Velvet, a contemporary casual collection, has received an investment from private equity firm Snow Phipps Group in exchange for a “significant” stake in the company.
Details of the transaction were not disclosed. Velvet’s chief executive officer, Henry Hirschowitz, will remain with the company. Also staying are its designers, Jenny Graham and Toni Spencer.
The collection is sold in high-end doors such as Bergdorf Goodman, Bloomingdale’s, Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue. The firm’s Graham and Spencer collection is the priciest of the three, while Velvet has the largest distribution. The company’s Velvetmen men’s wear collection is the smallest of the three lines.
Snow Phipps operating partner Andrew Megibow will join Velvet as non-executive chairman. Megibow was formerly chief operating officer of Ellen Tracy Inc., and is the grandson of Ellen Tracy founder Herb Galen. Under Megibow’s 15-year tenure, Ellen Tracy’s revenues grew to $200 million from $40 million.
Hirschowitz said the timing was right to seek an investor to grow the brand. “There is significant growth opportunity for Velvet in expanding the company into possibly retail and licensing. With the help from Snow Phipps, Velvet is well-positioned with its infrastructure to ride the recovery in the economy.”
In addition to a domestic presence, Velvet is sold internationally in Europe, Canada, Japan, Australia and New Zealand. It currently does not have any retail or licensing operations.
Ian Snow, managing partner at Snow Phipps, said, “This transaction represents our firm’s first foray into the apparel industry despite having spent a number of years searching for an ideal investment candidate.”
According to Megibow, Snow Phipps made the investment because it was impressed with Velvet’s infrastructure, which could “support additional add-ons and brands.” He said Velvet also met the private equity firm’s other criteria for an investment: “Velvet is an authentic brand. It has both creative talent and a strong executive team.”
Frederick Schmitt, managing director of The Sage Group, the investment banking firm that advised Velvet, said the brand, in the market for about 12 years, is currently distributed in specialty boutiques and, through a distribution partner, at high-end stores outside the U.S. “The product has been very successful in its current distribution, and with Andrew [Megibow’s] help, they have the opportunity to take the brand beyond where it is today,” the banker said.
Investment banker William Susman at Susman LLC advised Snow Phipps in conjunction with Financo Inc.
Susman said, “We think the combination of the historic market presence of Velvet with the capital and management resources of Snow Phipps make for a great combination to grow the Velvet brand and build from this platform a thriving apparel franchise.”
@tradesy is turning the concept of a showroom upside down with its new space in Santa Monica. Here, the company plans to hold events, art exhibits and a showcase rare fashion pieces like this Louis Vuitton boxing set. Get all the details on Tradesy’s first showroom on WWD.com. #wwdnews
Spotted last night at the @erdem x @hm launch event: Kate Bosworth, Rashida Jones, Kirsten Dunst and Selma Blair. The party, which took place in LA, also marked the opening of their pop-up shop. “I was interested in creating a collection that wasn’t in any way disposable. It was about pieces you’d create and keep forever, things that have a permanence to it,” designer Erdem Moralioglu said. #wwdeye (📷: Katie Jones)
Renee Zellweger in yellow in 2001 and again in 2017. Chosen as one of the 12 @pantone Leading Spring Colors (and dubbed “Meadowlark”), it only makes sense that the bright hue stands the test of time and is making a resurgence this season, seen already on stars like @blakelively and @gigihadid. (📷: Donato Sardello & @rexfeatures) #wwdfashion #tbt
Dior’s 70th anniversary celebration continues with a new exhibition at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. “Christian Dior,” which is scheduled to run through March 18, takes a look at the founders tenure from 1947 to 1057 and feature 40 designs. Pictured here is an evening gown from the Ailée, fall 1948-49 haute couture collection. #wwdfashion (📷: Brian Boyle)
As one of the most recognizable models in the world, Christy Turlington Burns has an insider’s view of the fashion industry and the allegations of sexual harassment swirling around it. “I can say that harassment and mistreatment have always been widely known and tolerated in the industry. The industry is surrounded by predators who thrive on the constant rejection and loneliness so many of us have experiences at some point in our careers,” Turlington told WWD, along with her suggestions for how the modeling world should protect younger women and men. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: Tony Palmieri) #wwdnews
@asics America has tapped a new brand ambassador: famed DJ/record producer @steveaoki. This initiative is intended to set the tone for the new brand identity and philosophy and will include partnerships with influencers and in-store and off-line activations that will continue into next year. This is Asics’ most significant marketing effort in two decades, and is expected to attract younger consumers to the brand. #wwdfashion
24-year-old Jean Prounis is redefining the rules of jewelry. Formerly a studio assistant to Jemima Kirke and a design apprentice at Ghuran, she focuses on handcrafted subtleties and ancient goldsmithing techniques. “There was a really sterile feel in the environment and I wanted to have jewelry with character that shapes how you wear it everyday,” Prounis said. Each piece is hand made in New York, either by Prounis or three other jewelers in the district. #wwdfashion
“These collections continue to build on that vision, empowering differently abled adults to express themselves through fashion,” said @tommyhilfiger of his line of adaptive apparel, which launches today. The line consists of 37 men’s and 34 women’s styles based upon the pieces from the spring Tommy Hilfiger sportswear collection. #wwdnews