NEW YORK — Via Spiga is in the final stages of an image overhaul, part of a yearlong initiative to reinvigorate the 27-year-old footwear company.
The multifaceted approach — which meant bringing in Edmundo Castillo to serve as creative director, elevating product design and tapping Nick Knight to shoot an edgy ad campaign — will also include the opening of a new store on the Upper East Side here next year. The brand has even collaborated with graffiti artist Carlos Mare139 Rodriguez on the design of punchy colored shoeboxes to coincide with fall deliveries.
“Our goal is to attract a new customer while keeping the existing one. There’s the woman who has always been there, and [then] there’s a new consumer who is looking for fashion at a good value. It’s two consumers coming into play. It’s a big accomplishment to appeal to both,” said Jay Schmidt, president, better and image brands at Brown Shoe Co., at Via Spiga’s recently redesigned showroom in Midtown here.
One of the first steps in reinvigorating the brand — acquired by Brown Shoe in 2005 — was having Castillo work on the fall collection from concept to completion, according to Schmidt. The CFDA Award-winning designer now spearheads creative and design responsibilities, which spans the production of six footwear lines a year as well as overseeing the company’s handbag, eyewear, outerwear, hosiery and belt licensees. Castillo also designed the 1,675-square-foot showroom — a sunlit space with floors and displays in the brand’s new orange color.
Castillo’s debut collection looks different than anything the brand has done before, but prices remain about the same, hovering in the $185 to $425 range (the core collection retails primarily for less than $200 and fashion styles have increased in price by about 10 to 12 percent). In addition to the overall style of the shoes, which saw the introduction of more fashion-forward shapes such as a platform, peep-toe bootie done in a laser-cut suede, the brand reworked its fit component and has a new orange “terracotta” insole and sole — the same shade present throughout the showroom and on the new boxes.
Castillo likened developing footwear in this price point to “playing with a new toy.” It was a challenge for the designer — whose background is in the luxury sector — but he said there was more space to play with design and materials than he expected. For example, he experimented with double-dyeing suede to give it a richer, more saturated color and the overall look of a more high-end shoe.
“There was something lacking in this category. [In] the market in which Via Spiga sits, everything is always a watered-down version of the hottest item. I found that it was time to inject something new into that. I don’t think that women just want what other women are wearing or have worn — and those who can’t afford expensive shoes, they want to buy something they love. I wanted to give Via Spiga its own identity and not what’s expected from a brand at this price point,” Castillo said.
Schmidt said the line’s offering of fashion footwear has more than doubled since Castillo came on board. Trend-driven styles now comprise 35 percent of the collection, when previously it was just 15 percent.
“We’ve never had so much dynamic fashion footwear in the line. We’ve always had a core consumer — primarily the working woman who wears pumps and career shoes — but we’ve taken this message and expanded it into fashion categories. He lifted it but he didn’t lose it,” Schmidt said.
According to the executive, who joined the company in 2009, sales for Via Spiga roughly doubled from 2009 to 2011. He declined to reveal future growth projections. There’s a strong e-commerce business at viaspiga.com, and product is carried in more than 200 doors worldwide, the biggest accounts being Nordstrom and Bloomingdale’s. Schmidt would like to see this number climb to 250, but he maintained that he’s focused on growth by door and continuing to expand core and fashion offerings in doors where the line is already sold. He added that Via Spiga has entered the Chinese market in the past year through a partnership with Chinese retailer Stella Luna.
Bolstering wholesale business remains a priority for Schmidt — but opening a freestanding concept store here is a significant facet of the brand’s rebranding strategy. Via Spiga shuttered the doors of its SoHo flagship on Broadway in May to focus on a new uptown boutique that will open in the spring. The exact location is yet to be determined.
Additionally, the company’s advertising budget increased by 33 percent for fall, which includes digital for the first time. The photographer, Knight, was commissioned to shoot the fall ad campaign in London earlier this year and the print ads will launch in the September issues of Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar and Elle next month. The images are edgier, bolder and centered around the product, a departure from the brand’s lifestyle-oriented ads of the past.
@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)
Not only does #TheProfit return to CNBC tonight, but @marcuslemonis has launched @shopmarcus, a new shopping and lifestyle retail experience in Aspen and Chicago, with more locations to come. The retail stores offer in-store stylists and a variety of contemporary womenswear selections.
“It’s life, I’m going to face it,” @mingxi11 sighed. “I fell, but you know, I think the most important thing is that I get back up. I had the love, the help from my sister — the girl next to me Gizele [Oliveira] — she’s so nice. When I went backstage everybody was trying to comfort me like ‘Oh Ming, it’s OK.’ I’m really, really touched. I think it’s them who gave me the courage to go back on stage for the finale,” Xi told WWD of her fall at the @victoriassecret fashion show. (📷: David Fisher) #wwdfashion #vsfashionshow #victoriassecret
@louisvuitton tapped @therealpeterlindbergh for its latest city-centric photo book, which is part of a series called Fashion Eye. The primarily black and white book captures the spirit of Berlin in 57 images shot between 1989 and 2019. “Berlin is an inspiration for me, more than a city. I mean @millajovovich is simply Berlin!” said Lindbergh. #wwdfashion
“You know, I think audiences expect a certain performance so I have to deliver to them what they’re expecting to a certain degree. But I’m also a different actor and a different person, I have my own spin on the character,” says @noahegalvin of his takeover of the leading role in “Dear Evan Hansen” following the departure of @bensplatt, who originated the role. Read WWD’s interview with the 23-year-old actor on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
For pre-fall 2018, @etro created richly-colored wonderland, using tapestries, textiles and wallpapers from the Eastern world at large. The line featured floral and graphic prints and jacquard motifs, like this two-piece look featured here. #wwdfashion (📷: Giovanna Pavesi)
@kith is moving into children’s. The men’s and women’s streetwear brand has launched Kidset, a Kith kids line located in New York at 64 Bleecker Street. The line includes mini versions of staple Kith pieces like the Astor bomber jacket and the Kith box logo sweatshirts, along with a wall that can display up to 120 pairs of shoes from @adidas, @newbalance, @timberland and more. #wwdfashion
“I just wanted to create this fully rounded character, but I do think what excited me most was just the opportunity to give a group of people representation that I feel needs it. I like to do characters in projects that stand for something and Karolina definitely does, so that was really exciting to me,” @ginnygardner says of her new role in @hulu’s “The Runaways.” Gardner plays Karolina Dean, a queer superhero, which is a rarity for @marvel. Read more about Gardner’s character on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @dandoperalski)