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Europe Hong Kong Billionaire's Footwear Chain Continues China Expansion

Belle Internationals Holdings of Hong Kong, the largest retailer of women's footwear in China, sharply increased the number of retail outlets in the mainland at the end of 2011, as companies large and small continue to try to tap into what remains one of the world's fast-growing retail markets.

Belle added a net 1,100 retail outlets in China in the fourth quarter of 2011, and a net 2,983 for the full year, the company said in a statement today. The new additions brought the total number of mainland stores run by the company to 14,950 at the end of last year, Belle said.

Belle's biggest shareholder is Tang Yiu, who ranked No. 9 on the 2012 Forbes Hong Kong Rich List published last month with wealth of $4.2 billion. CEO Sheng Baijiao was a member of our "25 Influencial Chinese in Global Fashion" list last year.

Among other Hong Kong companies benefitting from growth in spending by China consumers, Sa Sa said yesterday its total sales rose by about a third last year. Growth has been powered by spending by mainland tourists in Hong Kong.

Nike recently announced plans to build a new headquarters in Shanghai. China's growing retail spending has attracted increased investment by the likes of Starbucks and McDonald's. Paul Tang, the chief economist at theBank of East Asia, said in a recent interview that China's GDP will increase 8.2% this year, among the world's best.


USA PEI Licensing, Inc. Announces Agreement with Shoe Confession for Pro Player® Footwear

PEI Licensing, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Perry Ellis International (NASDAQ: PERY -News), announced today that it has entered into an exclusive license agreement with Shoe Confession, LLC to manufacture, design and distribute men's and boys athletic and casual sport footwear under the Pro Player brand name.

Shoe Confession, LLC is a New York based footwear company that manufactures quality athletic, hiking and casual footwear for men, women and children.

"We are very excited about our new partnership with Pro Playerand Perry Ellis International," commented Joe Safdeye, VP of Sales and Marketing for Shoe Confession. "Initial retailer reaction to Pro Player brand footwear has been outstanding. We look forward to working with our fellow licensees and being part of the Pro Player team."

Product will begin to ship in May 2012 and will be available within the current Pro Player channels of distribution.

"Continued expansion into new product categories for our diversified portfolio of brands is extremely important. We feel that with its expertise in footwear, Shoe Confession is the right partner for expanding Pro Player into the footwear category," stated Oscar Feldenkreis, President and COO of Perry Ellis International.

About Perry Ellis International
Perry Ellis International, Inc. is a leading designer, distributor and licensor of a broad line of high quality men's and women's apparel, accessories and fragrances, as well as select children's apparel. The Company's collection of dress and casual shirts, golf sportswear, sweaters, dress pants, casual pants and shorts, jeans wear, active wear, dresses and men's and women's swimwear is available through all major levels of retail distribution. The Company, through its wholly owned subsidiaries, owns a portfolio of nationally and internationally recognized brands, including: Perry Ellis(R), Jantzen(R), Laundry by Shelli Segal(R), C&C California(R), Rafaella(R), Cubavera(R), Centro(R), Solero(R), Munsingwear(R), Savane(R), Original Penguin(R) by Munsingwear(R), Grand Slam(R), Natural Issue(R), Pro Player(R), the Havanera Co.(R), Axis(R), Tricots St. Raphael(R), Gotcha(R), Girl Star(R), MCD(R), John Henry(R), Mondo di Marco(R), Redsand(R), Manhattan(R), Axist(R), Farah(R), Anchor Blue(R) and Miller's Outpost(R). The Company enhances its roster of brands by licensing trademarks from third parties, including: Pierre Cardin(R) for men's sportswear, Nike(R)and Jag(R) for swimwear, and Callaway(R), TOP-FLITE(R), PGA TOUR(R) and Champions Tour(R)for golf apparel. Additional information on the Company is available at http://www.pery.com.

Safe Harbor Statement

We caution readers that the forward-looking statements (statements which are not historical facts) in this release are made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements are based on current expectations rather than historical facts and they are indicated by words or phrases such as "anticipate," "believe," "budget," "contemplate," "continue," "could," "estimate," "expect," "guidance," "indicate," "intend," "may," "might," "plan," "possibly," "potential," "predict," "probably," "proforma," "project," "seek," "should," "target," or "will" and similar words or phrases or comparable terminology. We have based such forward-looking statements on our current expectations, assumptions, estimates and projections. While we believe these expectations, assumptions, estimates and projections are reasonable, such forward-looking statements are only predictions and involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties, and other factors that may cause actual results, performance or achievements to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements, many of which are beyond our control. These factors include: general economic conditions, a significant decrease in business from or loss of any of our major customers or programs, anticipated and unanticipated trends and conditions in our industry, including the impact of recent or future retail and wholesale consolidation, recent and future economic conditions, including turmoil in the financial and credit markets, the effectiveness of our planned advertising, marketing and promotional campaigns, our ability to contain costs, disruptions in the supply chain, our future capital needs and our ability to obtain financing, our ability to protect our trademarks, our ability to integrate acquired businesses, trademarks, trade names and licenses, our ability to predict consumer preferences and changes in fashion trends and consumer acceptance of both new designs and newly introduced products, the termination or non-renewal of any material license agreements to which we are a party, changes in the costs of raw materials, labor and advertising, our ability to carry out growth strategies including expansion in international and direct to consumer retail markets, the level of consumer spending for apparel and other merchandise, our ability to compete, exposure to foreign currency risk and interest rate risk, possible disruption in commercial activities due to terrorist activity and armed conflict, and other factors set forth in Perry Ellis International's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Investors are cautioned that all forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties, including those risks and uncertainties detailed in Perry Ellis' filings with the SEC. You are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which are valid only as of the date they were made. We undertake no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements to reflect new information or the occurrence of unanticipated events or otherwise.

Yahoo! Finances

USA DEFLEXION™ Technology from Dow Corning Launches Footwear Insoles

DEFLEXION™ technology from Dow Corning, a global leader in silicone-based technology, announced the launch of their new insole material. The patent-pending silicone-based impact protection textile is now incorporated in effective pressure distribution and reduction providing comfort and cushioning in a thin and lightweight form.

By removing pressure from sensitive areas, insoles made with DEFLEXION™ technology provide the user with additional comfort and improved cushioning. "High plantar foot pressure is a significant factor in many types of lower limb injury," said Andrew James, Clinical Director at ACE Feet in Motion, who joined the research to apply DEFLEXION™ materials into shoe insoles, "Podiatrists are often asked to provide a means of reducing the pressures under the foot. DEFLEXION™ technology is, to date, the most efficient material I have used for this purpose."

DEFLEXION™ insole technology will be launched at the ISPO Munich conference at New Munich Trade Fair Centre in Germany January 29 to February 1, 2012. James will be present on Sunday, January 29 at 2 p.m. and Monday, January 30 at 2 p.m. when he will provide foot scans and the opportunity to experience DEFLEXION™ technology in your shoes The DEFLEXION™ brand booth will be located in Hall C2, stand C631; stop by to visit and learn more about the new DEFLEXION™ footwear technology and impact protection materials.

About DEFLEXION™ technology from Dow Corning
DEFLEXION™ technology from Dow Corning (deflexiontechnology.com) offers a range of impact-protection technologies that allow for the easy creation of high-performance protective apparel and equipment. DEFLEXION™ technology focuses on providing comfort, enhanced fit, and freedom of movement. Also, due to the unique stability of silicones, DEFLEXION™ technology can provide performance over a broad range of temperatures. Products using DEFLEXION™ materials are able to achieve a high level of performance when cold, hot and wet, while remaining comfortable to wear. DEFLEXION™ technology was selected as one of the most innovative fabrics of 2010 by Future Materials in their annual "FM 100" article, which ranks the year's most innovative materials. DEFLEXION™ technology was also selected by Design News as a finalist for its 2011 Golden Mousetrap Awards. For more information, please visit: deflexiontechnology.com.

About Dow Corning
Dow Corning (dowcorning.com) provides performance-enhancing solutions to serve the diverse needs of more than 25,000 customers worldwide. A global leader in silicones, silicon-based technology and innovation, Dow Corning offers more than 7,000 products and services via the company's Dow Corning® and XIAMETER® brands. Dow Corning is a joint venture equally owned by The Dow Chemical Company and Corning, Incorporated. More than half of Dow Corning's annual sales are outside the United States.

DEFLEXION™ is a registered trademark of Dow Corning Corporation.

Dow Corning

USA Stem Footwear Survival Origins Quick Review

Recently, Tim reviewed the men's Stem Footwear Primal Origins shoe. Tim's take was pretty positive and for good reason: Stem Footwear is manufacturing an exciting product that has been making waves in the "barefoot" or minimalist shoes movement for its comfort and overall foot friendliness. That they fit a niche of a foot-healthy shoe for casual wear (and even running for some), makes them all the more attractive for consideration as an addition to your min-shod closet.

What's a little confusing (to me, anyway) is that Stem's line-up of shoes go by different names — but really, nearest I can tell, they're just different colorways. What do I mean? Well, for men, in addition to the Primal Origins that Tim reviewed, Stem Footwear has two other "models" out — the Natural Origins and the Survival Origins. That reads like they're different shoes; however, the Natural Origins is just like the Primal but with a green-highlighted color scheme; and the Survival Origins is an all brown shoe. It's really that simple (and I don't think Stem is trying to be confusing here, it's just their naming convention).

Since I previously did an initial review a pre-production Primal Origins, I wanted to do a quick follow-up review on these shoes, but using the Survival Origins as an example — so you can see what another pair of Stems look like in different colors! And since I can't help myself, I'll do a quick round-up of my take on these shoes ... with a host of photos ... after the jump!

Stem Survival Origins Review
In a nutshell, Stem Survival Origins shoes provide for a neutral heel-to-toe sneaker with a large toe box — one that can accommodate wearing Correct Toes if you're into that sorta thing.

One thing I really like about Stem's Origins design is that they square off the toe box nicely so that it doesn't look so much like a fin (The VIVO BAREFOOT Aquas have a fin-look to my eye).

If you want to be able to stretch your toes while still wearing shoes, you need a large toe box, and here Stem delivers.

All Stem Origins shoes (including the Survival Origins) have a lightweight, flexible upper that tops a flexible, fairly structure-less foam sole. The sole has a waffle-like pattern to it and is foot-shaped, if not a bit too wide at the heel. More on this in a minute. For now, here's some sole-food and an indication of their total flexibility.

You get quality ground feel with the Stem Survival Origins thanks to the sole not being too stiff as with hard rubber but the Stem sole is not cushy either. I'd almost peg it as being somewhere between the New Balance Minimus Life, which uses EVA foam (and has a 4mm heel-to-toe differential and is also a bit thicker soled overall), and the Altra Adam (review coming soon), meaning that it's less ground feel and slightly softer than the Adam but more ground feel and harder than the Life. I'd also say it's better ground feel than you get with VIVO BAREFOOTS that have their insoles in place (note: better ground feel is something you may or may not want, so "better" is somewhat relative here).

For me, I'd say the Stem's sole function and feel is "just right" but for one thing that I've noticed, and that's the heel. The Stem Origins sole is very rounded at the heel — as you can see via the picture at the right. What I've noticed in wearing them around is that this rounded nature makes me feel a little wobbly (left and right) at the heel. It also seems to focus the pressure somehow to the middle of my heel. It's no dealbreaker and isn't annoying per se, but it's noticeable. I have no idea if a flatter heel would make more sense and eliminate this problem or if it's something to do with the sole material. Just something to note.

Bareskin Feel and Aesthetics
The Stem Origins lack an insole and have a casual, earthy aesthetic. In the case of the Survival Origins dark bark brown, I'd say you could almost pass them off in a business casual environment with khakis. My one main gripe with the Survival Origins aesthetic (one that can be generalized) is the use of the roots at the heel and the printed slogans that are embossed around the shoes. Fortunately, I think most people who see your shoes aren't likely to read their fine print or notice the detailing, so this isn't a huge issue at all — it's a nit in an otherwise fantastic first offering from Stem.

All the details pretty much fade away when the Survival Origins are worn with a pair of jeans.

I'll wrap this mini-review with one final comment about how I like to wear them — with socks. I love wearing shoes without socks and it's by far my preferred way to wear a pair of shoes these days. The skin on my feet just likes to breath and socks inhibit that process. That said, Stem's would be perfect for barefoot, sockless wear but for one thing, which is the material where the tongue ends. There's some overhang of this material and it just bugs the top of my bare foot. Thankfully, not only do socks cure this problem, I don't mind wearing socks with my Stems because they're such a great shoe overall, that the socks don't detract much from the experience.

Stem is getting a good bit of press here on BirthdayShoes and while I've pointed out a few nits above in this review, my overall take on these shoes is glowingly positive: if you're looking for a casual mono-toed barefoot/minimalist shoe, the Stems are worth serious consideration. And that you can get'em $15 off their $89.99 pricetag using bday15off (until 2/15/2012) makes them all the more worth your attention.

For more on the Stem Origins including thoughts on sizing, photos of the Primal Origins, and more, I encourage you to check out Tim's review of the Stems here. If you just can't wait any longer, hop over to Stem Footwear.com.

Birthday Shoes

France Fab Footwear Friday: DIOR Boots

So, let's be honest, it's freezing outside in London… heard it's frosty in Dubai too? what we should be wearing? some chic boots. I love those rock chic ones by Dior (how amazing is the mixture of textures?) and are definitely the fab footwear of the week!

My Fash Diary

UK Pointer Footwear for Covet Fridays

Since I'm in London right now, I have to give a shout out to a British shoe brand I recently discovered.

After binge eating some Old School Frozen Custard up in Capitol Hill a few weeks ago (chocolate for the win!), we were walking by Rock Paper Scissors and were suddenly drawn into the store by the most adorable bulldog ever, Ghost Face Killah. Seriously, that's her name.

But anyway. We went in, thinking there was a good chance it would carry up to men's size size 15 since it's all about the urban footwear scene. Low and behold, they did, so we got to trying on different styles.

It was then that we both fell in love with Pointer footwear. The shoes have a touch of that urban swag, mixed with the minimalist canvas silhouette typical of Urban Outfitters. Plus, after I tried on the Hannah's (#8 below), I was hooked. They are so comfortable. I didn't end up purchasing them because I wanted the green and they only had navy, but you better believe I will be seeking these out while in Londontown.

The Emerald Closet

USA Vans California Spring '12 Footwear

You know it's going to be a good day when some new Vans drop. These are all for this upcoming Spring season. I will take all of them in a size 10.5.


usa New Supra Footwear at UBIQ!

Everyone's favorite shoe from Supra and Chad Muska, the Skytop, returnsr head over to



usa "Farrah" Suede Heel by Report Footwear

Have you started thinking about spring? Because, I sure have! As I've been researching spring 2012 trends for The Bellevue Collection's spring magazine, I've begun to fantasize a bit about what I'll be wearing… and these suede heels are on my hotlist! I love how they take on the vibe of the "explorer" trend you will be seeing this spring, so wear them with vibrant patterns and artisan detailing – things that look like you may have picked them up in your most recent trip to Africa or Chile! Of course, you only have to go to Bellevue to get these shoes.

Bellevue Collection

UK Menswear: Jimmy Choo footwear collection

Jimmy Choo has guys covered with their latest selection of footwear. Keep is casual with their sneakers in both black and white colorways, or dress it up with slick slippers.


usa Footwear/ Clothing: Exclusive Sneak Peek Of The Adidas Originals x Jeremy Scott Fall 2012 Collection

Just as we were cooling off from the bondage meets Americana frenzy of the Spring 2012 Adidas Originals x Jeremy Scott collection, we received exclusive images from the fall 2012 line, and we audibly gasped when we peeped each piece for the first time. The classic Jeremy Scott teddy sneakers are back (!!!), but this time covered in a groovy flower print and a lime green sole. Rory Rockmore, our resident Jeremy Scott expert, gave us the lowdown and said these shoes will ALSO be available in children's sizes. "It's like a little bit of every cuddly JS shoe teddy you've ever loved, wrapped up with a bow on it." According to Mr. Rockmore, Lil Wayne was the first person to ever sport these sneaks almost exactly a year ago (time is FLYING) in the traditional brown-and-white colorway. Then we spotted them again in black and white when Jeremy first released images of his Adidas Originals collab last summer. Whew, these shoes have seen so many permutations, we can hardly keep up. But there's moooree!


usa Mark McNairy Autumn/Winter 2012 Footwear

Mark McNairy seems to have had a change of heart with the unveiling of his Autumn/Winter 2012 footwear collection. First exhibited at the Pitti Uomo fashion show last week in Florence, it looks like McNairy has told his signature profane emblem to 'fuck off', replacing it with a pleasant happy face.

We'll take this cheerful icon as a stamp of approval towards the footwear designed for this collection. With a mix of rich suedes and naturally toned leathers, McNairy has designed an attractive line of boots, oxfords, and wingtips perfect for livening up those cold and dreary winter months. Without fail, McNairy always manages to add a personal flair to any classic design, as evidenced by the camouflage print oxfords and blue soled wingtips. Although bold, we can't help but be impressed with how versatile these shoes are, adding just enough character without looking garish. Check out the rest of the Winter/Autumn 2012 footwear collection below.

There's a '60s Flower Power-printed bomber with teddy bear sleeves. Um, haiiii. As in, each arm is adorned with its own teddy—face, arms, legs, and all!—and the hood even has puffy ears to get into full cosplay mode if you're, you know, into that. Warning: People might get the uncontrollable urge to hug you if you wear this jacket. I mean, we REALLY wanted to cuddle up with Nicki Minaj when we spotted her in a stuffed animal dress, so there's no telling what might happen. We will say one thing, though—we can'timagine what the FULL fall 2012 collec-tion is going to look like, but according to Jeremy Scott, it's "tie-dye for!.

The Shoe Buff

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