Keds, that tried-and-true iconic sneaker brand everyone wore as a kid, is getting into the fashion game.
The more than 100-year-old company will show a limited-edition footwear collection during New York Fashion Week created in collaboration with designer Maisie Schloss, creative director of up-and-coming label Maisie Wilen, who will pair the sneakers with her collection hitting the runway on Feb. 12.
The collaboration is part of a Keds deal with IMG and New York Fashion Week to be the “Official Sole of NYFW” for spring and fall 2022. The brand will unveil another footwear collection later this year.
Schloss is known as one of the country’s young emerging designers. A graduate of Parsons The New School for Design, she started out as an errand runner at Yeezy, the brand started by Ye, formerly known as Kanye West. In a few years, she ended up becoming its head womenswear designer.
In 2018, Ye saw the young designer’s potential and offered to back her if she wanted to start her own fashion label. In 2019, Maisie Wilen was born.
Schloss has received kudos for her psychedelic prints and quirky takes on fashion. In 2021, she was nominated by the Council of Fashion Designers of America as the American Emerging Designer of the Year.
Her brand is carried at fashion-forward outlets including The Webster, H. Lorenzo, Kith and Holt Renfrew.
Keds has been a part of the American fabric for more than a century. One of the first shoes it was known for was the “Champion,” the first mass-marketed sneaker with a canvas top.
“Keds has been the ‘sole’ of footwear since its beginning in 1916. Our ability to partner with IMG, and innovative designers such as Maisie Schloss, further reinforces our long history of providing Keds consumers with fashionable and fun footwear that transcends age and boundaries,” said Jen Lynch, vice president and general manager of Keds.
Collaboration is not new for the heritage brand. It has produced collaborative collections with companies including Kate Spade New York, Madewell, Opening Ceremony, Steven Alan and Alice + Olivia. Keds is owned by Wolverine World Wide.
Last year, Keds worked with Hatch, the direct-to-consumer maternity brand favored by Meghan Markle and Natalia Portman, to branch out into a line aimed at expectant mothers.
This designer collab with Schloss puts Keds back into the fashion conversation.
“This partnership will go far beyond New York Fashion Week, and we look forward to bringing these passionate teams together to celebrate creative minds and explore what the future holds, said Patrick Connors, the senior vice president of global brand partnerships for IMG’s fashion events and properties.