When Wolverine Worldwide decided to add a women’s collection to its heritage-inspired 1000 Mile label, the 130-year-old men’s boot brand was eager to approach it from a different angle than men’s, and it wasn’t long before Brooklyn-based fashion designer Samantha Pleet made it onto the company’s radar. Known for her whimsical clothing, Wolverine knew Pleet’s mystical-meets-modern design aesthetic would translate perfectly into footwear. Now four seasons in, the latest collection includes five new styles and the design team is already putting together ideas for Spring ’15.
“Samantha has a really good ability to take vintage and period styling but make it modern and hip,” notes Vernon, global product line manager at Wolverine Worldwide, adding, “She brings a beautiful sense of color each season which is something we might not have done without her.” You could say that it’s in Pleet’s blood: Her great-grandmother owned a shoe store in Philadelphia and her grandfather was a cobbler. “I love vintage shoes in general but it isn’t always easy to find ones that fit really well and have a good look for today. I wanted to work with really modern colors and leathers, but still keep that classic shoe feeling, just updated,” Pleet says.
For spring/summer that means festival-ready sandals featuring cutout details, cork and color blocking in a versatile palette of peach, coral, taupe and tan. The Picnic is Pleet’s pick of the bunch: a round-toed suede sandal with side cutouts, an ankle strap and a 2-inch heel reconstructed from a vintage sample she pulled from the Wolverine archives. “It almost feels like a 1920s dance shoe,” she says.
Retailing from $215 to $255, Wolverine 1000 Mile by Samantha Pleet is available at such hipster haunts as American Rag in Los Angeles, The Tannery in Boston and New York’s In God We Trust, and Vernon reveals the sell-through has been remarkable to date. “Each season we get more and more people talking about the ilne,” Vernon says. “We hosted a lot of trunk shows in the beginning where Samantha talked with the consumer about her inspiration and background, and that really helped.”
Pleet admits it’s exciting to see her shoes stocked in some of her favorite boutiques. She adds, “When I take the subway now I see girls in my boots, which is a great feeling”