David Rist, former managing director of Hush Puppies UK, and Ken Bartle, former chief executive of Jones Bootmaker, have joined forces to launch the footwear line of US Polo Assn (USPA) in the UK and Ireland.
The pair have formed a company called Asolando to distribute a full men’s and women’s collection and a capsule range of kids’ footwear after striking a deal with Bonis, an Italian shoe manufacturer that holds the European licence from USPA, the governing body for the sport of polo in the US.
Multi-brand chains such as Schuh, Jones Bootmaker and Dune, as well as store groups such as John Lewis, are the target stockists. Only selected independents are being contacted about the range. Asolando managing director Rist will be showing the first samples in February, with initial deliveries scheduled for July. Retail prices will range from £85 for shoes to £250 for tall boots.
Rist said: “It is rare you get the opportunity to launch a footwear brand with such a rich heritage and an authentic sporting background. Polo represents an aspirational lifestyle, and the fact that the USPA can demonstrate a direct connection to the sport for over a century will resonate with the consumer.”