NEW YORK — IMG’s fashion team was not spared from this week’s news that the group is in the midst of laying off 3 percent of its worldwide workforce.
Nine percent of IMG’s global fashion team — “mainly support staff and junior management” — were axed, according to an IMG spokesman, who on Thursday declined to quantify the size of the entire team.
Catherine Bennett remains as managing director of IMG Fashion Events & Properties, and Sara Maniatty continues as senior vice president and director of designers and brands. Both executives joined IMG last year, after working for the CFDA.
While the conglomerate’s international operations in Asia and Europe are being downsized, more layoffs in the fashion division are not planned at this time, the spokesman said.
This week’s shakeout stemmed from William Morris Endeavor, with the backing of the private equity firm Silver Lake acquiring IMG for $2.4 billion earlier this year. The layoffs focused on “redundant roles,” he said. WME reportedly planned to slice $151 million in costs from IMG once the deal was finalized.
The streamlining comes at a time when IMG is gearing up to reimagine Mercedes-Benz New York Fashion Week, which will relocate to an undisclosed venue after the February shows. In recent seasons, there has been increased grumbling among designers and attendees about what some have described as an overcommercialized trade-show-like lobby and a logistically challenged space at the fashion-week tents at Lincoln Center. WME’s Ari Emanuel and Patrick Whitesell are said to be heavily involved in the repositioning of the fashion division.
While speculation has swirled about fashion week moving into the $50 million Culture Shed in the yet-to-be-developed Hudson Yards project, no formal announcements have been made, and that area is not expected to be completed until 2017 or 2018.
For now, the IMG fashion team is focused on the upcoming February shows, which are expected to feature about 91 designers and brands at Lincoln Center. “For February, everything is status quo,” the IMG spokesman said.