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.

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