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First Look: German brand with devoted following opens U.S. flagship

BY Marianne Wilson

A footwear brand whose roots date back to 1774 has gone direct to U.S. consumers with a physical store.

Birkenstock has a opened its first store in the United States (and 47th globally), in the SoHo neighborhood of lower Manhattan. Celebrating over 50 years of Birkenstock distribution in the U.S., the SoHo store features the brand’s full range of products for women, men and kids, including shoes, boots, socks, bags, belts and its new natural skin care line. The outpost also features a special gallery of limited-edition styles from designer collaborations including Rick Owens and 10 Corso Como.

The interior of the store takes inspiration from the materials used to create Birkenstock’s signature products, incorporating such natural materials as cork and leather. It offers a relaxed atmosphere with its open atrium and second floor lounge area that will feature special projects and collaborations.

A billboard and social media campaign, done in collaboration with Brooklyn-based artist Amit Greenberg, was created to mark the store’s opening. It features original cartoon characters that will also appear on a limited-edition version of the Birkenstock’s Arizona sandal and an exclusive T-shirt.

“It is an important part of our ambition to open our own retail stores in strategic locations and vibrant neighborhoods,” said Oliver Reichert, CEO of Birkenstock. “New York is a key market for us. The opening of our own retail store in New York is also a bow to one of the few remaining fashion capitals in the world that shapes global cultural and consumer trends.”

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