With the rise in popularity of American heritage brands, Woolrich’s recent announcement to partner with Portland Product Werks to create a shoe collection sounds promising. Debuting for Fall 2014 and launching first at FFANY trade show in NY in December, followed by Outdoor Retailer in January and Project in Vegas in February, Woolrich’s shoe collection is already catching significant buzz.
“Woolrich is the iconic American heritage brand–and a walk through its woolen mill in Woolrich, Pennsylvania is like stepping back in time,” says Creative Director Carl Blakeslee (who was a former creative director at Nike). “It’s this sentiment that inspired us to create a footwear collection filled with hand-crafted, innovative details that have a heritage authenticity that we felt was lacking in the market. The motto we used to guide the creative process is ‘make it worth making.’”
Sean Beers, the CEO of Portland Product Werks, originally revived Korkers 3 years ago taking the 50-year-old boot brand into a profitable business. Now, he’s acquired the license to make an iconic Woolrich footwear collection which will feature of course its Made in America roots, and symbolic Woolrich touches such as wool fabrics, plaids, and checks.
Beers says they are focusing on getting the Woolrich collection into key boutiques and retailers and have set-up a national sales rep in Chicago along with an 8-person team in Portland.
Americana trends have not let up in the past 3 years and if anything, are gaining strength especially in streetwear. In addition, retailers from Japan are pushing for Americana and it’s catching on in China and various European markets as well. For Woolrich, the timing for breaking into the competitive landscape of footwear, could be right on.