NEW YORK — Outerwear company Andrew Marc has completed a recapitalization with financing from GB Palladin, the investment arm of Gordon Bros. Group. Terms were not disclosed.
“It is the right time in our business, and in the world at large, to work with a partner,’’ said Suzanne Schwartz, vice president at Andrew Marc. “Business is riskier these days and you have to expand in different directions….We’re basically one owner and we wanted to share the risk as we move into new categories.”
Andrew Marc does 60 percent of its business in leather and fur, and 40 percent in other fabrics such as nylon and wool. About 55 percent of the business is men’s wear, with 45 percent in women’s. That ratio may change as Andrew Marc expands into new categories.
Mark Schwartz, president of Gordon Bros. Group, who is not related to the owners of Andrew Marc, said, “We are making a major equity interest in the company. With our interests in consumer products companies across the board in manufacturing, wholesale and retail, our knowledge can help [company founder Andrew Schwartz] and Suzanne take Andrew Marc to the next level. They get all the benefits of having a strategic investor and still get to run the company as well as retain a large percentage ownership in their company.”
Mark Schwartz said the opportunity to invest in Andrew Marc is a good one for GB Palladin and met its investment criteria.
“Very few firms maintain the integrity of a brand for 24 years,” he said. “The company has a clean distribution, and great recognition throughout specialty and department stores. We heard they were interested in taking on a partner and there are a lot of opportunities on expanding the brand.”
Andrew and Suzanne Schwartz will run the firm on a day-to-day basis, while GB provides advice on strategies to expand product lines and extend geographically.
Unlike many other private equity investment companies, GB doesn’t have an exit plan for its investment. The financial firm tends to hold on to its holdings long-term, looking more for growth than some competitors that prefer flipping their stakes for a quicker return on their equity holdings. GB Palladin’s past investments include Restoration Hardware, Spencer Gifts and Laura Secord, Canada’s premier chocolate brand and retailer.“GB has good knowledge of retail and apparel, which is unique among financial firms, and they will get to work with a talented management team at Andrew Marc to expand the brand,” said Frederick Schmitt, an investment banker at Los Angeles-based The Sage Group, who represented the apparel firm.
Schmitt said he anticipates more apparel firms to connect with financial and strategic partners.
Suzanne Schwartz disclosed that the first product extension will be in accessories, with a focus on handbags, business cases and wallets. Andrew Marc is developing the plan for the accessories market. It doesn’t have any licensees now, but considers that an option for select products in the category.
She said that the firm’s price points for outerwear are between the mid-price range and luxury, and the addition of accessories could mean a new group of consumers.
Opening retail prices for Andrew Marc are $300 for a nylon jacket and as much as $2,000 for shearling. Wholesale prices are about 40 percent less. Prices at retail for the Marc New York collection start at $150 and run as high as $800, with wholesale 40 percent lower.
The company hasn’t determined what the prices will be for its accessories line, but is banking on the same distribution that the two brands now have. Andrew Marc is sold primarily at Saks Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdale’s and Neiman Marcus. Marc New York can be found in Marshall Field’s, Lord & Taylor, Macy’s and Nordstrom.
Accessories in the Andrew Marc collection is to launch in fall 2006, with Marc New York accessories a year or two later. The company expects to ramp up its staffing during spring 2005 to prepare for the fall launch. After accessories, sportswear is the next possibility on the agenda.
“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