Hunter Boot Ltd. has found a new chief executive officer.
The British rain-boot maker has tapped James Seuss as ceo and global president to take the brand to the next level.
Seuss, who currently serves as ceo of multibrand watch retailer Tourneau LLC, will join Hunter in December, and will be based in the London office. Seuss will remain on the board of Tourneau, which is currently searching for a ceo.
“It’s been great to work at a multibrand environment, but I am looking forward to going back to the mono-brand world,” Seuss told WWD. “Hunter is a heritage brand, too, so there are so many wonderful things to communicate to the consumer.”
Hunter has positioned itself for expansion since its controlling shareholder, Searchlight Capital Partners LP, came on board last December. Since then, the private investment firm, which owns an undisclosed percentage in the company, has been on the lookout for a ceo who would be able to increase Hunter’s presence in existing and untapped markets.
Seuss has focused on that kind of brand building during his two-and-a-half-year tenure at Tourneau. The retail executive will also trade off of his experience as ceo of Cole Haan, where he worked from 2006 to 2010 and his time at Harry Winston Diamond Corp., Gucci Group and Tiffany & Co., where he held top management positions. Hunter marks a return to London for Seuss, who oversaw Tiffany’s operations there for several years and later served as ceo of Stella McCartney.
Hunter is known for its signature rubber Wellington rain boots, and also produces outerwear and other accessories. The brand, which reported sales of 78 million pounds, or $126 million in 2011, doesn’t have any retail stores, with all its merchandise currently sold via wholesale. Seuss said the brand would begin opening stores in the Europe, U.S. and Asia, and that he hopes to introduce the brand in China.
“I haven’t yet mapped out a retail strategy, but we’re going to focus on expanding into key cities and cold-weather cities,” Seuss said, referring to New York, Chicago, London and Tokyo.
Seuss added that he would bring Hunter’s luxe collection, The Balmoral, which is only sold in the U.K., to the U.S. market. The upscale sporting boot, which incorporates leather and rubber, is a more stylish version of Hunter’s signature boots. Bringing that collection here is part of a larger strategy to focus on upping the company’s fashion quotient, Seuss said.
“We will continue to push the fashion piece of Hunter and the design team will announce a creative director soon,” he said, adding that the company will also ramp up development in other categories, such as outerwear.
“We’re getting outerwear more widely distributed and we’re making that a core part of the business,” Seuss said. “When you put on your Hunter boots, you want to put on your Hunter jacket as well.”
Footwear will still be at the core of the brand, and the company will likely further develop its winter boot and seasonal shoe offering. More fashion-inspired collaborations are also in the pipeline. In the past, Hunter teamed up with Jimmy Choo for a collaborative boot, for example.
While those partnerships will continue, Seuss stressed an adherence to Hunter’s 156-year heritage, which is built on handmade, vulcanized rubber boots.
“There’s no real clear competitor for Hunter,” he said. “It has a great combination of being fashion forward and also creating a great problem-solving product.”
As one of the most recognizable models in the world, Christy Turlington Burns has an insider’s view of the fashion industry and the allegations of sexual harassment swirling around it. “I can say that harassment and mistreatment have always been widely known and tolerated in the industry. The industry is surrounded by predators who thrive on the constant rejection and loneliness so many of us have experiences at some point in our careers,” Turlington told WWD, along with her suggestions for how the modeling world should protect younger women and men. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: Tony Palmieri) #wwdnews
@asics America has tapped a new brand ambassador: famed DJ/record producer @steveaoki. This initiative is intended to set the tone for the new brand identity and philosophy and will include partnerships with influencers and in-store and off-line activations that will continue into next year. This is Asics’ most significant marketing effort in two decades, and is expected to attract younger consumers to the brand. #wwdfashion
24-year-old Jean Prounis is redefining the rules of jewelry. Formerly a studio assistant to Jemima Kirke and a design apprentice at Ghuran, she focuses on handcrafted subtleties and ancient goldsmithing techniques. “There was a really sterile feel in the environment and I wanted to have jewelry with character that shapes how you wear it everyday,” Prounis said. Each piece is hand made in New York, either by Prounis or three other jewelers in the district. #wwdfashion
“These collections continue to build on that vision, empowering differently abled adults to express themselves through fashion,” said @tommyhilfiger of his line of adaptive apparel, which launches today. The line consists of 37 men’s and 34 women’s styles based upon the pieces from the spring Tommy Hilfiger sportswear collection. #wwdnews
“Stranger Things” is getting a new cast member for season 2. Meet @sadiesink_, the 15-year-old who will be joining the Netflix series for its new season. You may recognize her from “The Glass Castle” with Brie Larson and Woody Harrelson, but the Texas native’s next role goes in an entirely different direction. She describes her character, Max, as “a rough and tumble skater girl [who] becomes friends with the boys at school.” The second season debuts on October 27. (📷: @jgreenery) #wwdeye
Amid the Harvey Weinstein controversy, there’s another sector that’s being put under the spotlight for sexual abuse: the modeling industry. While rumors about abuse and sexual harassment of female and male models — and the photographers, agents and others who perpetrated it — have circulated within the fashion world for years, model @cameronrussell started posting stories from models on Instagram last week about abusive situations they’ve encountered — from sexual harassment and molestation to attempted rape. Over 75 have weighed in so far. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdnews
To celebrate its 16th anniversary, @dylanscandybar tapped designers and celebrities to create mosaics out of candy. The mosaics will be auctioned off to support the philanthropic cause of each participant’s choice. Pictured here is the mural created by @aliceandolivia's Stacey Bendet. For a first look at some of the other artwork being unveiled tonight, go to WWD.com. #wwdeye
The annual Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic in Pacific Palisades this weekend drew Kate Hudson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Laura Dern and more. See pictures of the star-studded event on WWD.com. (📷: @chelsealaurenla) #wwdeye
In his new book “Hollywood Royale,” Andy Warhol’s Protégé Matthew Rolston celebrates the Eighties revival of Hollywood glamour. Featuring more than 100 portraits taken by Rolston from 1977 to 1993, the book contains photos of icons like Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, and @drewbarrymore, pictured here in 1991. “Hollywood Royale,” out today, will be accompanied by an exhibition opening at Los Angeles’ Fahey/Klein Gallery on March 1. #wwdeye