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TOPEKA, Kan., Oct. 13 — Payless ShoeSource announced today plans to launch the first-ever affordable green footwear line due in stores early next year and that it has signed an agreement with Summer Rayne Oakes, Discovery Network’s Planet Green fashion and beauty expert and author of Style, Naturally: The Savvy Shopping Guide to Sustainable Fashion & Beauty (Chronicle Books, February 2009), to serve as the green footwear brand’s Eco Consultant.
The new brand is a key part of Payless’ mission and strategy to democratize fashion, design and new ideas in footwear and accessories and to position Payless as a “House of Brands” retailer, offering well-recognized, fresh new brands — all at a great price.
The forthcoming line will include on-trend, fashionable footwear and accessory products that are also green through the use of sustainable and eco-friendly materials such as organic cottons and linen, natural hemp and recycled outsoles, as well as the use of eco-smart packaging. The line will be seasonally refreshed offering the latest trends; the new brand will launch initially for women, expanding to include kids’ and men’s styles in the future. The “green” shoes will be available at prices, on average, of under $30 a pair early next year in about 500 stores with select styles appearing in 1,000 stores, as well as generally available on Payless.comÂ®.
“The sustainability movement is pervasive today and is touching so many elements of consumers’ daily lives and they are interested in more and more green product options being available to them,” said Matt Rubel, CEO of Collective Brands, Inc., the parent company of Payless ShoeSource. “But green items are often expensive and inaccessible to so many. With our mission to democratize the latest ideas in footwear and accessories, we are in the best position and proud to bring forward a green footwear line that is affordable and accessible to all.
Our alliance with Summer Rayne Oakes is important to this new brand initiative. Summer Rayne is a trend-setting expert in Eco Fashion, and she will help us launch our new green brand, as well as assist us in driving innovation with fresh, new eco-smart ideas for this brand going forward.”
The new line is unique not only as the first-ever affordable green footwear, but also because it will stress fashion first, while being eco-smart.
“When Payless approached me to partner with them on what would be their first-ever affordable green line of footwear, it was an offer I couldn’t refuse,” said Oakes. “It’s high time a stylish line of shoes can be both environmentally friendly and reasonably priced. Payless is at the forefront of a significant movement bridging fashion, environmental awareness and accessibility — an undertaking I am proud to be a part of.”
The contract between Payless and Oakes is a multi-year arrangement. Oakes will be involved in seasonal line reviews focusing on materials use and aesthetics for the product, packaging, and in-store materials, as well as participate in other marketing activities for the brand. Additional terms of the deal were not disclosed. Payless said it expects to launch the new brand name closer to when the shoes are available in stores next year.
About Payless & Collective Brands
Payless ShoeSource, Inc., a unit of Collective Brands, Inc., is the largest specialty family footwear retailer in the Western Hemisphere and is dedicated to democratizing fashion and design in footwear and accessories and inspiring fun, fashion possibilities for the family at a great value. As of the end of second quarter 2008, the company operated more than 4,500 stores. In addition, customers can buy shoes over the Internet through Payless.comÂ® at http://www.payless.com.
Collective Brands, Inc. (NYSE: PSS) is a leader in bringing compelling lifestyle, fashion and performance brands for footwear and related accessories to consumers worldwide. The company operates three strategic units covering a powerful brand portfolio, as well as multiple price points and selling channels including retail, wholesale, ecommerce and licensing. Collective Brands, Inc. includes Payless ShoeSource, focused on democratizing fashion and design in footwear and accessories through its more than 4,500-store retail chain, with its brands American Eagle(TM), AirwalkÂ®, DexterÂ®, ChampionÂ® and designer collections Abaete for Payless, Lela Rose for Payless and alice + olivia for Payless, among others; Stride Rite, focused on lifestyle and athletic branded footwear and high-quality children’s footwear sold primarily through wholesaling, with its brands including Stride RiteÂ®, KedsÂ®, Sperry Top-SiderÂ®, RobeezÂ®, and SauconyÂ®, among others; and Collective Licensing International, the brand development, management and global licensing unit, with such youth lifestyle brands as AirwalkÂ®, Vision Street WearÂ®, SimsÂ®, LamarÂ® and LTDÂ®, World Snowboarding Championships(TM), SugarboardsÂ®, CarveÂ®, geneticÂ®, Dukes(TM), RageÂ®, Ultra-WheelsÂ®, and Skate AttackÂ® brands. Information about, and links for shopping on, each of the Collective Brand’s units can be found at http://www.collectivebrands.com.
About Summer Rayne Oakes
Summer Rayne Oakes is a model-activist and spokesperson, resident expert, and youngest board of advisors for Planet Green, Discovery Network’s new eco- lifestyle channel. The Cornell University graduate and environmental scholar has received media accolades including Vanity Fair naming her a Global Citizen, Outside naming her one of the Top Environmental Activists, Cosmopolitan naming her Fun, Fearless Female of 2007, and CNN’s Nicole Lapin nominating her as a “Young Person Who Rocks.” Through her work as a consultant Summer Rayne advises companies and organizations, and works on sustainable development and environmental programs in the U.S. and abroad. In February 2009, she’ll release her first book, Style, Naturally: The Savvy Shopping Guide to Sustainable Fashion & Beauty published by Chronicle Books.