By  on August 11, 2010

Denim brand Evisu is closing its New York office and Scott Morrison, the company’s chief executive officer and creative director, is exiting the firm, WWD has learned.

Evisu will move its headquarters back to Hong Kong, where parent company Bestford Ltd. is headquartered. Morrison moved the base of operations to New York when he joined the company in May 2009.

Morrison, a denim industry veteran who previously co-founded the Earnest Sewn and Paper Denim & Cloth labels, had undertaken an ambitious strategy to expand and energize the brand in the U.S. with updated designs. However, after just two seasons, the brand’s owner, hedge fund Indus Capital Partners, which holds a majority stake in Bestford Ltd., has decided to pull the plug on theU.S. business as a cost-cutting move, said sources.

Along with Morrison, senior staffers were notified Monday afternoon of the decision and their employment was terminated by representatives of the parent company, who flew in from Hong Kong. Among those let go were women’s wear designer Catherine Holstein, chief operating officer Roy Chan, associate creative director Miguel Hurtado and vice president of wholesale Jamee King. A handful of junior staffers remains to wind down the New York operations. The company did not offer severance packages, according to a source.

Reached for comment, a spokeswoman for Evisu stated: “The brand is closing its New York office and will move its headquarters to Hong Kong. Scott Morrison has decided to step down as creative director and will not be relocating to Hong Kong to continue his role with the company.”

The spokeswoman added that fall product will ship to retailers, but that the future of the business in the U.S. following the current season is up in the air. Morrison declined to comment on his departure.

The Evisu brand was founded in Japan, which remains its largest market, and in 2006 Bestford acquired the rights to the brand in all regions outside of Japan.

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