By guest author Katie Abel from Footwear News
Almost two years after being acquired by chemical giant Ineos, British heritage brand Belstaff is upping its focus on footwear under a new partnership with Aldo Group.
The label is in the midst of a major overhaul under CEO Helen Wright, who said that now is the time to have a richer footwear offering as the brand expands its global reach.
“We’ve been looking at broadening our category offering,” Wright said, adding that Belstaff is known for its quality, craftsmanship and attention to detail. “We’ve done a small selection of shoes in-house, but we felt it was time to devote more effort and expertise to [the category]. We needed the right partner.”
Enter Aldo. The Canadian powerhouse, which has been diversifying its portfolio this year through licensing deals with Rachel Zoe and Who What Wear, among others, was a natural partner for Belstaff, according to Wright.
“Like all good partnerships, we connected because of a shared passion for the brand. The leadership at Aldo Group and Aldo Product Services is utterly invested in the project because they love the brand, they like the heritage and the storytelling comes very naturally,” Wright said.
Jonathan Frankel, SVP of Aldo Product Services, said the team has the “highest amount of respect” for Belstaff and plans to develop footwear for retail, e-commerce and wholesale. The two teams have already spent time together in both London and Canada to develop the collection, which launches for fall ’20. “The brand has the authenticity and credibility to become a significant force in both the premium and luxury space, and we are delighted to partner with them to make it happen,” Frankel said.
Moving forward, Aldo plans to build a licensing portfolio of 12 to 14 brands with distinct propositions. “We’re just at the beginning of this journey,” Frankel said. “We have teams of product designers, technical engineers, sourcing experts, trend analysts who each work on specific brands.” Aldo has a presence in more than 100 countries.
For its part, Belstaff also is on the expansion trail. The brand will open a store in New York’s Meatpacking District next year and Wright said there’s big potential in Canada as well as Western Europe, in addition to its home market in the United Kingdom.
“We’ve worked on every single facet of the business,” Wright said. “We’re poised for the careful growth this brand deserves.”