Giles Deacon Expanding Business

The critically acclaimed designer Giles Deacon plans to grow his label, Giles, with a new production and distribution deal.

LONDON — Giles Deacon is ramping up business, with a new production and distribution deal he hopes will quadruple the sales of his label and give him a broader international reach.

This story first appeared in the May 12, 2009 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Deacon, one of London’s most critically acclaimed designers, has inked a deal with Castor Srl, the Mantova, Italy-based manufacturer that launched and produced 6267 until last year.

“At a certain point, we took a step back and asked ourselves: ‘What do we want this business to be?’ Deacon told WWD on Monday. “The answer was a big business, with on-time deliveries, proper pre-collections, and a bigger distribution network.”

Deacon said he expects turnover to rise from just over 1 million pounds, or $1.52 million, to 3 million to 4 million pounds, or $4.5 million to $6 million, in the medium term. All figures have been calculated at current exchange.

He said the plan is to expand his overall collection and increase distribution from about 38 stores to 120 to 140 stores. Current wholesale clients include Barneys New York, Harvey Nichols, Dover Street Market and Luisa via Roma. He is also in talks with Castor’s Picozzi family to take a minority stake in his label “within the year,” he said.

Deacon and Castor have already begun working together, and their first collection will be resort, which launches at the end of June. He said up to 90 percent of the collection will be made by the Italian company, with the remaining 10 percent — mostly runway pieces — coming from his London studio. Until now, Deacon has been producing the collection in-house in Italy, France and the U.K., and wrestling with the usual cash flow and manufacturing issues of small, self-financed designers.

Angela Picozzi, whose family owns and runs Castor, said Deacon was a natural choice: “We love his style, his taste — and his personality. Ours is not a 9-to-5 job: This business is part of the fabric of our lives, and Giles is a lovely person to be working with,” she said.

Picozzi added since the partnership with 6267 ended last year, the company had been hunting for a new designer. Castor also manufactures and distributes a collection for the Milanese designer Gabriele Colangelo, and produces an in-house line called Mantu’, designed by Gigi Vezzola. “We’re a small company, but we’re very committed to our product, and we do so much of our work by hand. Since our relationship with 6267 ended, we felt there was still huge potential for us, and went looking for new talent,” she said.

Castor is no stranger to the complexities of constructing luxury clothing: The company makes prototypes for such companies as Chanel, Aquascutum and Valentino.