The Wall Street Journal “Heard on the Runway” blog highlights a new fashion industry trend, in which designers behind influential labels look to expand their business without selling their name entirely. The designers want to avoid problems faced by Helmut Lang, Jil Sander, and Joseph Abboud, who were banned from using their names after parting from new owners. The story cites a few examples: Proenza Schouler sold 45% of its label to Valentino Fashion Group SpA and Narciso Rodriguez sold a 50% stake in his name to Liz Claiborne Inc. Also, Peter Som is close to a deal where NRDC Equity Partners would take a 65% stake in a new company that would license Som’s name.
As many cases may confirm, including Project Runway star Jay McCarroll’s homeless stunt in which he held a “will design for food” sign, talent is not enough. This new trend could enable designers to find the appropriate funding for growth without compromising control or image.
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