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Swear footwear relaunches to offer luxury customisation

By Danielle Wightman-Stone

Sep 14, 2017

Footwear brand Swear, which was founded in 1997 and is known for its cool 90s hybrid sneakers, is relaunching as the world’s first customisable luxury trainer brand.

“It’s a real first. It’s about changing customer behaviour. It was e-commerce in the 90s and 00s, the next wave is customisation and democratising it,” explains Mario Muttenthaler, managing director of Swear. “Within haute couture, you’ve been able to customise and make-to-order for a long time but this is about access. We’re giving a global audience access 24/7 to create a luxury product that is truly theirs. This for me, links back to the old days of Swear when it was all about pushing boundaries.”

Customising trainers or sneakers, depending on where in the world you are from, isn’t something new, Nike, Converse, Adidas and Vans have offered the concept for numerous years, however, Farfetch founder José Neves is looking to reposition Swear as the first, unisex, seasonless footwear label that allows consumers to completely create a bespoke luxury product.

Swear offers two levels of customisation, a 48-hour turnaround, which features basic-level personalisation with consumers choosing from thirty of Swear’s best-selling styles, materials and colours, before adding their initials, with the final product being delivered in two days. Prices start from 175 pounds.

Swear relaunches to offer luxury customised sneakers

Then there is Customise 360, which allows customers to take full control utilising state of the art 3D modelling technology they can mock up their dream sneakers, using materials ranging from nappa, suede and hairy calf to exotic materials including crocodile, python and ostrich. Once designed the sneakers are then handmade and dispatched within four to six weeks. Prices range up to around 7,000 pounds.

The concept is more than just offering customised luxury trainers, Swear is also changing how brands retail, by offering made-to-order they will be less wastage, meaning more sustainable, as well as being less about discount, people will be designing their own style willing to pay more for unique, and most of its business will be direct to consumer.

As well as being available on its website, Swear will be teaming up with select luxury brick-and-mortar stores, including Browns in London, Barney’s New York, Joyce and 10 Corso Como, to offer Customise 48Hrs and Customise 360 via tablet sales.

Customisation has been a big driver for mass market brands, especially for accessories labels such as Cambridge Satchel Company, which has been monogramming its accessories since it launched, while Coach offers personalisation with bag charms and monograms, and Kate Spade New York allows consumers to buy a bag with interchangeable flap covers.

Within the luxury market, personalisation is still quite limited, yes, you can get your initials printed on your Burberry scarf, but no fashion house really offers full customisation away from their haute couture offering. This is changing though, Anya Hindmarch has just launched its build-a-bag pop up at Selfridges where shoppers can chose a ‘base’ either a large or small bucket bag, then ‘handles’ from shearling to various coloured leathers and finishing with ‘accessorise’ such as bag charms, decorative key fobs, intricate leather ruffs, or tassels.

Images: courtesy of Swear