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.”
“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
"Nowadays when life is not so happy with everything going on in the world, I think people come to me for a little bit of whimsy and color and fun." - Designer Rebecca De Ravenel on her cult-favorite jewelry line. (📸 : @vsteves) #wwd40
“Everyone is talking about how the retail industry is struggling, but I think it’s an incredible time because brands who are doing something different and innovative are setting themselves up for the future,” said @adamgoldston, who founded the luxury athletic brand @apl with his brother @ryangoldsten. The Goldston’s are part of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables. See the rest of the list on WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
@eyeswoon blogger Athena Calderone debuted her first-ever cookbook, “Cook Beautiful,” which is heavily centered on the presentation and visual expression of food. Pictured here are her miso glazed carrots from the book. Get the recipe on WWD.com. (📷: @johnny_miller_) #wwdeye