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For Christine Su and Elizabeth Yoon, sneakers are a way of life.
The two women, who met while working at the Adidas USA headquarters in Portland, Ore., grew up in a sneaker culture. But for their new line, Su-Yoon, they wanted a little extra style. “What we are ultimately trying to do is create a holistic collection where fashion fuses and submerges with sportswear athleticism, and where clean and classic styles are refined with slightly provocative athletic details,” Yoon said. Or, as Su put it, “I like to wear sneakers, but I don’t want to wear sneakers all the time.”
Launching for fall ’10, the line of pumps, wedge booties and flat over-the-knee boots takes an athletic look at women’s shoes. The $250-to-$600 styles are made on custom-built lasts (Su’s family owns factories in China, which gave the self-financed startup a head start in product creation) and incorporate flex-built midsoles, EVA heel inserts and cupsole constructions to offer sneaker comfort. Color blocking, padded uppers and hardware details such as eyelets and heel accents are further proof of the brand’s roots.
For spring ’11, Su said she and Yoon are considering adding flats, sandals and flat combat boots to the line, to provide even more options. But no matter how many styles they make, Su said, the line’s ethos will remain the same: “There will always be comfort, and it will always have that sneaker inspiration.”
Elizabeth Yoon cut her teeth designing for Nike, Puma and Adidas, where she met Christine Su, who also has worked at Rocawear and started apparel line Formos-NYC in 2002.
“I was intrigued by the Bauhaus movement when I was studying design,” Yoon said. “I love the architecture [from] that era. It was super-modern, yet very iconic and functional.”
The First Accounts
Su-Yoon will be carried in trendy women’s boutiques, including Baltimore’s Katwalk Boutique and Chasse Gardée in Toronto. Daniela Bosco, owner of Chasse Gardée (at left), said the brand’s minimalist look, attractive prices and athletic backstory would appeal to her customers. “The styles are timeless and cool,” she said.