A Vote For Change

Ever since life after the Great Financial Collapse was dubbed the “new normal” by pundits and adopted by millions of confused and rattled-to-the-core consumers, the sad reality is that there’s little normalcy in this new landscape. It’s so disturbing, perplexing and rapidly changing that if your head is not spinning by now, it might be because you’ve stuck it into the sand.

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Ever since life after the Great Financial Collapse was dubbed the “new normal” by pundits and adopted by millions of confused and rattled-to-the-core consumers, the sad reality is that there’s little normalcy in this new landscape. It’s so disturbing, perplexing and rapidly changing that if your head is not spinning by now, it might be because you’ve stuck it into the sand.

People are scared and looking to leaders for answers. Good luck with that. Where’s our Winston Churchill or FDR when we need them? A JFK would be good right about now. It’s not like there are
any new stars on the visible horizon. And while there are days when President Obama looks as knight-like as he did during his election campaign, there are moments when his inexperience shows, which would be forgivable if it weren’t for those days he appears ensconced in the corrupt system that millions of Americans voted for him to change.

Here’s what scares me the most: That we don’t change because we simply won’t; that a refusal to come together to reach a common good results in the U.S. going belly-up. It’s no longer about the debacle we are creating for our grandkids; we are now in peril of financial ruin in the here and now. We’ve procrastinated to the point of paralysis. And while stalemates and partisan politics are nothing new, the self-destructive and petty levels it has reached are not normal—unless you are a 4-year-old who missed nap time. The bratty intransigence is tiring, even little kids could see that. How about some change we can all believe in here?

This is one instance where our government might want to take a page out of our industry’s playbook. We change constantly—from season to season, year after year. Many of us embrace change, respect it and realize that if we don’t adapt then we likely will go belly-up. We understand that the wants and needs of consumers change. It is our job to keep pace and, in some instances, to answer those changing demands before consumers even realize they have them. That’s called being proactive, which is a word that surely can’t be used to describe our government’s actions of late.

Our latest issue contains plenty of change as a new season is once again upon us. Preview time is change on steroids. I love it when all the trends are being thrown against the wall and we collectively decide which ones may stick. To that end, we’ve featured a bevy of worthy spring looks in our Trend Spotting pages (beginning on p. 24). And our feature fashion story (p. 50), shot on location on New York’s Fire Island, served as the ideal backdrop for bringing out the many natural materials and spicy colors that look to be so prominent this spring.

There’s plenty more good stuff inside, including our latest Little Steps kids’ look book as well as our annual update on Soles4Souls, whose mantra of “Changing the world one pair at a time” is leading by example. CEO Wayne Elsey and his dedicated team are relentless in their efforts to change the world—for the better—with the simple gift of shoes. Bravo!

Last but not least, I hope you enjoy our change of pace with the enclosed Bearpaw Style custom publication. The teen-themed format speaks to the 10-year-old brand’s young, irreverent fashion-loving audience and reflects a company that doesn’t take itself too seriously.

I hope you enjoy reading all of this issue as much as we enjoyed creating it. In that sense, some things never change.

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