on stories of strength from teenage girls. Swift’s own story, about how her family picked up and moved to Nashville so that she could pursue her singing career, will be the first story featured in Keds’ campaign.
“What we’re seeking to do is to tell the stories of girls who are 13 to 24, who have fantastic tales of bravery,” said Keds brand president Rick Blackshaw. “Taylor is a superpositive role model for girls, a hero, in a sense.”
Blackshaw and Stephanie Brocoum, vice president of marketing, are aiming at the 13- to 24-year-old female customer with the partnership, trading off of Swift’s appeal to that demographic.
Case in point: Starting today, the partnership will be hyped on Swift’s Facebook page, which has 34.8 million “Likes.”
Keds will also feature exclusive content from Swift on its own Facebook and Twitter accounts.
“October is a bit of a teaser,” said Brocoum. “In January, we will have an integrated campaign — print, digital ads, social media. This will drive girls globally to reach out and share their story.”
In the coming months, Brocoum said the brand would be giving away 13 pairs of Swift’s shoe every day for a month — 13 because it’s Swift’s favorite number. Keds will also offer a pair of Swift-autographed shoes to the lucky winner of a contest on the brand’s Facebook page.
According to Blackshaw, the Swift rollout is part of a larger brand strategy. Keds, which has been recently acquired by Wolverine World Wide Inc., will focus its efforts on its women’s division, as it exits its men’s business this year. In 2013, the brand will build on its apparel offering through its long-standing partnership with Regatta USA, which is owned by sourcing firm Li & Fung, as well as stretch its international reach.
“What you’re going to see in 2013 is an opening of the aperture of the brand,” said Blackshaw, who explained that while Keds’ focus has narrowed to just women’s, it has opened itself to more fully explore women’s apparel and footwear.
“This is a brand renewal, and it’s going to propel us three to five years,” he said, adding that the push begins with Swift. “Everything that we do runs through Taylor in terms of production in our collaboration. She’s our North Star. She will help us expand the brand.”