Earnest Sewn co-founders Scott Morrison and Eleanor Ylvisaker exited the company on Tuesday. Morrison was creative director and Ylvisaker was public relations director, and the duo were the public faces of the denim maker they launched in 2004, along with Lori Jacobs, who left the company as head of sales in March of last year.
“In a very amiable way, there was a difference of opinion on the direction of the company,” said Michael Press, president of Earnest Sewn. “Scott and Eleanor did an outstanding job creating an iconic brand and an ideology within the company, but taking that concept and the brand to the next level is something the company’s been struggling with for a long time.”
Earnest Sewn’s founding trio, along with early investor Patrick Assaraf, sold a controlling stake in the company in January 2008 to an investment group lead by Brian Cytrynbaum, a Montreal-based entrepreneur who owns T-shirt maker Majestic Mills. The deal injected new capital, but as part of the agreement Morrison gave up his president title and responsibilities to focus on the creative aspects of the brand. Cytrynbaum installed Press, a veteran of AG Adriano Goldschmied and Paige Premium Denim, as president.
Morrison and Ylvisaker are retaining their minority stakes in Earnest Sewn — as do Jacobs and Assaraf — and declined to comment about their departures.
“I think they’ve lost the heart and soul of the brand,” said Sam Ben-Avraham, president of Project Global Tradeshows and owner of the Atrium boutiques in New York and Miami, both of which carry Earnest Sewn. However, he plans to continue stocking Earnest Sewn in his stores.
Morrison, Ylvisaker and Jacobs launched Earnest Sewn five years ago after working together at Paper Denim & Cloth. The brand gained quick traction with an aesthetic focused on historical denim references and authentic Americana. Some of Morrison’s duties as creative director will now be assumed by Ben Smith, who has been at the company for two years and will be appointed design director. Other duties will be assumed by Melissa Freeman, the company’s director of merchandising.
Earnest Sewn is currently distributed in 530 specialty accounts, as well as Barneys New York, Bloomingdale’s, Saks Fifth Avenue and Nordstrom doors. The company also operates three retail stores in New York’s Meatpacking District, Lower East Side and in L.A.’s Malibu Country Mart. A lease for a fourth store on Beverly Boulevard in L.A. was signed in January 2008 but build-out permits are still being sought.
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast