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Camuto Unit Acquires Development Clothing

VCS Group, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Camuto Group, has acquired a majority stake in Development Clothing LLC, a contemporary apparel brand designed...

VCS Group, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Camuto Group, has acquired a majority stake in Development Clothing LLC, a contemporary apparel brand designed by Erica Davies, who will stay on as creative director.

This story first appeared in the December 3, 2007 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

A minority stake in the firm remains in the hands of Development’s founding partners, Andrew Crane and Stuart Gaddis, and Davies, who has been designing the line since early last year.

The goal with New York-based VCS as the parent for Development is to grow it into a full lifestyle brand by adding product categories such as footwear and accessories.

“The brand has a great position in the contemporary women’s marketplace,” said Vince Camuto, chief executive officer of the Camuto Group. “We don’t want it to be huge, but the design sensibility of the brand is a great format for growth into new categories.”

Camuto declined to specify the brand’s annual volume, but said it was “in the teens,” or somewhere between $13 million and $19 million. He and Bob Galvin, president of the company, said they plan to grow the product within the high-end specialty doors that already sell Development, which include Barneys New York, Henri Bendel and Fred Segal.

“There is tremendous growth potential overseas,” Galvin said. “It has a small presence now in Asia, the Middle East and in Europe, but we feel we can really grow our overseas distribution.”

Development, based in Los Angeles, has been in business for five years. The company has two brands, Development by Erica Davies, which wholesales for $70 to $525, and a higher-end dress collection called Erica Davies Collection, which wholesales for about $300 to $700.

The Camuto Group designs, develops and distributes women’s footwear, which is sold in more than 5,400 doors worldwide. The company also owns the Vince Camuto and Arturo Chiang brands, and is the master licensee for the Jessica Simpson collection. In addition, Camuto develops and manages the Antonio Melani and Gianni Bini brands, and holds the footwear license for BCBGirls, BCBG Max Azria and Nicole Miller.