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Three is­sues the in­dus­try will keep its eyes on in 2019. By Sheena But­ler-Young and Madeleine Streets

Footwear News - - INSIDER -

THE SUS­TAIN­ABIL­ITY CON­NEC­TION

For sev­eral years, brands like All­birds and Brother Vel­lies — which made sus­tain­abil­ity a part of their mis­sion from the start — have en­joyed marked suc­cess. But mo­men­tum among fash­ion and footwear play­ers to be more eco­con­scious re­ceived its sec­ond wind in 2018, with big names in­clud­ing Gucci, DVF, Coach, Michael Kors and Donna Karan all tak­ing the pledge to ditch fur. Fear around global warm­ing and a need to please Gen Z and mil­len­nial cus­tomers’ de­mand for so­cial re­spon­si­bil­ity will likely drive more fash­ion brands to place a height­ened em­pha­sis on be­ing ecofriendly in the new year.

A PER­MA­NENT HOME FOR TEM­PO­RARY SPA­CES

Pop-up stores con­tin­ued to thrive in 2018 as brands sought to cre­ate phys­i­cal in­ter­ac­tions with con­sumers mi­nus the strain of a 10-year lease. These stores dou­ble as pub­lic­ity and as a test­ing ground for per­ma­nent lo­ca­tions, with brands able to sam­ple neigh­bor­hoods and for­mats. In 2019, more pop-ups are ex­pected to turn per­ma­nent as land­lords look to con­vert short-term leases to long-term, while re­tail con­cepts that house a re­volv­ing suite of pop-ups will pro­vide homes for the more ex­per­i­men­tal in­stal­la­tions.

RAMP­ING UP SO­CIAL

Me­gare­tail­ers such as Wal­mart and Dick’s Sport­ing Goods stepped deeper into pol­i­tics this year, with both firms tak­ing a pub­lic stance on gun con­trol fol­low­ing the high school shoot­ing in Park­land, Fla., in Fe­bru­ary. Toms founder Blake My­coskie also joined the con­ver­sa­tion, vow­ing last month that his com­pany will put con­sid­er­able fi­nan­cial back­ing be­hind end­ing gun vi­o­lence. In ad­di­tion to Nike throw­ing sup­port be­hind Colin Kaeper­nick, whose an­themkneel­ing was per­ceived as hav­ing a po­lit­i­cal con­nec­tion to the first amend­ment, its CEO in Oc­to­ber took a pub­lic stance against the re­peal of a 30-year-old Ore­gon law that lim­its the use of state and lo­cal law en­force­ment re­sources to en­force fed­eral im­mi­gra­tion laws. Sim­i­lar to sus­tain­abil­ity, as younger con­sumers con­tinue to de­mand ac­tivism from brands, 2019 will likely see more firms sup­port­ing so­cial causes.

Coach spring ‘19 col­lec­tion

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