By  on August 2, 2007

Imitation of Christ founder Tara Subkoff is seeking to sell the label to pair the manufacturing, advertising and distribution expertise of a strategic partner with her design talents.

The brand has gained recognition for its edgy clothes and runway shows, but has struggled to keep up with demand. Shipments of the fall-winter collection have been canceled. Subkoff started the line in 2000 with Matt Damhave, who exited the business in 2001.

"Unfortunately, it has gotten too big for me to manage on my own," Subkoff said. "It has been very 'Wizard of Oz,' the man behind the curtain. Everybody thinks it is this big thing, but it is actually just me."

Subkoff confirmed that Imitation of Christ has not been profitable this year, but declined to disclose specifics. She reported interest from one "large company" and "several individuals," but cautioned that a potential buyer would have to look beyond the balance sheet to properly evaluate Imitation of Christ.

"Because we did one-of-a-kind for so long, it doesn't make sense for a company in terms of a business strategy to look at numbers — they have to look at what it is worth in terms of being known," she said.

The boldest of Subkoff's plans is a capsule collection developed with the retailer Bebe called Tara Subkoff for Bebe. Launching for spring-summer 2008, she described the looks as "super wearable, really sexy and modern."

In addition, Josh Sparks, former chief executive officer of Sass & Bide, has teamed with Imitation of Christ to introduce a diffusion line called Imitation. Subkoff said the line is being released to a limited number of boutiques for fall-winter, and wider distribution is expected in the spring-summer season.

Subkoff has no plans to exit the brand entirely. However, she is willing to consider a variety of roles, from creative director to brand ambassador, depending upon the needs of the buyer.

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