NEW YORK — Now that the Calvin Klein, CK and DKNY outerwear licenses are in play with the apparent demise of the venerable Fairbrooke Enterprises coat firm, industry sources are buzzing about who will seize the names, as well as the importance of licensing in general.
The fallout from Fairbrooke and other developments also is signaling a new round of consolidation in the sector, which has shrunk considerably in the last decade or so by attrition and through mergers and acquisitions. Several warm winters in the late 1990s also did many companies in.
Industry sources said another veteran outerwear firm, Marvin Richards, has picked up the Calvin Klein and CK coat licenses. They also said S. Rothschild & Co. and G-III Apparel Group are leading contenders for the DKNY coat license.
Tom Murry, president and chief operating officer of Calvin Klein, only said it is close to announcing a new licensee and is evaluating fall coat deliveries. Marvin Richards executives did not return phone calls.
Jeanette Nostra, president of G-III, declined comment other than to say the publicly traded company is in a quiet period due to its pending earnings release. The company produces outerwear for such brands as Sean John, Cole Haan and Kenneth Cole, as well as several in-house brands and team licensing.
Executives at DKNY could not be reached for comment.
Mark Friedman, president and chief executive officer of S. Rothschild, said, “We have been talking to DKNY and have tremendous interest in the label. It would fit with what our company is all about, which is fashion. We’re looking to develop the upscale part of our business.”
In March, S. Rothschild & Co., a large, privately held outerwear firm with several branded and private labels, acquired coat maker MDP and the New England Mackintosh brand “to broaden our business in the lower and middle market tiers,” Friedman said.
Calvin Klein, CK and DKNY were produced by Fairbrooke, the 47-year-old firm that ceased operations last week, as part of long-term deals. But picking up one of the labels won’t guarantee large orders, and a source said volume for those lines had diminished considerably in recent years.Once news of Fairbrooke’s demise spread, retailers started looking for replacement fall outerwear, even though Calvin Klein Inc., purchased by Phillips-Van Heusen this year, has not revealed fall shipping plans. Instead of introducing new labels to their stores, some said they would increase buys with existing vendors that have proven to be successful with their shoppers.
Last month, Oscar de le Renta signed a licensing deal with Fleet Street to produce outerwear for department stores and specialty stores under the Oscar by Oscar de la Renta label, said Alexander Bolen, director of corporate development. The designer’s outerwear and rainwear will debut next fall. The collection will have one tier that retails between $600 and $1,000 and is sold to stores like Saks Fifth Avenue, and another tier that retails between $450 and $800 and is sold to such stores as Lord & Taylor and Macy’s, said Eliza Reed Bolen, vice president of licensing.
Other big names like Ralph Lauren, Michael Kors and JLo by Jennifer Lopez are reportedly shopping for coat deals.
“There must be at least a half-dozen names up in the air,” said one executive who asked not to be named. “None of them have hit the ground yet.”
Ron Gallo, president of Donnkenny Coats, which has the license for Bill Blass outerwear and rainwear, said, “We’re players in the coat market. We’re constantly looking to expand our reach.”
This spring, Donnkenny purchased Rose Cloak, Gallo’s family’s business, which has had the Blass license for the last four years. Donnkenny then folded the Blass portion under its umbrella.
“The coat market is very specific,” Gallo said. “We have built from scratch a brand new label with the help of Bill Blass Ltd.”
Ira Schwartz, president and ceo of Free Country, one of the few outerwear makers that does not have any licensed lines, said, “That’s the name of the game today. Licensing has become a big part of the outerwear business. We’re one of the few companies that is trying to brand ourselves.”
@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