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Massif, a men’s wear collection that combined technical fabrics and features with a contemporary fashion attitude, will be shuttered this week.
This story first appeared in the April 3, 2013 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Scott Branscum, a veteran of Eddie Bauer, Cutter & Buck and Perry Ellis, who was brought on board to get the line off the ground, said Massif’s parent company pulled the plug so it could focus on its core business, which is outfitting the elite U.S. forces of the CIA, SWAT teams, Coast Guard rescue swimmers, special ops and backcountry firefighters with flame-retardant apparel.
“It was a late decision,” he said, citing the “shrinking military” expenditures and the company’s increasing reluctance to continue to fund a start-up.
Branscum said he will personally phone the retailers who had committed to carry the collection for fall, including Bloomingdale’s, which launched the collection last September, as well as Saks Fifth Avenue, Amazon and Lord & Taylor, the latter of which was going to install a shop for the label at its New York flagship. The line was also going to be carried in The Bay and specialty stores including Fred Segal and Mitchells, Branscum said.
He said his team — which includes Chris Donohue, formerly of Woolwich, Zegna Sport and John Varvatos, as vice president of sales — as well as a production and sourcing person and a marketing executive, will stay together in hopes of “telling the story” somewhere else. “I think we were really onto something,” he said of the “high-tech” collection, which boasted moisture management and antimicrobial properties as well as stretch and 3-D ergonomic shaping.
The Ashland, Ore.-based Massif was founded in 1999 by two entrepreneurs whose adventures included rock climbing and rescue missions. The company was acquired by Tactical Holdings and its private equity partner, Golden Gate Capital, in 2009. It has annual sales of about $100 million.