NEW YORK — The streetwear brand Artful Dodger will soon be acquired by Iconix Brand Group, DNR has learned. According to market sources, the deal is expected to be completed by midweek. Artful Dodger will take on Iconix’s typical model, which includes licensing out the brand to a third party, but founder Scott Langton is expected to stay on.
Launched in late 2005 by Langton, an ex-Sean John design director, and his business partner, Richard Wu, Artful Dodger is sold at specialty retailers like Karmaloop.com and Metropark. The upscale streetwear brand’s design story revolves around the adventures of a fictional 19th-century English rogue, and is known for its colorful embroidery and intricate details.
The acquisition would up Iconix’s brand count to 13, including its most recent purchase of Official Pillowtex last month, for $231 million in cash. Following that deal, Iconix chairman and CEO Neil Cole said, “We make sure we do good deals, not just any deals. There are some interesting opportunities for this year and we continue to be acquisitive.”
Adding Artful Dodger to its portfolio of brands would represent a larger push for the company into the young men’s market. Last year, Iconix purchased the surf apparel company OP, which will launch at Wal-Mart in spring ’08. Iconix also acquired Jay Z’s hip-hop apparel brand, Rocawear, for $204 million in April of this year.
Plans for the brand are unknown, although Langton recently told DNR that he is seeking out licenses for categories, including outerwear, and plans to launch women’s wear in fall ’08
Neither Artful Dodger nor Iconix would comment for this article.