NEW YORK -- Todd Oldham is breaking his signature collection away from Onward Kashiyama, his sales agent, and moving much of his operation from the apparel district to SoHo.
"I have a real problem with this neighborhood," said Oldham, citing crime, litter and overcrowding in the garment district. "It's such a commotion to even go get your lunch. You might get run over by a ballgown. I've wanted to be in SoHo for a while, in a quieter area, and we found a great space. It's just beautiful."
The 3,000-square-foot loft on the third floor of 120 Wooster St., between Prince and Spring Streets, will house the showroom for the Collection and related accessories and Oldham's work space. The designer said he expects to be downtown by the end of next month.
Oldham has talked for a year or so about opening a store, and he acknowledged that he is close to signing an agreement for a space close to the new showroom. Asked if it was in the same building, Oldham conceded it might be.
"I can't say yet," he said. "But it will be right around there. We'll be able to announce something on that soon."
In the arrangement with Kashiyama, both Collection and Times 7 Todd Oldham, a secondary line, were sold out of Kashiyama's showroom at 499 Seventh Ave., and Kashiyama sponsored Oldham's two Collection fashion shows each year. Oldham and his staff also worked out of the Kashiyama space. In return, Kashiyama received a percentage of sales. Oldham has always emphasized that Kashiyama has no ownership of L-7 Inc., the parent company of Collection and Times 7, formed in 1988 by Oldham; Tony Longoria, vice president of marketing and sales, and Linda Oldham, the designer's mother. With the move downtown, Kashiyama will no longer be involved in the selling of Collection and will no longer sponsor Oldham's shows, said the designer. Production of the Collection will remain in Texas. Distribution of that line will be handled out of Oldham's new space.
Times 7, which has expanded during the last several seasons from a shirt line to a full collection, will remain at Kashiyama, Oldham said."We're all really committed to expanding Times 7," he said. "Kashiyama will be renovating the showroom to reflect in-store boutiques we expect to be opening this year." "I am very happy for Todd to open his own space and showroom," said Masahiko Todoroki, president of Kashiyama USA. "We have another agreement for Times 7, and we're pleased with that. We are investing a lot in Times 7 in things like the new showroom, which will not be like any other showrooms. It will be more like a Todd Oldham world."
Todoroki added that he expects Times 7 in-store boutiques to open in several key accounts, "ideally by this summer, but more likely, for fall."
Oldham and Kashiyama said they are negotiating to be partners in the opening of any Oldham boutiques outside New York. Oldham added that he expects the New York shop to be wholly owned by the L-7 partners.
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