Tamara Mellon Joins Forces With Titan Industries – WWD

Veteran executive Tamara Mellon has teamed with Titan Industries as she looks to fuel growth at her namesake label, starting with an expansion into wholesale.

The move with Titan and its CEO and founder, Joe Ouaknine, will give both parties an equal stake in the Tamara Mellon shoe business.

Mellon, who cofounded Jimmy Choo in 1996, launched her namesake label as a buy now, wear now venture in 2013, then restructured in late 2015 and began to pursue a new path. She relaunched as a direct-to-consumer label in 2016.

“As we came out of COVID[-19], we were still facing a lot of challenges with Italian manufacturing, particularly as an independent brand,” she said, citing late deliveries.

This disruption precluded the designer from working with retail partners on her own. “When you go into wholesale, one of the most important things is that you deliver quality and you deliver on time. That’s really why Joe and I joined forces here,” Mellon explained.

Titan Industries — which acquired Clergerie last month — has a brand roster that includes Badgley Mischka, L’Agence, Daniel x Diamond and Dee Ocleppo.

The company will now oversee the manufacturing of Mellon’s collections and manage its direct-to-consumer channels. Tamara Mellon will continue to lead all aspects of creative and design.

“This brand was never offered to any brick-and-mortar retailer. All of these years of making beautiful shoes and no exposure, except their own website,” said Ouaknine. “I call that a tremendous opportunity for Titan to spread it out.”

Production will move to Spain, and the price points will be slightly lowered — ranging from $395 to $1,000 for select boot styles — to reach a broader audience. The expanded distribution effort will begin for spring 2024.

Anticipated partners include department stores as well as global, independent, multibrand stores.

“This will give people an opportunity to go in and touch and feel the product, understand what it is. The hardest thing about d-to-c is brand awareness because you’re not part of the discovery when people are looking for something,” she said.

For the spring 2024 line, Mellon plans to continue her popular Pillow Top collection with new innovation.

“People are looking for lower heels. Comfort is incredibly important,” she added. “I think the revenge heel that came out of COVID[-19] is not as important right now. The key [to designing hero styles] is being versatile, being able to wear it in multiple different ways, from jeans to cocktail. Having comfort, and have it be flattering on the foot — those are the styles women continuously come back to.”

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