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Interview: Whats actually going on at Supra Footwear

Time:2018-01-13 05:04Shoes websites Click:

Footwear going supra Interview Whats

The past few seasons have been rather quiet at the US skate and sneaker brand Supra Footwear. But this is about to change thanks to new manpower, revised collections and new collaborations. In April 2017 the company, which belongs to K-Swiss Global Brands, welcomed experienced product designer Kara Duffy onboard. Steve Harden assumed the role of brand president and in November Sascha Weil was announced as new brand director EMEA. Together with the whole team they want to reposition Supra in Europe and the States. Here, Weil and Duffy tell us what they are planning to do and what steps they have already taken.

Sascha Weil

Photo: Sascha Weil

Sascha Weil

In recent years it has been very quiet around Supra. Especially in Europe, the brand was no longer visible. How relevant is the brand at present? How many stores does the brand currently serve in Europe? And how is the brand positioned in the remaining markets?

Sacha Weil: At the moment, we have around 250 retail partners with 400 doors in Europe. Without a doubt, it’s a challenging time right now. You are correct, it has been too quiet the past seasons and the product wasn’t exciting enough. Thus, performance at this moment isn’t at the level yet we want it to be, but changes in product design, marketing and organization have been set in motion already but won’t be visible just yet. Take our collections for instance. Our fall ’18 footwear and apparel range clearly shows a fresh, daring, up-trend design the market used to see from Supra in its heyday. Back then we were renowned for our different designs, recognized by many influencers that were running away with our shoes. We were the mavericks in the footwear business that carved our own path and consumers pulled the brand. That is where we want to be at again, and with product in the lead, marketing, sales and our partners will contribute their share. But it won’t be until spring ’19 until all pieces fall into place and Supra will be back 100%. What we experience now are retailers that are still so much in love with our brand that they believe in us. They want us to succeed and that motivates us even more to come back even stronger. Our loyal retailers will be rewarded for their patience and we are helping where we can. It feels like a true partnership now and we are all anticipating the fall ’18 sell-through seasons and beyond.

Black + White at Supra Footwear

Photo: Chester Bouwman

Black + White at Supra Footwear

How the will the European comeback be achieved? In which stores do you want to place Supra? Which marketing strategy do you follow? 

SW: We originated from skate, and that is where we will always be. Skate stores around the world are our primary target and a substantial portion of our marketing budget is invested in team, events and grassroots skateboarding. At the same time, the trend-right and trend-forward sneaker store is where Supra should be found. With a determined vision of not blending in, never to compromise and always go for our own beliefs, our product is different by nature. We want to stick out and the retailer is longing for some freshness in store. Of course we are not shy from making money, but we go back to where we are from–the streets of Los Angeles–and translate that into our products, instead of following the mass trends. We are fortunate to come from a place where many trends are ignited and therefore we can be at the forefront of it. Our marketing teams work hard every day to convey that message in mainly online brand activation and through influencers. Supra targets the younger generation, 14- to 24-year-olds, and they are the key opinion leaders for many things. We know how to find them and how to truly cherish our brand, as at their age, they create their own identity and value brands who actually have their own identity. We started reigniting that target group just a few months ago, and it’s paying off for us already. We will continue to activate and support sales and the brand by doing so.

In the USA, Kara Duffy works as a product manager on the designs. Which collection, price ranges etc. are you going to start with?

SW: Kara is a tremendous asset to the brand. She supervises all collections, from footwear to apparel, from men to women and kids. As said, her first signature will be in the fall ’18 collection, but the really, really good stuff will be presented for spring ’19. Not only is the footwear collection out of this world, but also a cut & sew apparel collection looks mind-blowing. The whole package (footwear & apparel) is a fantastic unity and has a very clear Supra DNA all over it. Think of trend-forward, LA-styled streetwear, with a sniff of skate culture and a flavor of Southern California all over it and you will have the right picture. The footwear price range will be €59 to €149 for adults, apparel starts from just under €30 for a trendy tee to around €120 for a jacket. We want to be affordable yet premium in quality and design.

Animal Prints at Supra Footwear

Photo: Chester Bouwman

Animal Prints at Supra Footwear

What trade fairs will Supra attend?

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