From the ground up

While at the Bread&Butter trade show last week, we had the chance to catch up with Fraser Avey and Matt George from Ransom, alongside Ben Pruess from adidas to get some more insight on the successful Ransom by adidas collection. If you’re wondering, the above sight to behold is another angle of the forthcoming Fall 2010 “Crest” Boot.

The three collectively answered a few questions on the Ransom by adidas program. Take the leap and read up!

What is the principle idea behind the line?

The underlying theme of the collaboration has always been smart, clean and most importantly functional footwear, acceptable for everyday use. We wanted to put something out we could stand behind and say, you can wear this day in a day out this season, and for seasons to come. It won’t go out of fashion in a months time, and you won’t feel ridiculous putting it back on your feet a year or 5 years from now.

Too often we’ve seen so much product hit the market, with little to no shelf life. We’ve never wanted to be a brand that comes and goes solely with whatever hot trend is happening at the moment. Functional garments with a timeless appeal is what most of us wear on a day to day, so we’re trying to put that sensibility forth in these collections.

Leading up the release of the first collection, there was a lot of buzz online. How did that translate upon its release from a retail perspective? Did the collection meet it’s early expectations?

In launching a new range, you never can be quite too sure how it will be accepted. We knew we had something we were proud of but the fact is you don’t know until it lands. By the time Ben and myself had come up with the idea, and set forth on sampling, all the logistics were getting tight so we just had to stay focused on getting the product dine in time. Distributing sample sets, shooting the footwear, creating lookbooks, educating your sales team, deciding on a distribution plan, and reaching out to your select retailers, all of this was done, and pulled together in a matter of 2 months.

Strictly from a sales standpoint, the initial offering was very successful. We kept it tight to make sure it want to the right shops and landed on the right feet, and I think if you were to talk to any of the retailers that took a chance on it, they’d attest to that. The reports from retailers was that it had a very complete sell-through for the entire range. For us, being heavily involved on the retail side, this is a great accomplishment, especially for this day and age. It’s not often a new shoe has much success these days, let alone a whole collection. We’re very grateful to those that got it the first time around, and we are really excited in the way that we see the range progressing, for all parties involved.

Equally rewarding has been the overwhelming responses and positive reaction from the consumers. It was so nice to see that the people we targeted where really happy with them even to the point that we were shocked by how many women have been rocking them.

So with that being said, we know there is so much more we can and will do but it feels like a good start knowing there is a home for our vision. We are again so thankful to everyone. It sort of validated what we thought that if we made great shoes, reached out and put the product in front of the right people, and it seemed that our concept was what both retailers and consumers were wanting in the marketplace.

How has the line evolved since last season, and where can we see it going for Fall 2010?

We want to continue to expand upon what we’ve done right in the past, and react to feedback while adding new ideas that we did not have time to address in the first collections. So as new seasons emerge you’ll see us working around our best silhouettes with new material stories for different seasons, changes in the color palette, just trying to bring a new feeling and story to pieces that we’ve had a good response to. For example, this spring we’re introducing the use of a lot of ripstop nylon. The nylon is perfect for early spring, when you’re dealing with lots of rain. It’s not fully waterproof, but it’s extremely lightweight and easy to brush clean after being through some wind and rain.

Seasonality has always been key to our design approach and the thoughts on line evolution. As we want shoes that reflect our style and environments adjusting the range to reflect the situation and esthetics of the season allows the range to shift organically season on season.

As our first release was for fall, you saw a boot heavy program, geared to that season. In the upcoming Spring2010 release, you’re going to see a 3 new models that make sense for the summer months. And again, looking forward to when Fall2010 hits, there will be a handful of new models for the winter. We’ll continue to expand the range as far as the consumer allows, and keep trying to work on the small details of each silhouette that helped the program from the start.

Are you planning on adding apparel and accessories to the collection eventually?

It was never our intention to work on anything outside of the footwear for this project. We’re firm believers on maintaining a solid focus, and really trying to execute on the task at hand. For us, that means slowly growing the line, gaining a better understanding of what both our customer and retailer needs from the range, and doing our best to put that understanding into the final product. If eventually that branches out, so be it, but right now, we are mostly interested in working in tune with adidas to make the best footwear we can.

From start to finish we’re interested in not only the end product, but the way it’s presented to the marketplace, the branding, media presentation, commercial shoots, there are so many more factors that come into play than strictly the product design, and we’d like to see those through at every level along the way. We’re very hands on, so it doesn’t leave us much time to focus on much else.

What’s next for the program, and how will it evolve?

We’re steadily pushing the same ideals we were from the start. Nothing has changed for us, smart design, function, and purpose is our key. We only hope we can continue this trend in seasons to come, to keep us ahead of the curve.

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