Italian luxury sneaker brand P448 has been sold to a venture between StreetTrend LLC and Panda Srl.
StreetTrend is a U.S.-based footwear holding company formed in November that is owned by Wayne Kulkin, chief executive officer of the company and former Stuart Weitzman ceo, and Hilco Global, a global investment and financial services firm. The transaction represents the first deal for StreetTrend, scheduled to launch its own luxury sneaker brand PS821 in September. Prior to the acquisition, StreetTrend was the distribution partner for P448 covering North America, the Asia-Pacific region and the U.K. It has a similar agreement for the Meline brand, another Italian sneaker line.
Kulkin will serve as nonexecutive chairman of P448. Paolo Griffo, ceo of Milan-based investment firm Panda Srl, also will become ceo of P448. Marco Simone and Andrea Curtis, founders of P448, will remain with the company and keep an equity stake in the brand. The two will serve as co-creative and design directors. Simone and Curtis launched the business in 2014. The collection is for men, women and children.
According to Griffo, the expansion agenda for P448 includes an e-commerce business and a limited number of experiential stores in the U.S. and Canada next year. He said that the “company will continue to grow by being innovative and executing on our vision of offering a unique Italian spin on shoes that reflect streetwear, including looks that capture the surf, skate and music culture.”
Kulkin said the P448 brand is sold in over 40 countries, mainly in Europe. He said there’s still a long runway for sneaker consumption globally, citing a Bain study that said the total consumption in the sneaker market last year for men was 50 percent and just about 50 percent for women. “The market’s not tapped out,” he said. Kulkin added that because of the different styles available and the comfort factor, choosing to wear a sneaker is a “lifestyle and an expression of one’s individuality.”
Kulkin also noted briefly the difference between P448 and the upcoming PS821 line, which will feature limited-edition runs of about 500 sku’s that will be sold direct-to-consumer. The line will be handcrafted in Italy, and there is a charity aspect where every shoe sold will give 8.21 percent to a charity of the moment. Because the line will ship every six weeks, the charitable organization will also shift at the same time.
Separately, StreetTrend has started Sneakergps, a sister company that is an online portal curated with new, undiscovered brands.
Kulkin said StreetTrend is “looking for any opportunity that could be unique and that ties into our format for new and innovative ideas.” The company is currently “in talks with a brand that is not currently known in the U.S.,” Kulkin added, saying if that acquisition gets done, it’ll likely take some time off from the acquisition trail to focus on building its portfolio.