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Is Hunter stalking a new market?

With festival season upon us, three things automatically come to mind; rain, warm beer and Hunter wellies.

The iconic footwear brand has become a staple in British fashion, thanks in part to Kate Moss and her Glastonbury groupies, and it is now looking to extend its wear onto the global market.

As reported by Drapers this week the brand has undergone a serious shake up in management, announcing the appointment of four fashion heavy weights to head up the expansion, including former Burberry designer Niall Sloan, who will take the role of global design director at the label, Ken Pratt who has joined the footwear firm as chief financial officer and Ali Lowry, the brand’s new global communications director.

These follow the appointment of Dan Lumb who, as Drapers revealed a fortnight ago, has joined from Reiss as online director, overseeing all global online functions for Hunter

A few months back Stella McCartney’s entrepreneur husband Alasdhair Willis was hired as creative director, alongside ex-Mulberry head of sales Fabrizio Stroppa, who joined as commercial sales director. The swathe of hires first kicked off in December, with the appointment of chief executive James Seuss from multibrand watch retailer Tourneau .

These appointments, coming from some of the most high profile British brands or retailers, demonstrate Hunter’s appetite for expansion and growth, particularly internationally, where its heritage and celebrity endorsements are bound to deliver success.

But is there something else afoot? Seuss this week gave us an indication of what could be around the corner, hinting at “a new brand and product direction” to be unveiled for autumn 14.

Looking at the backgrounds of some of these appointments, it seems plausible that Hunter could be stalking a new market – namely clothing.

Sloan joins Hunter after a decade working with Burberry, most recently as senior womenswear designer for the high end Burberry Prorsum.

Could his appointment herald a move into clothing – perhaps outerwear products? After all what is Burberry best known for if not the classic trench coat?

And he is not the only new name with clothing background. Stroppa worked at both Donna Karen and Giorgio Armani before joining Mulberry, while Lowry also worked at the Italian design house. Lumb obviously heralds from Reiss, before that having worked for Theo Paphitis’ lingerie brand Boux Avenue, as well as many years at Schuh.

If Hunter is looking to new categories, it would be a natural development of the label, developing its brand value and accessing a wider audience, without alienating its core customer.

Who knows, perhaps when festival fashion rolls around next summer we’ll be decked out in Hunter’s products top to toe, come rain or shine.

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