PARIS — Zadig & Voltaire has forged a venture with I.T Ltd. to expand the contemporary, rock-chic French fashion label in China, deepening ties with its historical partner in the region.
“We have been working hand-in-hand for over 10 years and we share a common vision of how to take the business in the region to new heights,” said Jean Jacques Guével, chief executive officer of Zadig & Voltaire, of the jointly owned venture in which each partner will own the same amount.
“We believe that we can elevate the brand’s presence to the next level in our market,” added Kenny Chan, ceo of I.T China.
The Hong Kong-listed company has distributed Zadig & Voltaire apparel in the region since 2008, starting with Hong Kong before taking it to mainland China. It operates seven Zadig & Voltaire branded boutiques as well as store space dedicated to the label in its multibrand boutiques.
I.T, which counts annual sales above the $1 billion mark, sells clothing from hundreds of international brands, including high-end European labels, along with its own labels, such as streetwear brand A Bathing Ape, and licensed brands through more than 850 points of sales, including the Beijing flagship of the French department store Galeries Lafayette. It started out as a shop in Hong Kong that introduced new brands to locals, before moving into mainland China.
Zadig & Voltaire, which is just over 20 years old, has embarked on an expansion drive lately, recruiting a new chief financial officer last month, Arnaud Louet, and also naming him deputy ceo. The label pulled in Kate Moss for its fall advertising campaign, which features her in a trim leather jacket with slightly tousled hair, meant to project the look of an “off-duty” model. Moss and designer Cecilia Bönström collaborated on a project slated for release in the fall.
Investment from U.S.-based private equity and buyout firm TA Associates six years ago has helped fuel expansion in the U.S., and the firm last year mandated Rothschild & Cie to find an additional investor.
In May, founder Thierry Gillier revealed plans to buy loss-making cashmere label Lucien Pellat-Finet, known for brightly colored sweaters with marijuana leafs and skulls, and appoint Pellat-Finet to Zadig & Voltaire’s board.
Zadig & Voltaire generates revenues of around 300 million euros a year, and is present in 30 countries.