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April/May 2012

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  • Sugar Rush: A new breed of rain boot silhouettes and an assortment of mouthwatering hues keep women coming back for more. Photography by Jason Hindley
  • The Hills: The tony Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills serves as a style walk of fame for fashion A-listers. By Gary Moss
  • Faux Finish: Designers trick the eye with trompe l’oeil motifs.
  • Bird Calls: A flock of feather-embellished dress styles flutter into fashion this fall.
  • Born In The USA: As Chinese labor shortages continue to be a source of woe and materials and shipping costs skyrocket, a growing number of manufacturers are bringing production back home, answering both logistical needs and an increasing demand for made-in-the-U.S.A. merchandise. By Lyndsay McGregor
  • One of a Kind – Joe Salzano: If you haven’t by now actually heard Joe Salzano speak, it’s a good bet you have heard of his passionate message about the art of shoe retailing. A career that now spans more than five decades, the vice president of sales for The Clarks Companies, N.A. continues to crisscross the country delivering his inspirational wisdom and leaving an indelible imprint on the footwear industry. By Greg Dutter | Illustrations by Ben Marra
  • Chew on This: John McCarvel, CEO of Crocs, reveals how the brand has bounced back—bigger than ever at $1 billion in annual sales in 2011—and why the projection to double that hefty sales volume is in reach within five years. By Greg Dutter Few brands trigger a stronger reaction than Crocs. A mere mention of the purveyor of those foam-like clogs in garish colors sends fashion bullies into a tizzy. They’re loud. They’re puffy. They’re goofy. And, many are convinced, they’re downright fugly.
  • The People You Meet: Life is a journey where the people you meet are collected along the way, forming a long reel of characters that increases as the years go by. Some play starring roles for decades; others are those select few whom you meet once but never forget. There are far more who come in and out of your life like cameos and eventually fade into a cast of thousands of faceless extras.

March 2012

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  • Earthen Ware: Trends - March 2012
  • Chic Week: Attendees at New York Fashion Week brought their A-game. By Melodie Jeng
  • Chukka On: Rich textures and a dip of color refreshes the men’s staple for fall.
  • The American Dream: Refined and reserved, fall styles reflect a bygone era.
  • 2011 Plus Awards Winners: Innovative design and a commitment to superior service are synonymous qualities of this year’s Plus Award winners for excellence in design and retail.
  • Show Time!: fall trends, show vibes and industry buzz
  • Happy Days: Luke Chen, COO of Alegria, discusses how the comfort brand’s happy premise is delivering smiles and sales to its expanding base of retailers and creating millions of loyal, elated consumers along the way. By Greg Dutter
  • Primary Colors: Our country’s primary colors are red, white and blue. Our two major political parties’ primary colors are red (Republicans) and blue (Democrats) and, for too long, there’s been zero mixing of the two. The primary colors of our industry, year in and year out, are black and brown. However, some primary colors for Fall ’12 look to be jewel tones, such as burgundy, saffron and emerald. The primary color of presidential hopeful Mitt Romney is—well, if milquetoast is a color, then I’d vote for that. The primary color of Newt Gingrich is muddy.

February 2012

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  • Check, Please: Trends - February 2012
  • Pop Life: Timeless charm is buoyed by fall's quirky details and color combos
  • Thinking Outside the Box: Four successful retailers—a bike shop, a cupcake boutique, a coffee house and an art store—offer universal insights on how they are thriving in the borderless, digital retail age by thinking locally. By Lyndsay McGregor hat can a footwear retailer learn from a tasty cupcake boutique in Colorado or a snazzy bike shop in Connecticut? How about from a trendy coffee shop in Texas or a boutique art store in Indiana? The short answer: A whole lot.
  • Fine China?: Battered by escalating costs and worker shortages, footwear manufacturers brace for a tough year ahead in the People’s Republic—and begin to look elsewhere for sourcing. By Audrey Goodson
  • Lift Off: Bob Infantino: Bob Infantino, president of Drydock Footwear, makers of Aravon, Dunham and the new Cobb Hill, reveals how the company came into being and why it will be a comfort-based powerhouse right off the launch pad. By Greg Dutter
  • Neigh York: Equestrian-themed boots are in full gallop on the streets of Manhattan this winter.
  • Lace Makers: Fall dress styles are laced with peeks of satin and head-turning heels.
  • Stuff Happens: IF THE POPULARITY of certain TV shows is a strong indication of what Americans are really interested in, then recent cable ratings say a whole lot about what the country is really into right now. It boils down to one word: stuff. Be it old stuff, forgotten stuff, antique stuff, junky stuff, possibly valuable stuff, icky stuff, some really big stuff and, ultimately, what to do with all that stuff. Our country is awash in a sea of stuff. Why else would reality shows like American Pickers, Pawn Stars and Storage Wars consistently rank in the top 10, week after week?

January 2012

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  • A New Breed: Led by the successful relaunch of the iconic Pillow Boot, Steve Sedlbauer, president of Cougar Footwear, discusses how the classic cold-weather boot company’s rebirth into a stylish, upscale lifestyle brand is heating up. By Greg Dutter
  • Rock Steady: Despite tough economic obstacles, the outdoor category continues its consistent growth trajectory, delivering what consumers increasingly desire: versatile, minimal and fashionable shoes suitable for a rugged hike or a walk in the park. By Mary Avant
  • Encore Performance: Despite unseasonably warm weather that made sales more challenging, manufacturers are setting the stage for another blockbuster boot season next fall with added styles and features. By Audrey Goodson
  • Classic Boots: From tough biker and rugged western styles to comfy knits and rich shades of plum, the Fall’ ’12 boots preview offers an array of classic options.
  • Going Native: Southwestern flair spices up fall boots.
  • We Salute You: Military-inspired coats and jackets have been called into active duty to combat winter’s chill.
  • Wood Stock: After seasons of burnin’ rubber, designers go against the grain with wood-sole boots.
  • Standing Tall: The work boot. The cowboy boot. The go-go boot. The sheepskin boot. The logger boot. The biker boot. The riding boot, the desert boot and the all-theway-to-the-moon boot. The rock star of footwear silhouettes is undoubtedly the boot, especially when you throw in the Beatle boot and the classic 1460 by Dr. Martens—the standard uniform of punk and heavy metal bands for decades.

December 2011

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  • Leisure Class: The preppy staple earns street-cred with wild color, prints and sparkle.
  • Hot Lunch: Spring's designer dress styles meet the cafeteria.
  • Pre-occupied: Protesting might be the new black, but that doesn't mean it's wearing well.
  • Caped Crusaders: Not just for superheroes anymore, the chic, versatile cape has made a sweeping comeback this season. By Dorothy Hong
  • It’s a Nice Day for a Bright Wedding: Something blue, coral, purple, pink and red—modern brides say "I do" to color.
  • No Kidding Around: Times are tough, yet Bill LaRossa, president of Primigi USA, believes sticking to the guiding principles that have built the luxury kids' brand into a category leader will enable the company to weather the storm.
  • Stock Options: Get 'em while they're hot: These styles are in stock and ready to land on store shelves within the next 60 days.
  • Keeping up with the Big Dogs: With the Internet poised to become the holiday's most popular shopping destination, independent retailers are finding creative ways to compete with Zappos and Shoebuy.

October/November 2011

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  • Fighting the Good Fight: The footwear industry unites to support Breast Cancer Awareness month.
  • Who Says You Can’t Go Home?: A New Orleans native ditches the Big Apple for the Big Easy and helps rebuild her family's shoe stores after Hurricane Katrina.
  • Bases Loaded: Larry Schwartz, CEO of Aetrex Worldwide, discusses how the company's vertically integrated approach—spanning shoes to orthotics to foot scanning devices—is knocking it out of the park.
  • Booting Up: As temperatures drop, stylish New Yorkers are pulling up their boots—once again the fashion statement of the season. By Dorothy Hong
  • Roll Your Own: Men's comfort aces a street-smart attitude.
  • Charting New Territory: He who hesitates is lost. Many a footwear company has fallen victim to the aforementioned phrase, which can also fall under the guise of resting on one's laurels or getting soft. And then there are those companies that reach a certain girth and become too big to move. The nimble nature that brought them to the forefront is replaced by a big-business mentality that is counterproductive—and demoralizing—to the entrepreneurs that got the company off the ground.
  • Royal Highness: Rich, spicy colors reign supreme for spring.
  • Quiet Giant: The classic monk strap resurfaces for spring.

September 2011

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  • Show Times: The latest traffic and trend reports out of ENKWSA, FFANY, OR, TASM and FN Platform.
  • A Well-Respected Man: Post Metrosexual and Retrosexual revolutions, today's male seeks a refined balance as a legion of classic brands and up-and-comers answer the call.
  • Running Man: An artisan at heart and a salesman by trade, Trevor Delmore, vice president of sales for Coogi Footwear, discusses his passion for selling cutting-edge street fashion and why the pursuit never gets old.
  • Ladies and Gentlemen: Breaking tradition, Spring '12 lace-ups sport rich color with burnished and distressed treatments.
  • Pedal Pushers: It's economical, eco-friendly and just plain fun: New Yorkers are hopping on their bikes to get around town in style. No Spandex, please.
  • Ten Years After: Remembering 9/11
  • Dream Weavers: Woven details and soft colors enter southwest territory for men and women this spring.
  • Far Out: Big, bold and full of sole, the flatform dominates the season.

August 2011

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  • The Devil Inside: Smart preventative measures can keep employee theft from hurting your store's bottom line.
  • The Real Jersey Shore: Forget Snooki, self-tanner and over-gelled wannabe Romeos. Despite what MTV may say, for these footwear retailers, the real Jersey Shore is full of locals who flock to the coast for sun, sports and style.
  • American Accent: Rob Rask, managing director of Ara Shoes North America, reveals why the German-based Euro comfort company—already a major player around the world—is positioned to take the country by storm.
  • Block Party: Designers color inside the lines.
  • Arm Candy: Big and many: Stacked bangles make a bold statement and contrast well with barely-there summer shoe styles.
  • 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.
  • Kiss the Sky: Rich leathers, earthy textures and a blend of sun-washed and vibrant colors sets spring '12 aglow.
  • Opposites Attract: The chic color scheme makes a strong statement for spring.

July 2011

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  • Shopping Goes Social: Facebook is poised to become a booming online marketplace. Follow these top tips from social-marketing pros to set up shop and start cashing in.
  • Baring It All: The minimalist running category is red hot with emerging brands, fresh designs and new claims related to the concept's approach to the age-old exercise of running. The latest market analysis and Spring '12 products are sure to keep the buzz going.
  • Revolutionary Times: Angel Martinez, chairman and CEO of Deckers Outdoor, on the company's evolving portfolio and its place in the revolutionary worlds of social media, sourcing and emerging brands.
  • Hamptons Chic: Casual sandals top the packing list of city dwellers summering in the Hamptons.
  • Turning the Tables: I'm the one who asks the questions. For more than 20 years as a working journalist, I've been the interviewer and, with respect to my tenure at Footwear Plus, it's been in search for answers to help readers better understand the latest goings-on in our industry as well as to get to know the people behind the brands and storefronts. The selling of shoes is a people business, and learning about the individuals can only be of help. Beyond that, it's fascinating to learn where people come from—literally and figuratively.
  • Sweet: Feminine silhouettes and tranquil hues lend a breath of fresh air to spring '12 sneakers.
  • Mr. Sandman: Designers dust off classic kicks with leather and preppy details.
  • Pinkalicious: Bubblegum shades add a pop of color for Spring '12.

June 2011

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  • You Heard It Here First: Next spring's leading trends revealed.
  • Steely Determination: The story of how Reyers, "the world's largest shoe store," withstood the test of time—for 125 years and counting.
  • Triple Play: With a three-brand approach spanning the wellness, comfort and fashion markets, Gary Champion, president of Earth, has the company's bases covered and positioned for rapid growth.
  • Male Pattern Boldness: Loud prints take root on men's styles this fall.
  • Kidding Around: Big Apple kids bring spring to life with animal prints, colorful stripes and funky shoes.
  • Revisiting the Classics: What's Old Is New
  • Catch the Color Wave: A hint of shimmer and scaling heights enliven the latest color-soaked dress styles. Photography by Alexandra Carr.
  • Saddle Up: Color and texture distinguish the plain-toe shoe.
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