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Payless Launches New Teen Brand, Brash(TM), and Sierra Kusterbeck, Lead Singer of Alt-Rock Band VersaEmerge, as Iconic Brash Girl

New Brand, Perfect to "Collage" an Independent, Edgy Look, to Launch Aug. 9 -- Just in Time for Back-to-School Season

TOPEKA, Kan., July 14, 2011 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ --

Payless ShoeSource announced today its new teen brand, Brash(TM), a line of edgy affordable footwear, accessories and beauty items perfect for girls wanting to create their own independent style. The retailer also announced its partnership with musical artist Sierra Kusterbeck, lead singer of alt-rock band VersaEmerge, to serve as the iconic Brash Girl -- the face and voice of the new exclusive-to-Payless brand to inspire others to invent their own Brash fashion looks.

(Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20110714/CG35314)

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20060627/CGTU040LOGO-b)

The Brash brand will launch in early August in all Payless stores nationwide and Payless.com, as well in Canada and Puerto Rico and will feature about 120 on-trend shoe and accessory items for teens including footwear in women's and youth girls' sizing, handbags, jewelry, hair accessories and beauty products including fragrances and makeup that can be styled and collaged together to create a unique and edgy look. In keeping with Payless' mission to democratize fashion for all to enjoy, pricing is affordable and ranges from beauty items starting at $3 and jewelry and hair accessories for $6 to $25 for shoes and $45 for boots. Pricing on average is below $20 an item and the line is expected to be refreshed seasonally throughout the year.

"Brash helps us complete our teen brand portfolio with a wide array of affordable on-trend shoe, accessory and beauty items for the spontaneous and playful teen shopper who wants to stand out from the crowd and experiment and invent her own independent style," said LuAnn Via, CEO of Payless. "Sierra is a Brash Girl and she embodies the brand's personality -- she has a unique tough-yet-girlie style, is tremendously creative with her music and fashion and is a perfect picture of Brash style. We are thrilled to have found Sierra and believe she is a great fit to help us inspire girls to create their own Brash looks."

To support the new brand, in early August Payless is launching http://www.brashgirl.com, a site dedicated to the new brand and featuring the full shoppable collection, as well as background information on Kusterbeck and video from her recent European tour including clips of VersaEmerge's music. Kusterbeck will also be featured in the Brash ad campaign launching in traditional and digital media in early August and in the Public Relations and Social Media programs supporting the new brand. A range of VersaEmerge songs will also be used by Payless to support the campaign. Additional terms of the deal were not disclosed.

"I am thrilled to team up with Payless on Brash," said Kusterbeck. "I personify a Brash Girl both on and off the stage, and I am excited to inspire others with my role as the face and voice of Brash. I often have girls approach me and ask 'where did you get that?' and now I can say 'at Payless,' which for me is really powerful because the Brash brand can help them achieve the bold style they are after because of its affordability and accessibility. My favorites in the fall line are the Ollie combat boots and the Josie peep-toe wedges -- they are sick styles and I wear them a lot and with many different outfits. The beauty items like the eye shadow roller-ball and the lip stain are also amazing."

"I love what Payless is doing in general to democratize fashion and this is the first cool, edgy line that's affordable, which is great for teens. For them, affordable is the best word ever!"

About Sierra Kusterbeck of VersaEmerge

An emerging singer and song-writing talent, 20-year-old Kusterbeck is a native of St. Petersburg, FL, and lead singer of the alt-rock band, VersaEmerge, based out of Port. St. Lucie, FL. She collaborates with band mate Blake Harnage to write and perform original songs including the powerful tracks Fire (Aim Your Arrows High) and Figure It Out from the band's full-length album "Fixed at Zero." This debut album showcases their passionate pop rock style centered on vocalist Kusterbeck -- an unconventionally stylish presence both on and off the stage. She describes her style as a "laid-back rebel with energetic sass" and has an inventive approach to fashion. She has been known to cut the shoulders out of basic flannel shirts to expose a peek of skin, take necklaces and wear them as "hip jewelry," and adorn her boots -- a common footwear style worn by the singer because it makes her feel invincible -- with stud and feather earrings. Sierra cites her primary style influences as strong girl hero characters from movies and you can see it in her tough-girl vibe.

Earlier this year, Sierra and VersaEmerge toured the U.S. as part of the 2011 Alternative Press Tour and in June completed a UK Invasion tour where the band performed in intimate venues and music festivals across the UK and Western Europe. In Oct. the band is headed to Australia to perform. In 2010 Sierra and VersaEmerge were featured on MTV's World of Jenks and the band is continually highlighted on its record label Fueled by Ramen's YouTube channel, a popular YouTube channel with over 370,000 subscribers and 6.6 million channel views. The band has been featured for its up-and-coming status on the covers of such publications as Alternative Press and has a strong and growing Facebook and Twitter fan base. For more information on Sierra Kusterbeck, VersaEmerge and her role as a Brash Girl, please see http://versaemergemusic.com/ and http://www.brashgirl.com.

About Payless and Collective Brands

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 for all to enjoy. Payless offers customers a range of well-recognized brands such as Dexter®, Airwalk®, Champion®, Brash, Above the Rim® and Smart Fit®, as well as designer labels by Christian Siriano, Lela Rose, Isabel Toledo and Silvia Tcherassi. As of the end of 2010, the company operated nearly 4,500 stores throughout the Americas and an online store (www.Payless.com) and also has more than 60 franchised stores located in Asia, Eastern Europe and the Middle East.

Collective Brands, Inc. (NYSE: PSS) 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, focused on democratizing fashion and design in footwear and accessories through its nearly 4,500-store retail chain, with its brands Airwalk®, Dexter®, Champion®, Zoe & Zac(TM), the first-ever affordable green footwear brand, and designer collections by fashion designers Christian Siriano, Lela Rose, Isabel Toledo and Silvia Tcherassi; Collective Brands Performance + Lifestyle Group, focused on lifestyle and performance 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, the brand development, management and global licensing unit, with such youth lifestyle brands as Airwalk®, Above The Rim®, Vision Street Wear®, STRIKEFORCE(TM), Clinch Gear(TM), Sims®, Lamar® and LTD®, World Snowboarding Championships(TM) and Hind®. Information about, and links for shopping on, each of the Collective Brand's units can be found at www.collectivebrands.com.

SOURCE Payless ShoeSource