Ennio Capasa

MILAN — After 30 years at the helm of the company they found in Milan in 1986, Ennio and Carlo Capasa are exiting Costume National.

The Apulia-native brothers have sold the remainder of the company to Japanese-Chinese investment bank Sequedge, which first acquired a 17 percent stake in 2009. Details of the transaction were not disclosed.

“With contrasting feelings, we end the incredible creative process of this unique maison, hoping that the future will bring it more and more successes,” said Carlo Capasa, who held the role of chief executive officer. “We will continue following our passion through new creative initiatives.”

“Today I look ahead. I want to try to tell a new story with the same passion and the same engagement which I had over these years,” said Ennio Capasa, who in the span of 30 years developed a unique style rooted in a minimal, modernist look infused with a rock ’n’ roll spirit. “Someone says that fashion is over, that marketing is king and that everything else is an illusion. I don’t think so, I am and I will be a passionate visionary.”

Ennio Capasa cut his teeth at Yohji Yamamoto in Tokyo before returning to Italy to found Costume National with his brother. In 2014, Ennio Capasa collected episodes from his personal and professional life into a book, titled “A New World.”

“I deeply respect the decision of Ennio and I am sure he will successfully take over new challenges and will continue to revitalize his vision and tell his timeless story,” Carla Sozzani, founder of Milan retailer 10 Corso Como, said.

In 2004, the Capasas established the C’N’C Costume National denim and sportswear brand, which was produced under license by troubled Italian manufacturer Ittierre SpA. The label was discontinued in 2014, partially because the company couldn’t register the original C’N’C Costume National brand in China. Two different local companies — Italy CNC Dress Co. Ltd. and Nuohe — registered the brand there before the Milan-based firm. Costume National won lawsuits against the two companies last May.

In December 2014, Ennio Capasa teamed with artist Marina Abramović to design the clothes worn by the attendees of the artist’s performance at The Art of Elysium’s annual “Heaven” gala. Most recently, the designer realized a range of stage costumes for the successful tour of Italian pop-star Jovanotti.

According to a market source, Costume National — which currently operates stores in Milan, Rome, Tokyo, Fukuoka and Hong Kong — has been battling headwinds for the last few years. “Even if the brand was well positioned in key markets, sales volumes were too small,” she said, adding that the sale process might have been accelerated by the fact that Carlo Capasa is also is ceo of the Camera della Moda and thus plays a key role in the Italian fashion industry.

“What happens to Costume National makes even more clear how extremely difficult it is for a medium-sized company, especially if they are focused on wholesale like Costume, to remain independent and survive without a strong investor.”

Sequedge was not reachable for comments on Tuesday.

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