Ex Stuart Weitzman CEO launches luxury sneaker business
Former Stuart Weitzman CEO Wayne Kulkin has launched a new brand to take advantage of the fast-growing luxury sneaker category.
StreetTrend is a partnership between Kulkin and Hilco Global, which is better known in retail circles for managing the liquidation of failed retail businesses, including HMV, Blockbuster and Linens N Things.
Kulkin says he is confident that luxury sneakers is a trend with staying power. “Consumers are passionate about the growing trend of wearing sneakers in all settings – from the gym to the office, from the park to the bar,” he says.
“The demand for multiple pairs of shoes is a natural extension of the shift to casual dress at the workplace. People want to make a statement about their personal style from head to toe.”
Kulkin founded the company early this year, working at first on developing product designs
“I’ve been a sneakerhead since I was a teenager. Anyone who’s ever met me will tell you that I am always in sneakers, whether it’s with a suit, jeans, or sweatpants.”
The first products are expected to ship to luxury retail stores in North America and Europe, including Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Shopbop and The Shoebox NYC, in Spring/Summer 2018.
StreetTrend will manufacture its shoes in Italy and retail them under three brands: p448, Meline, and P.S.821.
“StreetTrend LLC will design and market Italian-made luxury sneakers that are fresh and innovative,” says Kulkin. “The entire collection is made with the finest materials and handcrafted in Italy. Our goal is to completely exceed consumer expectations on style, comfort, and fit, all at a democratic price point.”
Kulkin will leverage his deep industry experience in marketing, supply chain and global consumer trends as CEO of the new venture.
“I’m excited to build something from the ground up. I love the power of ideas and the creative process, and I’m certain we’re tapping into a very exciting consumer need for sneakers that look and feel fantastic.”
Kulkin spent more than 20 years at Stuart Weitzman and served as its CEO both before and after the company’s acquisition by Coach, (now Tapestry). He started his shoe career as a buyer at Nordstrom, and has been involved with every aspect of the footwear industry over his career.
Hilco Global’s activities are not restricted to dissolving businesses. The company has invested in many fashion and consumer brands in the past, including Polaroid, Halston, Haute Hippie, Madaluxe Eyewear, Le Tigre, Caribbean Joe, Ellen Tracy and Altec Lansing.