Gryphon, the contemporary label Aimee Cho and Andrew Rosen founded in 2006, is shuttering. This fall is the last season the New York-based company is shipping merchandise to retailers.
This story first appeared in the September 16, 2013 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Cho cited slowing sales as a key factor in the decision to close the company. “There comes a time when either a line takes off or it plateaus. And I don’t think we ever reached our taking-off point, for whatever reason,” she said. “The marketplace is so crowded. It took a lot of soul-searching.”
About 50 retail accounts carried Gryphon in recent seasons, including key partners Saks Fifth Avenue and Shopbop.
Rosen — who is global chief executive officer of Theory and Helmut Lang, units of Fast Retailing Co. Ltd. — had exited his 50 percent ownership in Gryphon last September. Rosen is a savvy investor in fashion brands and holds stakes in Proenza Schouler, Rag & Bone and Alice + Olivia.
Cho bought back Rosen’s share of Gryphon and then sold it to another investor, Los Angeles-based Armen Gregorian, who also holds a stake in A.L.C., the label Andrea Lieberman founded and designs. Gregorian was previously ceo of Twelfth Street by Cynthia Vincent.
Cho said it was an amicable and mutual decision between herself and Gregorian to wind down Gryphon.
Cho originally launched Gryphon, with Rosen’s backing, following a six-year stint as a fashion writer at Vogue. The company was conceived around the concept of the perfect trenchcoat and then expanded into a full collection, with an aesthetic that tied back to the classic raincoat. More recently, the company had pulled back on other categories to focus once again on outerwear.
Cho said she is already working on a new women’s apparel venture with a group of partners. She declined to provide details but said the new brand will launch in the spring.