Sigerson Morrison, a fancy American footwear brand that recently went under new ownership, is sourcing for the first time some models from China for its diffusion line, called Belle, which it first launched for the Spring 2004 season. All these models carry a landed wholesale price of less than €100 in Europe. They were presented at the MICAM fair last month as the company’s new brand manager, Jill Meerphol, was looking for a European agent, but she has not yet selected one.

Sigerson Morrison was acquired a few months ago by Marc Fisher, who has a license for Guess? men’s and women’s footwear. A sourcing expert, he was in charge of product development and sourcing at Nine West Group between 1999 and 2003. He is a son of Jerome Fisher, co-founder of Nine West.

Two women, Kari Sigerson from Nebraska and Miranda Morrison from London, established the Sigerson Morrison brand name in 1991, after attending the Fashion Institute of Technology of New York. They set up a store in London in 1999, but it was subsequently closed. In 2000 they were among the first to open up shop in the Nolita district of Manhattan. They followed up with a store in Los Angeles in 2002 and one in Tokyo in 2003.

An international jury elected Sigerson Morrison as best foreign buyer at the fair. The Italian winner of the 21st MICAM Retail Award was Sante Falcomer, who went to business in 1958 with a shop for footwear and accessories in Portogruaro, followed by another one in the nearby beach resort of Biblone. Sante Falcomer now has a total of 17 stores in Italy offering many prestigious labels of footwear and leathergoods as well as clothing.

Maurizio Pizzuti, president of Zeis Excelsa, was quite annoyed by the article that we published in the last issue of Shoe Intelligence about Crocs and a new Italian footwear line being launched in 30 different countries for Spring/Summer 2007, called LOFU (= Light Object for U). He says that Zeis Excelsa - owner of the Docksteps, Cult and Sonora brands, licensee of Bikkembergs and Harley Davison footwear and Italian distributor of Merrell - has nothing to do with LOFU, a different brand owned by a different Italian company, Levitas, in which he has a shareholding along with other investors. Finproject, an Italian company whose former Canadian factory was recently bought by Crocs, is supplying its XL Extralight EVA materials for some clogs and tongs of the LOFU line, which are different from those of Crocs in terms of shapes, colors and manufacturing techniques. Stressing that they are protected by ornamental patents, Pizzuti vigorously denies any charges or suspicions of infringement of any of Crocs’ patents or copyrights. Comparing the products that Crocs is marketing in Europe to «a single product offered in different colors like a range of sausages,» Pizzuti stresses once more that LOFU doesn’t stand only for EVA injected clogs, but for a broad-based lifestyle concept that involves many other types of shoes and that may be extended to other types of consumer products such as bags, sailing accessories and furniture in the future.