Designer, Street-Style Icon Jeffstaple To Create Exclusive Airwalk Collection

OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASE – NEW YORK CITY, DENVER, Colo., and TOPEKA, Kan., Dec. 1, 2008 – Designer and street style icon, jeffstaple, chief designer of Staple Design, a visual communications and apparel design company based in New York City's Lower East Side, announced today a multi-year agreement for Staple to create exclusive Airwalk® seasonal collections for fall and spring exclusively available at Payless under the STPL™ 4 Airwalk® brand.

Staple, also owner and founder of Staple Clothing and Reed Space, defies a singular description as a creative talent in graphic, web, clothing and shoe design, as well as an artist, DJ, curator, sneakerhead, writer, entrepreneur, tastemaker, and arbiter of street style.  He has been heavily sought after for his creative influence by the likes of Nike, Burton, Apple Computers, The Gap and Sony Playstation, among other companies and brands.

"This collaboration with a designer of Jeff's stature and influence is tremendous for the Airwalk brand," said Bruce Pettet, president and chief executive officer of the Collective Licensing International, owner of the Airwalk brand.  "This alliance fits the brand's heritage and, more importantly, helps us continue to innovate and build the Airwalk brand with our target consumer."

The exclusive STPL™ 4 Airwalk® line will launch in fall '09 at about 400 Payless stores and Payless.com® and is expected to include as many as 12 original designs for men and women each season including new silhouettes and core Airwalk styles featuring mixed materials and contemporary, progressive details stressing streetwear and skate style.   The new line will sell for about $50 a pair.

"The Airwalk brand is America’s original skate and youth lifestyle innovator and it is very popular among shoppers of all ages," said LuAnn Via, president and CEO of Payless ShoeSource. "With this new alliance, we are able to infuse Jeff's unique design talent into the brand to create this exclusive collection.  We are thrilled to partner with Jeff on this new collection.  He has a pulse on youth culture and street style, and we are excited to see his creativity come through in this new Airwalk line."

Airwalk brand styling is inspired by boardsports, music and street culture.

"Payless is democratizing the latest ideas in footwear by making them accessible and affordable to all.  I am very excited to join in this philosophy and approach," said jeffstaple.  "When I was growing up and busting my butt trying to skateboard, Airwalk and the essence of the brand was such a huge influence.  The design Sneakerhead in me today is really excited to create fresh new silhouettes that embody the skate park and the street.

"What gets me most excited, though, is the reach of Payless. I feel like the age of '1-of-24' or '1-of-100' is becoming obsolete.   If you were a graf artist, you did the side of a train so everyone could experience your creation.  As a graphic designer, I want my works published and available for everyone to see. As a DJ, I want to play in front of the biggest possible crowd.  So why shouldn't this same philosophy hold true for sneaker design?  I am really looking forward to reaching this wider audience and having a larger impact as a designer. Thanks Payless!"

About jeffstaple and Staple Design
With his hands in just about everything, 33-year-old, Jeff Ng, aka jeffstaple, has masterfully created an entire world of communicating through design. Not known solely for his massive sneaker collection, the founder/owner of Staple Design, Staple Clothing, and Reed Space is a graphic, web, and clothing designer, artist, DJ, writer, entrepreneur, and is responsible for the design work for companies such as Nike, Burton, Gianni Versace, Royal Elastics, Triple Five Soul, The Fader Magazine, The Gap, Sony Playstation, and Apple Computers.

Staple Design is an independent, visual communications agency.  Its goal is to understand the relationships that exist between intriguing companies and their target consumers.  Formulating a straight-line channel of communication between the two is what the firm does best.  The team's strength lies in its mere existence. They research the consumer to the point where they actually become the consumer.  While most agencies begin the design process with "answers" or "solutions," they start with "questions".  For more information go to www.stapledesign.com.

About Payless

Payless ShoeSource, Inc., a unit of Collective Brands, Inc., is the largest specialty family footwear retailer in the Western Hemisphere and is dedicated to democratizing fashion and design in footwear and accessories and inspiring fun, fashion possibilities for the family at a great value. As of the end of the second quarter 2008, the company operated more than 4,500 stores.  In addition, customers can buy shoes over the Internet through Payless.com® at www.payless.com.

Collective Brands, Inc. (NYSE: PSS), headquartered in Topeka, Kan., is a leader in bringing compelling lifestyle, fashion and performance brands for footwear and related accessories to consumers worldwide. The company operates three strategic units covering a powerful brand portfolio, as well as multiple price points and selling channels including retail, wholesale, ecommerce and licensing. Collective Brands, Inc. includes Payless ShoeSource, also headquartered in Topeka, focused on democratizing fashion and design in footwear and accessories through its more than 4,500-store retail chain, with its brands American Eagle™, Airwalk®, Dexter®, Champion® and designer collections Abaeté for Payless™, Lela Rose for Payless™ and alice + olivia for Payless™, Patricia Field for Payless™, among others; Stride Rite, based in Lexington, Mass., focused on lifestyle and athletic branded footwear and high-quality children's footwear sold primarily through wholesaling, with its brands including Stride Rite®, Keds®, Sperry Top-Sider®, Robeez®, and Saucony®, among others; and Collective Licensing International, Englewood, Colo., the brand development, management and global licensing unit, with such youth lifestyle brands as Airwalk®, Vision Street Wear®, Lamar®, Sims®, LTD®, genetic®, Dukes™, Rage®, Ultra-Wheels®, and Skate Attack®.  Information about, and links for shopping on, each of the Collective Brand's units can be found at www.collectivebrands.com.