NEW YORK, United States — International fashion brand and retailer Opening Ceremony and Aldo Product Services, a division of Canadian footwear and accessory retail chain Aldo Group, have signed a global licensing agreement for footwear for Spring/Summer 2016.

The collection will be designed by Opening Ceremony and produced and manufactured by Aldo Product Services, which handles Aldo Group’s licensing and distribution partnerships and provides branded footwear and accessories to retailers including Selfridges, Nordstrom and JC Penney.

“As a company, we are committed to growing this category and it was important for us to expand into areas in the footwear line that we previously were not able to access due to production constraints,” Carol Lim, co-founder of Opening Ceremony, told BoF. “With APS, we don’t run into those types of issues anymore.”

Opening Ceremony currently produces its footwear in-house, selling it through over 200 wholesale accounts. Going forward, sales and distribution will be done in collaboration with Aldo and the two companies will draw up a new wholesale network of speciality boutiques and international partners.

Founded in 2002 by Carol Lim and Humberto Leon, the brand’s current designers and, since 2011, co-creative directors of French luxury house Kenzo, Opening Ceremony launched its footwear range in 2007. Until now, the company has operated a licensing agreement with Six London, the footwear licensing and wholesale operation founded by entrepreneur José Neves, who went on to launch online fashion destination Farfetch.

“We feel there is a perfect alignment between Opening Ceremony’s design leadership and APS’s unmatched production capabilities,” said Nicholas F. Martire, vice president of Aldo Product Services. “Opening Ceremony is without a doubt one of the most inspiring brands of our time, and its success is a true testament to Carol, Humberto and the incredible team they have built.”

Today’s news is part of the company’s wider plan for expansion, fuelled by investment from Boston-based firm Berkshire Partners and Urban Outfitters chief executive Glen Senk, who together took a minority stake in the brand and retailer last April.

Launched as a single store in New York, Lim and Leon originally conceived Opening Ceremony as a retail ‘olympics’, featuring emerging designers from a different country each year, alongside US designers such as Alexander Wang and Proenza Schouler.

Today the company has stores in New York, London, Los Angeles and Tokyo, and the Opening Ceremony brand, which began life as a line of hooded sweaters, has expanded into apparel, accessories, fragrances and childrenswear, with plans to cross over into beauty.

“Opening Ceremony is one of the most inspiring and exciting brands today,” added a spokesperson for Aldo Group. “They are always leaping ahead, and everyone looks to them for guidance and inspiration.”

Credit: Business of Fashion