With a fashion-forward revamp, the footwear brand hopes to move from cult favourite to mainstream success
Characterised by a severe and pointed last, Swear’s hybrid casual men’s shoe rocketed to footwear fame to become a cash cow for multiples and indies alike in the early 2000s.
As the trend for men’s footwear shapes softened and the market began to back canvas lace-up pumps in the mid-2000s - a trend pioneered by rock bands like the Arctic Monkeys - Swear with its pointed last was left trailing.
However, under the direction of new Swear creative director Dominic Webster at the brand’s owner Six London, which also has the licences for Opening Ceremony, Ksubi and Surface To Air footwear in the UK, the brand has undergone a massive design overhaul to reposition itself in the market.
While there is still a nod to Swear’s pointy heritage, the autumn 10 range is characterised by new rounded hybrid lasts with rubber sole units. The brand is also branching out into more trend- led formal and casual styles with hard-soled and soft-soled options.
Pricing has been reduced slightly to make the brand more commercial and to drive volume. Men’s wholesale prices range from £34 to £48, with women’s at £34 to £36 with a 2.5 mark-up.
Key styles for the season also include a lace-up brogue in black and tan leather and a lace-up workman’s boot in grey wool for men and heeled lace-up boot and slip-on brogue for women. The palette focuses on navy blue, wine red and tan, and fabrics comprise suede and shiny, burnished and distressed leathers.
Webster says: “The brand had become one-dimensional, pigeonholed as offering the rubber-soled shoe and little else. As a consequence, key accounts such as Asos and Topman were lost. For autumn 10, we’ve picked up these accounts again along with a 20% increase on spring 10 accounts.”
Indies including Ran in Manchester, Xile in Edinburgh and Doyobi in Brighton have also added Swear to their mix for autumn 10.
The brand has also reinstated the original Swear logo, which has a cleaner, more classic font than its previous ‘S****’ incarnation, and plans to ramp up sales of its women’s range by targeting womenswear indies. Webster adds: “It makes sense to expand this side of the brand, which was previously modelled on men’s styles. For autumn 10, we’ve fashioned specific moulds for women.”
Sean Ward, director of stockist Bespoke Boutique in Norwich, says: “Swear hasn’t always performed well, but it has a cult following and a good price point. The autumn 10 range is more grown-up and fashion forward - it’ll sit well with Fred Perry and April 77.”
Mark-up on the autumn 10 collection
Starting price, rising to £48
Rise in the number of new accounts for autumn 10 compared with spring 10
Swear 020 7734 0467 www.swear-london.com