The future of luxury fashion sneakers is small — and that’s a big deal.At least that’s the word from Wayne Kulkin, former chief executive officer of Stuart Weitzman, whose new company, StreetTrend, is focused on grabbing a piece of the burgeoning sector by pushing Italian craftsmanship, quick reaction times and scarcity.“We’re trying to create a group of big little brands,” Kulkin, who leads the company as ceo, told WWD. StreetTrend has inked distribution partnerships with two Italian sneaker lines — P448 and Meline — that cover North America, the Asia-Pacific region and the U.K.The company is also launching its own line in January, PS821, which will feature very limited runs — 250 to 500 pairs total per style – and sell in the $295 to $450 range. Each pair and the box will be numbered and the styling will offer leather or suede, a high-tech textile or feature and something to surprise, in perhaps a trim or color. The “PS” stans for Project Social.StreetTrend, a joint venture between Kulkin and Hilco Global’s chairman and ceo Jeffrey Hecktman, is a shot at something new in a rapidly changing market.[caption id="attachment_11057817" align="aligncenter" width="356"] Wayne Kulkin[/caption]The venture takes its cues more from Supreme than Nike — vying for big-time cool over big-time orders. And the company will have both direct-to-consumer and wholesale distribution but not too much of either.“The days of being able to produce 500,000 pairs or 300,000 pairs — it isn’t so interesting,” Kulkin said. “But when you can make it so it’s easy to do storytelling, I think it will resonate. And it’s fun, it’s fun for us. We don’t take ourselves too seriously to try to do new things.”Kulkin said it’s typical for shoe factories to require orders of at least 5,000 pairs and seven months of advance time. But he said the industry needs to be more flexible and reactive to rapidly changing preferences from customers.“How do you create products in this new world seven months in advance?” he said, noting size isn’t everything. “The companies that are doing in the volume range of $70 million to maybe $200 million are these cool brands that are really dictating fashion. You can’t be exclusive and unique if you’re selling so many shoes.”Kulkin knows of what he speaks, having spent over two decades at Weitzman, which he led as ceo both before and after the brand’s acquisition by Coach Inc., now named Tapestry Inc.After helping build Weitzman, Kulkin is clearly enjoying being in start-up mode. Shipments are under way for P448, which will soon land in Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Bloomingdale’s, Shopbop and The Shoe Box NYC.StreetTrend has a New York showroom to present the three brands.“I wanted to have a lot of different concepts for retailers to come and almost think of StreetTrend as a candy shop for sneakers,” Kulkin said. “The concept is to create a living laboratory for footwear.”That laboratory will feature only Italian-made footwear that’s keeping up with the style on the streets instead of the runway and is focused on building momentum with high-quality products and not over the top marketing.
For its next men’s wear collection, @roberto_cavalli will show as a special guest at #PittiUomo, running from June 12-15. The brand, which has Florence in its roots, will relaunch its men’s wear collection, which will be presented separately from women’s wear for the first time since Paul Surridge was appointed creative director in May. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @aitorrosasphoto)
“I was making the guacamole when my scout saw me,” says model @stuckinteenage on being discovered just six months ago while working at @chipotlemexicangrill. Since then Williams has signed with @dnamodels, walked in her first show at @calvinklein and landed on the cover of @vogueitalia – a high point of any model’s career. To read @lisajlockwood’s full interview with the model on her experiences thus far, head to WWD.com – link in bio. (📷: George Chinsee)
“I love the idea of dialogue, period. It’s where I’ve always gotten my inspiration from: hearing other women speak, their journeys and their paths,” said @hereisgina, who delivered the keynote speech during @sxsw for @createcultivate in partnership with @fossil. For her two panels, Rodriguez chose female empowering, female-led and female entrepreneurs to focus on. Head to WWD.com to read more about her thoughts on Time’s Up, growing up in a family of women and why we “need a girls’ club.” #wwdeye #sxsw (📷: @jgreenery)
Leading luxury brand are shaking things up to keep up with streetwear. Case in point: the arrival of @mrkimjones as artistic director of @diorhomme. Jones, who succeeds @Kris_Van_Assche, is seen as one of the handful of designers who can actually straddle the luxury and streetwear worlds — which could lead to even more changes at established brands. What could this mean for the rest of the menswear landscape? Head to WWD.com to find out what experts predict #wwdfashion (📷: @franckmura)
“It’s like buying groceries. You’re going to buy the best mango, the best mozzarella, the best things. You have to, or others are going to take it all,” said @gabrielahearst on why she uses only the finest fabrics. Last week, Hearst received her first @cfda nomination for Womenswear Designer of the Year, and earlier this month she opened a permanent showroom in Paris. To read @jessiredale’s interview with the designer and find out why this is shaping up to be a big year for her, head to WWD.com. #wwdfashion (📷: @francoisgoize)
“It’s an interesting thing, playing a younger version of your mother. It’s an interesting concept. I adore my mom and love her in every capacity, but it was just something that had never crossed my mind,” says @anniemstarke on playing a young Joan Castleman in “The Wife.” The same role will be played by her mother Glenn Close. Read more about her growing up in the film industry as the daughter of producer John H. Starke and Close and what she has planned for the future #wwdeye (📷: @nataliamantini)
@asics is launching a new streetwear sneaker inspired by its latest ambassador, @steveaoki. The Hyper-Kenzen x Aoki, which will launch at @footlocker stores exclusively tomorrow, is a slip-on style that incorporates the brand’s proprietary Gel technology through beads integrated into the midsole for comfort and endurance. Read the full story on WWD.com.