LONDON — Roksanda Ilincic could become the latest London designer to part ways with a longtime investor after Eiesha Bharti Pasricha confirmed that she’s hired Deloitte to conduct a strategic review, and is open about selling her majority stake in the company.
“We’d been approached for years about selling the shares, and there’s been a lot of interest in the brand,” said Pasricha, who took a minority stake in 2014, and helped grow the business by adding product categories such as handbags, small leather goods, jewelry and sunglasses.In a 2016 interview, Pasricha told WWD she did not invest in Roksanda with a vision to exit in three to five years, private-equity style. “I’m looking to create an asset here; I’m in it for the long haul,” she said at the time.
No one from Roksanda was available to comment. The Times of London reported on Monday that Deloitte had been hired to conduct a strategic review of the business.
Roksanda generates around 10 million pounds in annual revenues and the company is set to break that barrier soon partly due to the new business categories, according to sources. The label is a rarity in that sense: Many London designer businesses hit the 10 million pounds threshold and then struggle to grow further without the working capital to scale.
The industry in general is rife with brands and designers looking for the investors to make that growth happen.
On Monday, Proenza Schouler designers Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez confirmed that a new group of private investors had bought back their company in its entirety for the purposes of investing in growth and developmental strategies. The purchase saw the exit of Castanea Partners and other investors.
Roksanda is chiefly a wholesale business stocked internationally at retailers including Net-a-porter, Matchesfashion.com, Farfetch, Selfridges, Harvey Nichols, Lane Crawford, Bergdorf Goodman and Nordstrom.
The designer is not wanting for high-profile clients: Former British and American first ladies Samantha Cameron and Michelle Obama have both worn Roksanda dresses with their arty colors and signature bell sleeves while First Lady Melania Trump donned a white Roksanda dress for the Republican National Convention in 2016. The Duchess of Cambridge, Penélope Cruz, Keira Knightley, Gwyneth Paltrow and Gillian Anderson have also been photographed wearing Roksanda.
Ilincic moved to London in the late Nineties to study for her master of arts at Central Saint Martins under the late Prof. Louise Wilson. She laid the foundations of her business with luxury ready-to-wear, later adding swimwear and a children’s line called Blossom.
The designer is a nominee for British Designer of the Year Women’s Wear at the Fashion Awards, which will take place in London next month. She won the Red Carpet award at the annual ceremony in 2012.
Asked in 2016 why she chose to put her money behind the label, Pasricha told WWD she was “very keen to take on the risk of nurturing a young, British designer in particular, and Roksanda attracted me right from the get-go.”
Following the investment, Roksanda opened a shop on Mount Street in Mayfair near to fellow London designer Christopher Kane, who is parting ways with his backer Kering after five years.
At the same time, the designer hired the brand’s first chief executive officer, Carmela Acampora. According to Companies House, the official register of U.K. businesses, Acampora left her post earlier this year, and the departure is understood to have been amicable. The ceo role has not yet been filled.
Roksanda isn’t Pasricha’s only London fashion and lifestyle investment. Earlier this year she took a stake in British designer label Fyodor Golan and has invested in the eyewear brand Zanzan and in the flower delivery service Flowerbx.
She was also the backer of Jonathan Saunders’ business. Three years ago Saunders and Pasricha decided to wind down the company, with the split understood to be friendly and the best decision for both parties. Saunders retained his name and the intellectual property belonging to the brand.