NEWS Start-Rite is also cooking up something for the big and promising Indian
market, where some of its shoes are manufactured as well. Meanwhile, it is going ahead with a separate licensing deal for the Middle East that was struck last year with an Indian-based retail conglomerate, Landmark. Under this agreement many of Landmark’s Shoemart stores in Dubai, Kuwait and other parts of the Middle East are carrying specially designed children’s shoes under the Start-Rite trade market on an exclusive basis. The British company already has a licensing deal in place in Australia
since three years ago for school shoes in multiples widths, similar to those for the British market, where schools require uniforms for students as well. Start-Rite, like Clarks, no longer has any production in the UK. Excluding
licenses, its second-largest market is France, where its classical range is sold in more than 200 stores. It also sells in Russia and other markets. The US market is handled by Marian Fontana, who recently changed her status from distributor to agent as the company was able to find a shipper that could deliver its shoes to US retailers from its distribution centre in the UK, within a couple of days, handling customs clearance and the rest of the paperwork. The latest figures, which related to 2009, show that Start-Rite generated
sales of £16.6 million in the UK, £1.1 million in the rest of the EU and about £500,000 in the rest of the world, but this doesn’t include its licensing deals.
Footwear industry figures support Royal College of Art Design talent
Dune Executive Chairman Daniel Rubin, Schuh CEO Colin Temple, and
Richard Paice, Past President of Footwear Friends have awarded a new scholarship to the Royal College of Art Fashion Footwear Course. First prize recipient Victoria Spruce and second prize recipient Sang Min
Park are second year Masters students specializing in women’s fashion footwear at the RCA. Both recipients voiced their appreciation for the scholarship. Spruce
said, “I can now use rapid prototyping to create 3D images of my intricate designs. Previously, I was only able to use this costly tool for the heel of a shoe.” Similarly, Park stated, “I make samples of the same designs again and again, so I need a lot of material for mock-ups. The scholarship money has allowed me to purchase and try new materials, like rubber.” Professor Wendy Dagworthy OBE, Head of Fashion at the RCA said: “Footwear design is an important specialism within the world of fashion
‘Welcome’ to the Jambo!
but it is often overlooked by industry in terms of helping new designers. This scholarship is very much welcomed, the financial assistance will not only help support these students but may also help to secure the future of footwear design in the UK.” Spruce and Park are currently working on their final collections for the
2011 RCA graduate fashion show which is open to press and trade on 2 June. Spruce described her plans as “very experimental and based around sculpture,” while Park is playing with “the natural characteristics of materials, such as the flexibility of leather.” RCA graduate Chau Har Lee successfully established her own line of
inventive footwear after receiving the footwear scholarship in 2008. Her designs are now available in Selfridge’s Shoe Galleries. The RCA offers a Footwear specialism within the Fashion MA programme.
Recent alumni of the course who have established their own successful footwear brands include Georgina Goodman, Julia Lundsten and Camilla Skovgaard.
Sunshine Boosts Spring Sales The recent burst of sunshine across the country has been a welcome
With 15 years of expertise in wellness footwear, MBT is the original and most innovative brand in this category.
In addition to the Spring Summer
2011 premium collection, offering the best in comfort and performance, it has recently launched Jambo, a casual introductory line to the MBT’s world of balance and motion. Meaning ‘welcome’ in Swahili, the Jambo is a stylish take on the iconic
all-American sneaker. This new line offers an introduction to the MBT way of walking - a taster of the MBT experience of ultimate comfort. With an encapsulated Masai sensor inside the midsole, this innovation in sole technology provides a reduced level of instability for beginners as well as a slimmer, curved sole for added consumer appeal. An increased automation in the Jambo’s sole construction allows a more affordable price point, with RRP at £125. Practical for Spring Summer, the Jambo will be available in stores from
May in canvas fabric with suede detailing for both men and women in classic black, grey and military, and on-trend navy and red colourways. An alternative in sleek nylon is available for the Fall Winter season in a choice of brown or dark blue for men, and brown or dark grey for ladies.
6 • FOOTWEAR TODAY •MAY 2011
boost to fashion retailers by kick starting the sales of some of this spring’s key trends. According to a report from Moda, retailers have noticed an increase in sales of floral prints and linen and cotton fabrics, as temperatures have risen in the last few weeks and consumers make the most of the sunny weather. “Business has been buoyant and there is a positive mood with shoppers.
The spring collections are strong which also helps with a plethora of colour,” says Rebecca Furbank, director at Anne Furbank. Bright floral prints, linens and 70’s inspired styles are all hot this spring
and sales of these items have been particularly boosted in recent weeks due to the improved weather. “Sunshine puts everyone in a happy mood and in the mood to buy,” says
Sarah Handley, owner of womenswear retailer Sez, with stores in Bromyard and Ledbury, Herefordshire. “Lighter colours, cotton jerseys and linens are all selling well due to the weather.” Esther McAllister, co-owner of Style Clinic in Liverpool, has also seen a
rise in sales of some of the hottest trends this spring. “We’ve bought into lots of prints and neons and invested in the 70’s look, which is going to be big this season,” said Esther. “We always have a great s/s season as our customers naturally like colour.” According to the CBI, 42% of retailers saw a rise in sales volumes in March, with fashion being the best-performing category.
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