Starting with shoes, Sole Society aims to build a lifestyle brand around dancer, singer and actress Julianne Hough.
Hough’s footwear collection for Sole Society will launch in February at the Los Angeles-based online shoe retailer and select Nordstrom stores with five to six styles, including pumps, flats, wedges and sandals priced from $49.95 to $99.95, followed by infusions of new pairs monthly. Before the collection launches, Hough made her Sole Society debut with a page on Sole Society’s Web site dedicated to discussing her style and favorite Sole Society shoes.
Hough, who is a spokeswoman for Guthy-Renker’s Proactiv but has never previously endorsed a fashion brand, was familiar with Sole Society when they approached her about a partnership. “I had first seen them online and had bought their shoes because I thought how cute they were. I would get them for my sisters, too,” she said. “Then, when we talked, it was a perfect fit. I have been wanting to not only start a shoe line, but also a lifestyle line for clothing.”
Hough views the leap into fashion as an expression of creativity, saying, “It is the reason I do what I do now. With movies, singing and my charity, it is the same reason.” Speaking specifically about why she chose to develop footwear with Sole Society, she elaborated, “I feel like not everybody can afford Valentino and Gucci shoes, so to be able to have shoes that are on the same trends, but for a much more affordable price, I think that’s exactly what every girl wants.”
Hough worked closely with Emily Sun, director of buying and merchandising at Sole Society, on the shoes in her first collection, but anticipates leading the design to a greater extent as she gets comfortable with the process of making footwear. Hinting at what might be expected from her shoe line, she said, “I love a good wedge. I think that is key because you can wear it with anything. I love a really fun, feminine shoe, not really a platform but a single-level shoe that you can wear with jeans, but also a nice dress. Then, flats, I like fun, funky flats. I have been drawn to flats lately because there are just more cute flats.”
Sole Society chief executive officer Brett Markinson revealed the e-tailer has inked a long-term deal with Hough that isn’t a traditional licensing arrangement, although he wouldn’t discuss the terms of the deal nor divulge Sole Society’s revenues. He said the site signed Hough because “she is approachable. She loves fashion. She’s supermotivated, excited and can’t wait to learn and participate in developing a sense of style that she can project. She stands for cool, hip. She’s wholesome. Women relate to her and that’s what we love about her.”
Markinson explained Sole Society, which is funded by the Camuto Group, Nordstrom and Insight Venture Partners, has ambitions to grow an extensive fashion brand fronted by Hough “very similar to the way you see Jessica Simpson” and attract other celebrities to introduce fashion labels in what he described as a “white space” for chic, quality brands targeting young consumers at relatively low entry-level price points for the contemporary segment.
Sole Society already has evidence that its reasonably priced, on-trend positioning has appealed to customers at Nordstrom. The brand’s footwear premiered at three Nordstrom doors in September and is set to expand to 45 doors during the retailer’s first quarter.
The launch of Hough’s Sole Society collection is timed with the release of her movie “Safe Haven,” which is based on the Nicholas Sparks book of the same name and also stars Josh Duhamel. In the movie, which is a departure from the song-and-dance fare that has characterized Hough’s acting career to date, she plays a transplant to a North Carolina town with a mysterious past.
Hough stretches her acting range once again in a movie directed by Diablo Cody that doesn’t have a final name — “Paradise” is a possible title — or a release date. “It is about a Christian evangelist who gets in a plane crash and is burned over two-thirds of her body. She decides to renounce God and church, and goes to Vegas where she plans to sin,” said Hough. “It is dark comedy. It is really funny, but it is also very sweet.”
The exact scheduling of Hough’s expansion from footwear into other fashion categories is yet to be determined, as Sole Society wants to gather and absorb data on her shoe business prior to branching out. However, Markinson stressed the goal is the “development of a fashion brand built on the foundation of shoes that can cross 23 to 33 different lifestyle categories. We have Nordstrom and the Camuto Group to manage that as they have managed it on behalf of celebrities like Jessica Simpson.”
@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)