NEW YORK — After almost a year of speculation about the fate of Rocawear, founding partner Damon Dash, not co-founder Jay-Z, appears to be on the outside looking in.
Rocawear’s fall advertising campaign features Jay-Z rather than Dash, a person close to the company said. The ads were recently shot in Los Angeles by fashion photographer Mark Seliger.
“Look at the direction I’m going in, and look at the direction the company is moving in,” Dash said in an interview on Friday. “The new campaign is indicative of the way the company is going, and I had nothing to do with that campaign. You’ll have to call Jay-Z about that.”
He added, “The people who want it to go in the direction it’s going will stay involved. If it’s not reflective of where we’re going, we won’t be there anymore.”
Asked whether he would split from Rocawear, Dash said, “I don’t think it would be appropriate for me to talk about it in depth now.”
Dash and Jay-Z began Rocawear in 1999 as a co-venture with the Comet Group, the clothing manufacturer founded in 1984 by Russian investors Alex Bize and Norton Cher. The four partners each have a 25 percent stake in the firm.
Jay-Z couldn’t be reached for comment.
Industry analysts estimate Rocawear generates wholesale volume of at least $125 million a year. It has women’s licenses with Signature Apparel Group, Brandon Thomas Designs Inc., M. London, Gina Group and Colors in Optics.
If Dash gave up his ties to Rocawear, would Rachel Roy, his wife and creative director for Rocawear’s women’s and children’s apparel lines, follow his lead?
“She’ll do whatever’s in the best interest for her,” Dash said. Roy also designs an eponymous line that was created under Dash’s conglomerate, The Roc, the $500 million firm that includes apparel labels such as Team Roc and State Property for men.