NEW YORK — There are big changes going on at Fernando Sanchez. After 29 years of doing his own thing, the designer has sold the Fernando Sanchez name to Yala, a privately held investment firm. World Marketing, a manufacturing unit of Yala, will oversee production and business management of the Sanchez company. World Marketing contracts production to 30 factories in China and Italy.
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The Sanchez firm, which has had its design studio, offices and showroom at 5 West 19th Street for almost two decades, will move to 10 East 33rd Street next week. Following a capsule resort collection of women’s sleepwear and at-homewear in August, the company will show a full spring line in November and will expand the collection in March with several new styles and fabrics, including cashmere and silk, and a new lightweight silk and soy bean blend.
The men’s collection of sleepwear and at-home wear has been discontinued, but plans are to reintroduce a men’s line next year, as well as a secondary line of lifestyle pieces for women, said designer Fernando Sanchez.
Outlining why he decided to break away from his solo act, Sanchez, who founded the company that bears his name in 1979, said: “We were underfinanced and management was very weak. The industry has changed so much over the past 10 years. It came to a point that this decision was necessary and essential if I wanted to continue at this point in my life. I will continue to take care of the creative part.”
Neil Mossberg, director of business development at World Marketing, said: “Fernando just got mired down in the business side of his business. We will be leveraging all of our resources and offices worldwide to ensure there won’t be any delivery issues and enhance quality control.”
Mossberg said Sanchez will continue to have final approval on product and styles, noting, “Fernando still is the focus of the entire concept.” He added that the company also plans to stage Sanchez’s trademark fashion shows again once business is back on track.
Sanchez and Mossberg would not give figures, but annual wholesale sales at the Sanchez firm are around $5 million, according to industry estimates.
Sanchez, who studied design at the Ecole de la Chambre Syndicale in Paris with classmate Yves Saint Laurent and began his fashion career at couture houses Maggy Rouff and Christian Dior and furrier Revillon, is known for what retailers generally describe as “couture-quality” sleepwear and at-homewear. His trademark looks include long, easy robes and softly tailored pajamas of brushed-back satin and Moroccan-inspired caftans and loungewear in silks and cotton damask.
As for why he decided to sell his name and take in partners, Sanchez said: “There were terrible internal problems, but I didn’t want to retire. My work has very much been a therapy and I enjoy designing clothes. I don’t know how to do anything else.”
Regarding the firm’s former problems, Sanchez said: “I took a look at the books one day and I was blown away. The books didn’t make any sense. I personally lost about $1 million from my pocket. But the company is now being managed by very professional, honest and capable people, and I am happy again.”