Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen have expanded their fashion empire yet again.
Steve Madden Ltd., which inked a deal in February with BasicNet SpA for the exclusive North American license of Italian sneaker brand Superga, has tapped the Olsens as creative directors.
“We do a lot of business with Mary-Kate and Ashley. They’ve become friends,” said creative and design chief Steve Madden, explaining that it was the Olsens who first approached him about doing something with the heritage athletic brand.
“We were at a meeting with Steve, and we were wearing Supergas — two years later, it kind of fell into our lap,” Ashley Olsen told WWD. “I really don’t think there’s anything like this brand. It’s a tennis-shoe brand with 100 years under its belt.”
Superga, whose North American license was previously owned by R.G. Barry Corp., said its sales were just under $5 million last year. With the help of the Olsens, Steve Madden plans to quadruple that sum in the next 24 months. The licensing deal lasts three years and is renewable for four additional years.
According to Franco Spalla, chief executive officer of BasicNet, Superga’s parent company, the collaboration with the Olsens will allow the company to “better meet the tastes of the American customers.”
Indeed, as creative directors, the Olsens will not only use their clout as celebrities, but also as successful designers of luxe brand The Row and contemporary sportswear collection Elizabeth and James.
Within the last two years, the Olsens have broadened their reach, expanding into eyewear, as well as shoes for Elizabeth and James courtesy of a licensing deal with Steve Madden.
For Superga, the Olsens will launch an upscale spring 2012 sneaker collection that will be co-branded with The Row and will be available in stores where The Row’s clothing and accessories are sold.
Beyond this collaboration, the designers will develop all creative and marketing initiatives for Superga, as well as oversee retail lines of distribution. Currently, the sisters are aiming to get Superga in high-end department stores and specialty footwear boutiques at a price point of between $60 and $150.
“At first, Superga just needs to start off in the right stores and be on the right people’s feet,” said Ashley Olsen. “We look at a million opportunities a day; it’s very personal for us.”
That may be true, but the girls were adamant that there were no plans in the works to either expand their own mini fashion empire or add apparel or new accessories offerings to Superga’s collection.
“Superga is really a luxurious brand. We are really hoping to bring it back to its roots,” added Mary-Kate Olsen. “We’re just concentrating on our brand and Superga for the time being.”
From overseeing America’s fastest-growing speciality retailers to codifying cool, WWD talked to the women who are leading the way for the future of beauty. Check out our Instagram Stories to see how these women built today and are creating tomorrow. (📸: @hannah_khymych) #wwdbeauty
For @laperlalingerie's spring 2018 show, the brand chose to host their event at @thevenetianmacao. With Chinese megastars @bingbing_fan and @hubing in attendance, La Perla debuted a rock ‘n’ roll-inspired collection. The show marked the start of Sands Macao Fashion Week, which runs from October 19 to 24 — the city’s first such event. Pictured here are models backstage with glimmering eyes. #wwdfashion (📷: Cheuk-Yin To)
Trending for spring 2018: top stitch design. Gone are the days of stitch just for seams — designers are using the once-minimal detail to create strong decorative elements. (📷: Paola Testa; Styled by @andrew_shang) #wwdfashion
@tradesy is turning the concept of a showroom upside down with its new space in Santa Monica. Here, the company plans to hold events, art exhibits and a showcase rare fashion pieces like this Louis Vuitton boxing set. Get all the details on Tradesy’s first showroom on WWD.com. #wwdnews
Spotted last night at the @erdem x @hm launch event: Kate Bosworth, Rashida Jones, Kirsten Dunst and Selma Blair. The party, which took place in LA, also marked the opening of their pop-up shop. “I was interested in creating a collection that wasn’t in any way disposable. It was about pieces you’d create and keep forever, things that have a permanence to it,” designer Erdem Moralioglu said. #wwdeye (📷: Katie Jones)
Renee Zellweger in yellow in 2001 and again in 2017. Chosen as one of the 12 @pantone Leading Spring Colors (and dubbed “Meadowlark”), it only makes sense that the bright hue stands the test of time and is making a resurgence this season, seen already on stars like @blakelively and @gigihadid. (📷: Donato Sardello & @rexfeatures) #wwdfashion #tbt
Dior’s 70th anniversary celebration continues with a new exhibition at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. “Christian Dior,” which is scheduled to run through March 18, takes a look at the founders tenure from 1947 to 1057 and feature 40 designs. Pictured here is an evening gown from the Ailée, fall 1948-49 haute couture collection. #wwdfashion (📷: Brian Boyle)