By buying back his name and intellectual property from Kellwood, Adam Lippes aims to return to his roots.
This story first appeared in the June 28, 2012 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
The parting, which ends a two-year union, required months of negotiating, according to Lippes. The designer also bought his way out of the noncompete clause.
In February, Lippes will relaunch his signature Adam Lippes collection, as well as women’s and men’s basics under the Adam label. There will also be a small assortment of bags and belts. The designer said the Love Adam collection for HSN will no longer be produced.
Lippes said he plans to have an intimate presentation rather than a runway show for his return. Now that he has experienced having the financial might of a major conglomerate, he is ready for a more simplified approach to business. To some degree, he aims to recapture the spirit of how things were when he started his company seven years ago.
“We’re not interested in the very big commercial business where more is more, more, more. I want to go back to how we started out, which was more about friends and family. I want to go back to almost taking the ego out of it,” he said. “I want there to be an appreciation for what we do. The business had lost its charm and intimacy.”
Lippes and his three-person design team (including two whom he has worked with for years and recently traveled with to India) are now based in a Wooster Street studio. “We are able to really think about the brand and do it as we think it should be instead of having all of these other big voices coming and telling us what to do,” Lippes said.
After joining forces with Kellwood two years ago, the companies’ cultural differences made it difficult to integrate the New York-based small designer company with the St. Louis-grown brand marketer, Lippes said. But former Kellwood ceo Michael Kramer’s exit was the tipping point. “Mike was really trying to invigorate the company and do different things,” Lippes said. “It was challenging to integrate the two companies after Mike left. When they took over production, they wound up shipping very late. We were coming from two different places — a New York-based designer and St. Louis-based brand marketer.”