Thursday, March 02, 2006

Celebrity Shoes: What would Barbie wear?

Long been the prerogative of sports peeps to have a signature shoe but now pop icons like Jessica Simpson, Gwen Stefani, Carlos Santana, Snoop Dogg and Nellie are seeking to cash in on their fame by giving their names to high fashion shoes. Footwear with musicians' monikers emblazed across them is being exhibited at shoe fairs across the globe. The extension of a celebrity image into a footwear brand is not such a leap in today’s celebrity-focused culture. Manufacturers have for decades paid upfront licensing fees and royalties to attach a celebrity or brand name to their products.

Skechers for example are using Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera as spokeswomen, but so far have not introduced named shoe lines after them. However endorsement of non athletic shoes is a bit of novelty. Signing a sneaker contract has almost become a rite of passage for star basketball players, with LeBron James, Allen Iverson and Kobe Bryant following the co-branding trend that began with Air Jordans in 1985. But the new breed of celebrity shoes is not a sneaker that imparts hopes of star performance but instead a fashion accessory meant to mirror the personal styles of singers and rappers. However success is not based on names alone according to experts and instead it is to do with building a relevant product.

The Brown Shoe Co. Inc, has been making Carlos Santana shoes since 2001, and Barbie-branded shoes for close to 20 years. One selling asset has been naming a women's line of footwear after a man’s name, fans of the guitarist aside, designer apparel is commonly named after men and Carlos Santana shoes sell well. Brown Shoe's Carlos Santana line ranges from metallic-hued strappy sandals to floral-patterned fur boots.

As far as the Barbie range these have to be believable to sell well. One disadvantage of licensing a celebrity's name to make a product is the fickle world of fame. Celebrities' names are like fashion brands and comer and go it is considered a safer bet to co-brand and feature the name of the manufacturer and celebrity.

Bollywood actor, Salman Khan’s has seen the light and has been associated with the fashion footwear brand, Red Tape shoes since 2004. In India the Red Tape brand has now acquired an almost cult status amongst its target group thanks largely to the imagery that has been created through its association with Salman.

Reviewed 6/12/2016

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