Those growing up in the 1990s will remember shoe brand Hush Puppies for its comfy suede loafers that were highly sought after by the cool, stylish set back then. Today, the American brand takes on a fresh direction with sharper silhouettes, trendier designs and unrivalled functionality starting with its Autumn/Winter collection. Its vice president of global marketing, Jen Reeves speaks on what makes a Hush Puppies man and the change of brand directionto becoming a lifestyle icon.
Tell us about the Autumn/Winter 2014 collection.
As much as we embrace the comfort-driven principle, we’ve also incorporated current trends into our design concept, but in a very Hush Puppies relevant way. In this collection, we use a lot of suede, soft colours, and new outsoles, which is a big trend this season.
What are some of your favourite pieces in the men’s collection?
I have several. We have a new collection called the Select Collection, which is a small capsule collection that we’ve launched for AW14. Some of those shoes are my favourite mainly because of the beautiful colours they sport.
Are there any changes to the design direction of Hush Puppies?
There’s been a shift in our design and marketing strategy within the last 18 months. Hush Puppies used to be a little retro and quirky, but moving forward, it is becoming more modern and contemporary. Instead of just selling shoes, we want to be perceived as a brand that sells a lifestyle. That is, looking above the ankle, because it is the entire look that matters!
What is Hush Puppies’ demographic?
I would say the 30 to 40 year-olds. However, it is more of the psychographics of what a gentleman wants that concern us. This group of men takes serious consideration in function and style. They may not be super trendy, but they know what’s contemporary and chic that fits well in the wardrobe. Function, style and technology are three important components to him.
What’s the story behind the ‘Let’s Get Together’ campaign?
When people think of Hush Puppies, they imagine a group of friendly and happy people getting together. So this season, as we were looking at trends and our consumer groups, and ‘Let’s Get Together’ naturally came up. This campaign aims to conjure imageries of people hanging out, getting to know one another, and having fun.
How do you differentiate/market yourself from other footwear brands?
Modern sensibility and style are what we see in many other brands, but they do not possess similar technology that designs comfort like we do. While we focus on that, we also try to elevate the style of the consumer, and that’s what really differentiates the brand from other competitors.
How do you define a Hush Puppies man?
Confident, casual, and very comfortable in his own skin. He is a relaxed, genuine and an authentic person, like the guy next door that you want to hang out with.
Will there be any new stores coming up in Asia?
We will be opening a new store in November at Square 2, Novena.
Hush Puppies’s website is beautifully designed and user-friendly. Are there plans to making online shopping available?
E-commerce service is available in the US, but as a global brand, this service varies in different markets. As we already have 18 stores island wide, consumers have no trouble looking for their Hush Puppies shoes in the store nearest to them.