NEW YORK — Kellwood Co. is in discussions with Johan Lindeberg to transfer ownership of BLK DNM, a move that would have the apparel firm retaining a stake in the business if an agreement is reached.
The negotiations involve the brand, stores in Stockholm and New York City and employees connected with the brand, according to Jill Granoff, Kellwood’s chief executive officer, in an interview Tuesday along with Marc J. Leder, Sun Capital Partners’ co-ceo, at Sun’s offices here. Granoff took over the ceo post earlier this month. An affiliate of Sun Capital acquired Kellwood for $762 million in February 2008.
While Lindeberg was known to be looking for an investor to help him take over and grow the BLK DNM (pronounced Black Denim) label, rumors surfaced in the past week that the business would be shuttered.
“We are not shutting it down,” Granoff emphasized, and confirmed that Lindeberg has indeed found a partner. The identity of that partner could not be determined at press time. Lindeberg declined comment.
He conceived the concept, a line featuring a European design aesthetic inspired by the culture of New York’s downtown community, and joined Kellwood in September 2010 as creative directive of BLK DNM to partner with the firm to bring his idea to fruition.
In the past, there was some discussions of possibly doing an initial public offering of Kellwood at some point down the road. While Sun Capital in the past has exited its investments via an IPO — it did that with value-priced department store retailer Gordmans Stores Inc. in August 2010, where it retained a stake, with Gordmans currently planning on a secondary offering — it has sold some investments as well.
“It really depends on the company. We’ve generally been more sales oriented, but with Kellwood it could go either way,” Leder said.
Granoff said she’s going to focus her resources on businesses that have the “greatest growth potential.”
If an IPO is a possibility, the company would likely be eyeing businesses that move the needle, more so than in a regular sale since it’s going to have to tell a good growth story for its road show to investors. That raises the question about the future of smaller brands in Kellwood’s portfolio, such as yoga-inspired brand Zobha and outdoor performance brand Isis, which would need capital to grow.
Those are two brands that Granoff still needs to evaluate, although the growth rate of Vancouver, B.C.-based firm Lululemon Athletica Inc. suggests that the athletic apparel market still has room for growth opportunities.
According to Leder, if Granoff concludes that the growth opportunities are there, “We’re happy to support a small brand.”
@tradesy is turning the concept of a showroom upside down with its new space in Santa Monica. Here, the company plans to hold events, art exhibits and a showcase rare fashion pieces like this Louis Vuitton boxing set. Get all the details on Tradesy’s first showroom on WWD.com. #wwdnews
Spotted last night at the @erdem x @hm launch event: Kate Bosworth, Rashida Jones, Kirsten Dunst and Selma Blair. The party, which took place in LA, also marked the opening of their pop-up shop. “I was interested in creating a collection that wasn’t in any way disposable. It was about pieces you’d create and keep forever, things that have a permanence to it,” designer Erdem Moralioglu said. #wwdeye (📷: Katie Jones)
Renee Zellweger in yellow in 2001 and again in 2017. Chosen as one of the 12 @pantone Leading Spring Colors (and dubbed “Meadowlark”), it only makes sense that the bright hue stands the test of time and is making a resurgence this season, seen already on stars like @blakelively and @gigihadid. (📷: Donato Sardello & @rexfeatures) #wwdfashion #tbt
Dior’s 70th anniversary celebration continues with a new exhibition at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. “Christian Dior,” which is scheduled to run through March 18, takes a look at the founders tenure from 1947 to 1057 and feature 40 designs. Pictured here is an evening gown from the Ailée, fall 1948-49 haute couture collection. #wwdfashion (📷: Brian Boyle)
As one of the most recognizable models in the world, Christy Turlington Burns has an insider’s view of the fashion industry and the allegations of sexual harassment swirling around it. “I can say that harassment and mistreatment have always been widely known and tolerated in the industry. The industry is surrounded by predators who thrive on the constant rejection and loneliness so many of us have experiences at some point in our careers,” Turlington told WWD, along with her suggestions for how the modeling world should protect younger women and men. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: Tony Palmieri) #wwdnews
@asics America has tapped a new brand ambassador: famed DJ/record producer @steveaoki. This initiative is intended to set the tone for the new brand identity and philosophy and will include partnerships with influencers and in-store and off-line activations that will continue into next year. This is Asics’ most significant marketing effort in two decades, and is expected to attract younger consumers to the brand. #wwdfashion
24-year-old Jean Prounis is redefining the rules of jewelry. Formerly a studio assistant to Jemima Kirke and a design apprentice at Ghuran, she focuses on handcrafted subtleties and ancient goldsmithing techniques. “There was a really sterile feel in the environment and I wanted to have jewelry with character that shapes how you wear it everyday,” Prounis said. Each piece is hand made in New York, either by Prounis or three other jewelers in the district. #wwdfashion
“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