Individualized Apparel Group on Tuesday said it has signed a definitive agreement to purchase substantially all the assets of Coppley Corp., the Canadian custom clothing manufacturer owned by the bankrupt HMX Group.
According to court papers, the purchase price was $3.5 million and the agreement is subject to court approval in the U.S. and Canada.
The privately held IAG, which owns Oxxford Clothing, H. Freeman, Corbin, Tom James, Gitman, Individualized Shirts and the Holland & Sherry textile business, among others, has built its business on custom apparel production and direct selling. It owns seven factories in the U.S. and another in Chile and boasts that it is the “largest purveyor of luxury men’s apparel still manufacturing in America.” Its volume is estimated at about $300 million, not counting the Tom James retail business.
“Coppley has a tremendous reputation in the marketplace,” said IAG president and chairman Joe Blair. “They have worked diligently to build great loyalty from their customers both in Canada and the U.S. We have admired them for years as a worthy competitor and we are excited to have them join our IAG team of companies.”
Blair said Warwick Jones, executive chairman of Coppley, will remain on board along with the company’s entire 400-person management and factory team. “We’re not making any changes to the business,” he said. “It’s well run, it was just lacking capital.” The factory in Hamilton, Ontario, will be retained. “We are factory people,” Blair said. “We are the last of a vanishing breed, but we make it work. The custom and luxury business is quite good and all of our factories are doing well.”
Jones said the Coppley team is relieved to find its white knight. “This is a very happy day for us and our employees,” he said. “It had been an emotional roller coaster. But IAG has a similar culture and thinking — they get custom, and they also value relationships with retailers. We’re primarily a specialty-store operation.”
Jones said Coppley’s business is 40 percent custom, 40 percent off-the-rack and 20 percent in-stock and its ability to turn around a custom garment in seven days is “our DNA. Coppley has produced tailored clothing continuously since 1883. We are proud of our Made in Canada heritage. This arrangement will provide us the expertise and financing to restore the Coppley business.”
While the sale of Coppley sorts out one issue in the bankruptcy of HMX, Workers United, the union representing factory employees for the group, isn’t happy with the “stalking horse” proposal to sell intellectual property assets to Authentic Brands Group and have the Doug Williams-controlled entity run the operations. Williams is the chief executive officer of HMX.
Last week, lawyers for the union filed an objection to the proposed bid in Manhattan bankruptcy court, claiming that the proposal is “flawed because it would breach critical worker job protection provisions” in the existing union contract for the Rochester and Chicago plants. Union workers at all three factories, including the Coppley factory, comprise a total annual payroll of $21.5 million owed by HMX under the collective bargaining agreement, court papers said.
Among the chief complaints is that the union contract is not identified in the bid as an obligation to be assumed by the acquirer. More specifically, the union noted that the licensee, the Williams-controlled entity, “may offer” employment to union workers, leaving open the possibility that the operating business might exercise its option to decline employment to existing factory workers covered by the union contract.
Since the IP assets are being separated from the operating business under the proposed deal, the union argued that if the IP owner and the operating unit fail to agree on a licensing agreement, those existing factory jobs can be licensed to another group not covered by the union agreement. However, according to Williams, “The operating company that will be set up will be assuming all the union collective bargaining agreements and we’ll be operating both factories in Chicago and Rochester.”
The final hurdle that Workers United raised is that the structure of the proposal has doomed the production component of the business. Its position in court papers was that a minimum royalty fee of $8.5 million for years one and two, followed by a $9.5 million fee in subsequent years, suggested that to meet the royalty payments the operating unit will likely look for cost savings that hurt union workers, whether from “outsourcing to low-wage foreign producers or reductions in wages and benefits in the production facilities.”
HMX on Monday received bankruptcy court approval on its bidding procedures for the auction that could bring a better offer than the one on the table from Authentic Brands Group. Sources this week said the two parties are in the midst of negotiating the license agreement and one change is an agreement that allows for four 10-year terms instead of the proposed three five-year terms that were originally filed with the bankruptcy court last month.
“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
“Stranger Things” is getting a new cast member for season 2. Meet @sadiesink_, the 15-year-old who will be joining the Netflix series for its new season. You may recognize her from “The Glass Castle” with Brie Larson and Woody Harrelson, but the Texas native’s next role goes in an entirely different direction. She describes her character, Max, as “a rough and tumble skater girl [who] becomes friends with the boys at school.” The second season debuts on October 27. (📷: @jgreenery) #wwdeye
Amid the Harvey Weinstein controversy, there’s another sector that’s being put under the spotlight for sexual abuse: the modeling industry. While rumors about abuse and sexual harassment of female and male models — and the photographers, agents and others who perpetrated it — have circulated within the fashion world for years, model @cameronrussell started posting stories from models on Instagram last week about abusive situations they’ve encountered — from sexual harassment and molestation to attempted rape. Over 75 have weighed in so far. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdnews
To celebrate its 16th anniversary, @dylanscandybar tapped designers and celebrities to create mosaics out of candy. The mosaics will be auctioned off to support the philanthropic cause of each participant’s choice. Pictured here is the mural created by @aliceandolivia's Stacey Bendet. For a first look at some of the other artwork being unveiled tonight, go to WWD.com. #wwdeye
The annual Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic in Pacific Palisades this weekend drew Kate Hudson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Laura Dern and more. See pictures of the star-studded event on WWD.com. (📷: @chelsealaurenla) #wwdeye
In his new book “Hollywood Royale,” Andy Warhol’s Protégé Matthew Rolston celebrates the Eighties revival of Hollywood glamour. Featuring more than 100 portraits taken by Rolston from 1977 to 1993, the book contains photos of icons like Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, and @drewbarrymore, pictured here in 1991. “Hollywood Royale,” out today, will be accompanied by an exhibition opening at Los Angeles’ Fahey/Klein Gallery on March 1. #wwdeye
"Nowadays when life is not so happy with everything going on in the world, I think people come to me for a little bit of whimsy and color and fun." - Designer Rebecca De Ravenel on her cult-favorite jewelry line. (📸 : @vsteves) #wwd40
“Everyone is talking about how the retail industry is struggling, but I think it’s an incredible time because brands who are doing something different and innovative are setting themselves up for the future,” said @adamgoldston, who founded the luxury athletic brand @apl with his brother @ryangoldsten. The Goldston’s are part of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables. See the rest of the list on WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
@eyeswoon blogger Athena Calderone debuted her first-ever cookbook, “Cook Beautiful,” which is heavily centered on the presentation and visual expression of food. Pictured here are her miso glazed carrots from the book. Get the recipe on WWD.com. (📷: @johnny_miller_) #wwdeye