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Antwerp shoe destination Coccodrillo is closing its doors after 36 years cheap Yeezy 700 , marking the latest independent multibrand retailer to shut as consumers shift to new shopping habits.The Belgian boutique, founded in 1983 by partners Geert Bruloot and Eddy Michiels, helped launch local designers such as Martin Margiela andRaf Simons, in addition to supporting young talent by creating an annual shoe award for fashion students at the local Royal Academy of Fine Arts.“Fashion has been in a state of flux due to overproduction and radically different luxury consumption patterns during recent years. Fueled by a year-round discount and sales culture, consumers have shifted their attention to new priorities like art and leisure, which ultimately impacted the viability of our multibrand boutique,” Bruloot said in a statement.Increased competition from online retailers such as Amazon and Zalando is threatening the survival of leading concept boutiques. LandmarkParis concept store Colette closed in 2017after 20 years in business, while London boutiqueBrowns was snapped up in 2015 by fashion retail platform, which turned it into a retail incubator.“We’ll miss Coccodrillo greatly, but we have decided to move on and look very much forward to new ventures in and beyond the world of creativity,” Bruloot said. “We’re eager to expand our horizons and are already working on next steps beyond fashion to art, design, multimedia and all-round creative ways of living.”Historically located on Schuttershofstraat, the main boutique moved in 2017 into a 2,700-square-foot flagship store in the Arenbergstraat, designed by Glenn Sestig. The brand said prolonged roadwork and infrastructure development had made it difficult for customers to reach the store.“Combined with the big changes in fashion and retail, the full potential of this new project was impacted,” it said.The store sold established brands such asPrada cheap Yeezy 500 , Balenciaga, Saint Laurent, Sergio Rossi, Chloé, Gucci, Dries Van Noten and Church’s, and its window displays have featured exclusive designs by the likes ofNicholas Kirkwood, Simone Rocha,Tabitha Simmonsand Simon Porte Jacquemus.Winners of the annual Coccodrillo Award, founded in 1998, include Demna Gvasalia and Shone Puipia, who went on to co-found footwear label Adult. Bruloot and Michiels also donated designer hats and shoes to the MoMu Fashion Museum, many of which were featured in the “Footprint” exhibition co-curated by Bruloot in 2016.This story was reported by WWD and originally appeared on Bruce Katz can’t seem to shake the shoe business. The co-founder of The Rockport Co., who sold the business to Reebok in 1986, is finding success again, this time with Samuel Hubbard, a comfort brand he launched five years ago. While Katz was armed with plenty of product expertise for the venture, he found himself facing a changed retail frontier dominated by e-commerce cheap Yeezy 350 , so he chose to embrace new channels by balancing the business between direct-to-consumer and wholesale. Here, Katz shares his passion for the comfort category and connecting with a multigenerational audience.After decades away from the industry, why the decision to start over with Samuel Hubbard?“[After] Rockport, I was in the [technology] business, invested in internet startups and was in fish farming, rebuilt a hotel and had a trash recycling company. I was tired and stopped for a couple of years. I had [my first] kid at 58, which changed my life. Shortly before my father, Saul Katz, co-founder of Rockport, died, I had a flashback about the shoe business. I asked him what he thought about my taking his [father’s] former Samuel Hubbard shoe factory name and turning it into a brand. It put a huge smile on his face.”What’s the most important advice your father passed down?“Business relationships have to be a win-win. When Rockport was growing and we had a little money in the bank, Dad said we had to send an order to a Brazilian factory for 3,000 pairs. I thought] we had enough shoes, but he said it needed the order. He made me understand you have to make sure you’re winning, the factory’s winning and the customer gets what they want.”Lots of brands tout comfort. How is Samuel Hubbard breaking through the clutter?“We go to extremes and probably have one of the most expensive insoles. It’s contoured, has Poron and EVA, and is leather-lined. We use Vibram soles, making the shoes light. Next it’s [our] stitchdown construction. Then we take forever to get the fit right. We have [styles] that have taken a year and a half to [design]. If it’s not right Cheap Air Yeezy , we change it, and if there’s a problem, we call the retailer and say, ‘Send them back.’”How are you tackling the popularity of sneakers today?“Our first Samuel Hubbard ad [promoted] the Un-Sneaker. There are lots of benefits to shoes that look appropriate in [multiple] situations. You don’t have to look like you came from the gym all the time. It was a [concept] I worked on years ago when the first New Balance and Nike running shoes came out. I had to find a way to make Rockport shoes [as comfortable]. I know a lot of tricks to do it and developed Samuel Hubbard shoes from that point of view: very classical but in unusual colors.”Why has advertising been so important to your brand?“I took out the first ad in The New York Times as an experiment, using my personal savings. It was July 2015, a year after the first shoes [launched online]. For the first six months, there was still no business. Then, within 18 to 24 months, the ads paid for themselves. We grew to [ads that generated] over a billion print impressions within a year. We never looked back. We’ve been in 28 newspapers, 30 magazines and are spending about $15 [million] to $20 million."Is it possible for the brand to attract multiple generations of consumers?“I didn’t start with a clear notion of the [customer]. I knew the kinds of shoes we made at [Rockport] that had broad appeal. Since we [advertise] in newspapers, we ended up with customers 50 and up. Then stories started coming back, including an 18-year-old coming home from school and saying, ‘Dad, those shoes are cool,’ then taking them. We’re constantly developing product for a younger audience.”Want more?How Western Boot Brand Tecovas Is Taking a Cue From Allbirds to Corner the MarketHarrods Unveils Major Plans to Overhaul Its Menswear DepartmentThese Men's Shoe Brands Are Getting Celebrity Placements on the Red Carpet — but Is It Worth the Effort?
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