Summer is the time for Sperry

Flashback to the 1980s and what were most preppy guys of the time wearing on their footsies…….Sperry Top-Siders, in brown leather only with no socks and worn with shorts and jeans, they were definitely the casual shoe of choice for most guys I knew, when they wanted a  “step up” from their sneakers! There were the die-hards that continued with them well into the next decade and beyond but as a rule by the 2000s, this classic brand knew it needed to do some things differently to remain relevant to the modern culture changes for men AND they needed to attract the women.  So a transformation began.

They are back now and are having their “high fashion moment” as you can see.  This renaissance began in the late 2000s when high profile designers were looking for classic brands to add a playful and even edgy look to the runways. Craig Reingold arrived in 2001 as President to rebuild the brand, making it not only a shoe associated with weekend nautical wear but to an aspirational fashion brand that could be worn year round and went after the gals by greatly expanding their fashion offering and even bringing in its first women’s only designer.

So, it’s happened, Sperry has become a lifestyle brand, featured at Neiman Marcus, Macy’s, Nordstrom and other fine stores, that adapts to the newest trends and styles.  Their look is much more modern and appeals to a younger customer (who can’t even relate to the brand of the 1980s) and offers newness and fashion excitement across all generations and genders.  They have differentiated themselves by collaborating with other designers while rebuilding and retaining the strengths of their heritage brand through a fresh approach.  The end result, a look has been created that appeals to both the “hipsters and the prepsters.”

It was the partnership in 2008 with California-based Band of Outsiders and endorsements such as from Jeffry’s, the hip NYC meat packing-based retailer, that really got them headed in the fashion direction and elevated their stature with the trend-savvy consumers.  Since then they have collaborated with other designers, most recently, with the designer collection, Milly, and through the use of different colors, fabrications like they had never attempted before and even the expansion of styling that includes sandals and high heels…..a fashion brand has been born!

According to Sperry President, Reingold, the sky is the limit.  Other categories of product such as belts, swimsuits, eye wear, scarves and hosiery are being planned for Spring 2013 and are looking into retail of their own as an option.

Made in the U.S.A.

Once a source of pride and patriotism, the label, “Made in America” on clothing has become harder to find in recent years.

Buying clothing made in the USA can be good for the consumer’s conscience as the money for the clothing is used for American workers and goods.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) defines Made in USA as products that are, “all or virtually all,” made within the country. By definition, “all” or “virtually all,” means that all significant parts and processing that go into production must be of U.S. origin.

Here are some made in America brands you may have not been aware of.

Dickies – A clothing line started by two cousins in 1922, Dickies used tough twill fabric to create clothing for factory workers and farmers. Today, Dickies continues to create clothing out of tougher material at an affordable price.

Brook’s Leather – Made both here in Michigan and Massachusetts, Brook’s Leather is a manufacturer of leather jackets and motorcycle apparel.

Brooks Brothers – The complete opposite of Brook’s Leather, Brook’s Brothers is an American company known for hand-stitched suits. Brooks Brothers has a long history of dressing presidents, including Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy.

New Balance – Finding shoes made in America may be tougher than finding pants or shirts made in this country. New Balance is a Boston, Mass. based shoe company that predominately creates athletic shoes.

Red Wing – We may instantly think of our beloved hockey team when we hear Red Wing but did you know it’s also the name of a Minnesota shoe brand? Red Wing Shoes are renowned for their high-quality work boots.

Thorogood Boots – A newcomer to the scene, this boot company proudly adorns the US flag right on their box.

SAS – San Antonio Shoe Company

Schott NYC – 100% American Leather

Levi’s

While it’s true that a majority of their products are made overseas, Levi’s features a line of “Made in the USA” clothing. Consumers pay a hefty price for Levi’s clothing that is still made state side, as some of the jeans and jackets cost more than $100.

L.L. Bean

Founded by an outdoorsman, Maine based L.L. Bean is known for making hunting and fishing apparel. Like Levi’s, L.L. Bean features products both made in the U.S. and globally. Boots, belts, tote bags and hunting shoes from L.L. Bean are still made in America.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN?

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) defines made in America products as, “all significant parts, processing and labor that go into the product must be of U.S. origin.” According to FTC officials, there’s no law that requires manufacturers and marketers of most products to disclose U.S. content. In fact, except for automobiles and textile and wool products, it’s a manufacturer or advertiser’s choice to say whether a product is domestic. But those who choose to make the claim must adhere to the “all or virtually all” standard.

Summer Trend: Ankle Straps

Diane von Furstenberg showed us feminine heels with dainty ankle straps, a trend echoed among several other designers this spring. Delicate, polished and totally elegant, we can’t get enough of this footwear feature. Make these chic almond-toe flats with a slim ankle strap your go-to, go-with-anything spring shoe.

Shearling: The trend towards comfort.

For comfort vendors, shearling is a natural way to add luxurious touches to everything from casual ankle boots to sophisticated wedge designs this fall. Check around the city and you’ll see everyone veering away from heels, towards sophisticated-comfort. Come on in this week and we’ll get you fitted for comfort and style.