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New Footwear Brands to Watch for Fall 2019

Brands from across the globe showed up to FN Platform to debut their Fall ’19 lines to a captive retail audience.

Newcomers brought unique styling, materials, and perspectives to the show this February. Here are some of the highlights from the show.

Cappelletti

New Footwear Brands to Watch for
Cappelletti.

Urban but slightly whimsical, Cappelletti’s line of sneakers and hiker boots could catch an eye from across the room. The label hoped to bring a “touch of Italian creativity and artistry” to the U.S. for its debut at Platform last week, said brand representative Andre Cuzzupe.

“The factory’s history is in menswear but this whole line is for women,” noted Laura Burson, who also works with the brand. Handmade by the same craftsmen as some of Europe’s best known luxury brands, Cappelletti’s boots are goodyear-welted and hand-stitched.

Perched on sizable platform outsoles, most styles from the fall line feature mixed animal prints on pony hair uppers to striking effect. A tall, multicolored hiker boot was the brand’s standout at the show, said Burson. “It’s a statement-maker.”

Buffalo

New Footwear Brands to Watch for
Buffalo.

Once favored by the Spice Girls, Buffalo claims to be the originator of the chunky platform outsole. The Girl Power revolution of the ‘90s popularized the brand internationally, said CEO Mirko Ostendoerfer, appearing with the brand at Platform for the first time.

Since the German label was founded 40 years ago, it’s sold everything from cowboy boots to urban streetwear. Now, its core line is all about the sky-high platform. “This is what we stand for,” Ostendoerfer said.

The aesthetic has proven popular. The brand has collaborated with high fashion heavy hitters like Jun’ya Watanabe, Opening Ceremony, Vivienne Westwood, Comme Des Garcons, and Puma on premium products sold through their luxury line.

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“It’s all about the outsole,” Ostendoerfer said. “It’s become iconic.”

Ross & Snow

New Footwear Brands to Watch for
Ross & Snow.

Ross & Snow’s line of cold-weather boots aims to become an apres-ski essential. Spearheaded by former Zappos execs along with design talents from UGG, the brand soft-launched in fall of last year and appeared for the first time at Platform last week.

Ross & Snow is “bringing shearling back to the market,” said Teresa Carvalho, a sales representative. The line of boots for men and women is made with durable, weatherproofed leathers and nubucks to guard against the cold. Some of the brand’s styles are fully waterproof, with zippers, buckles and welting all sealed against the elements.

Despite the brand’s utilitarian features, some details are purely aesthetic. Shiny, textured leathers, wax finishes, fur cuffs and studs abound. Even sticking to “classic silhouettes,” Carvalho said, the brand hopes to bring back the “romance of shoemaking.”

Rucoline

New Footwear Brands to Watch for
Rucoline.

“Retro Future” is the vibe of Rucoline’s collection of men’s streetwear, says sales director James Carter. The Italian line blends nostalgic design details from the ‘70s, like tracksuit striping, and futuristic materials like woven carbon fiber.

“There are between three and four different materials on every shoe,” Carter said, pointing out the suedes, meshes, patents and rubbers that punctuate the collection. Cup soles, hiker sneakers, high-tops, sock-knit slip-ons and a variety of hybridized styles make up the line.

The brand is just starting to break into the U.S. market’s crowded streetwear sector, and Carter believes Rucoline will stand out. “It’s luxury street with a vintage feel, from an Italian perspective” he said.

Regina Romero

New Footwear Brands to Watch for
Regina Romero.

“I want this to be the shoe of an empowered woman,” said Montserrat Vega, the young designer behind Regina Romero’s line of heels, boots and casuals. Even in the highest heels, she said, a woman should feel steady enough to stand all day.

The brand blends “Mexican craftsmanship with Italian savoir-faire,” she said. Using leather from local tanneries, Mexican craftsmen employ traditional Italian shoe-making techniques. The result, Vega said, is a comfortable shoe that’s built to last.

Some of the brand’s longtime fans still wear shoes that they purchased in the ‘70s, said Vega. From a design perspective, she insisted the style also holds up. Many of the brand’s current styles incorporate design details from decades-old silhouettes.

After 35 years in the shoemaking business, the Mexican brand is “ready to reach the world,” says Jorge Romero, son of the brand’s founder. Regina Romero’s debut at Platform was a step in that direction, he added.

Pretty You London

New Footwear Brands to Watch for
Pretty You London.

With a line more decadent than a box of frosted cupcakes, Pretty You London is “redefining what it means to be glamorous at home,” said director Jonathan Cohen.

The collection of house slippers is made from faux fur, mohair, shearling and even Mongolian lambswool. The ultra-plush synthetics are so soft and convincing that they’re hard to put down. Pearls, gemstones and embroidery adorn most of the styles.

Silhouettes like the smoking slipper or resort slide are made with rubber soles, in case the wearer wants to venture outdoors. “Many slippers are quite plain and boring,” said designer Rebecca Brown. “We wanted to do something different.”