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Chaiken is done with New York.
This story first appeared in the July 28, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Julie Chaiken, chief executive officer, designer and owner of the contemporary firm she founded in 1994, will close her New York showroom next month and move all operations to San Francisco, where the company is based.
Chaiken said that since she lives in San Francisco and has two small children, she made the decision to close her New York office in order to spend more time near her home.
“It just got to be too much traveling and I didn’t want to be away from my family anymore,” she said. “The beauty of owning your own company is that I am able to make these decisions.”
The New York showroom, located at 580 Broadway, houses about 18 employees, all of whom are expected to leave the company. Chaiken said that while the details are still being worked out, she doesn’t think any employee will want to make the move to the West Coast.
Chaiken said she plans to hire more people in San Francisco to work out of her headquarters at 116 New Montgomery. She will also look into joining a multi-line showroom in New York, in order to keep some sales presence there. She plans to show her collections in New York during fashion week, but will not have a show this September since “there is just too much going on with the move.”
Chaiken said that although only a small amount of her production is done in New York currently, she plans to move everything to Asia.
“Being on the West Coast, we are closer to Asia, so it will be easier for us, and more cost effective to move everything to Asia,” she said.
Chaiken started the company 14 years ago as Chaiken & Capone in San Francisco, along with former co-owner Pam Capone. The company became known for its “best-fitting pants.” While the pants remain the brand’s signature, today the label offers a full collection of sportswear, outerwear, swimwear, maternity and eveningwear. Chaiken is sold in about 400 stores globally, including Saks Fifth Avenue, Macy’s West, Bloomingdale’s and Nordstrom.