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LONDON — Designers Graeme Fidler and Michael Herz have handed in their resignations at Aquascutum.
This story first appeared in the March 5, 2010 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
According to an industry source here, Fidler and Herz, head designers of the men’s and women’s wear collections respectively, are keen to move on to new projects. The designers could not be reached for comment Thursday.
Fidler has been with the company since 2002, and Herz since 2000, and during their tenure, the designers have been through a series of management changes. Last September, Aquascutum was purchased by Jaeger owner Harold Tillman and chief executive officer Belinda Earl from the Japanese company Renown.
Both designers have won praise for their elegant, sharply tailored, outerwear-focused collections. Herz’s fall collection, inspired in part by the moody seascapes of J.M.W. Turner, was a highlight of London Fashion Week.
“They’ve had a great time at the brand, but they want to move on, and we fully understand that,” Earl told WWD. “We wish them well, and the situation is amicable.”
Earl said Fidler and Herz would be replaced in due course, and there was a “strong design team” already in place. “They are working out their notice period, so for now, it’s business as usual,” she added.
Meanwhile, Earl said over the past six months she has been overhauling the management end of Aquascutum, which has been losing about 20 million pounds, or $30 million, annually. All figures have been converted at current exchange.
In November, she named Carolyn Springett brand director, in charge of buying, sourcing, merchandising, and design. Springett, formerly trading director at Jaeger, reports directly to Earl.
Earl has also set up a group management structure for the Aquascutum and Jaeger brands to manage back-of-house operations, and has put in place a new IT system to manage stockkeeping.
“We’re very confident about the future of Aquascutum, and we’re planning to expand the business through wholesale, retail, licenses and franchising,” she said.