Sarah Rutson, chief brand officer at The Collected Group, has exited the role, according to market sources.
A high-profile figure as vice president of global buying at Net-a-porter.com, Rutson joined The Collected Group in mid-2017 as part of a bid to widen the group’s international reach and expand its brand portfolio via acquisitions.
The Vernon, Calif.-based company is known for the melding of Parisian chic and Southern California casual cool at its contemporary labels Joie, Equipment and Current/Elliott.
Officials from the firm could not immediately be reached for comment.
Contacted by WWD, Rutson said she plans to pursue a range of projects, some with a sustainability bent.
“I wanted to utilize all my 360-degree experience for my go-forward,” she told WWD. “I will be working with a French designer brand in Paris, a direct-to-consumer brand in the U.S., a large group in China, along with a new and exciting project with a hotel group in London. These are among the diverse opportunities I didn’t want to miss.”
She declined to name her future clients, but said she would split her time between the U.S., London and Hong Kong to maintain a global perspective. “I wanted to work with brands that are ready to agitate the norms and be open to disruption,” she said, adding, “I’m passionate about sustainability and working with brands that are making and taking responsibility for authentic strides in being ‘environmentally conscious and sustainable’ as part of their go-forward strategy.”
Rutson stressed that building brands means harmonizing all dialogue, consumer touch points and marketing, taking into account performance-based analytics and the importance of the digital channel.
“Today’s consumers are all global because of online visibility and access. Monobrands today need to bite the bullet and start to refine their wholesale distribution partners to be more in control of their brand dialogue,” she noted. “Brand and brand value are so important.”
A British national and a bottom-line type with a strong creative bent, Rutson is perhaps most associated with Lane Crawford in Hong Kong, where she was its longtime fashion director and a popular target for street-style photographers. She has more than 69,000 followers on Instagram.
The Collected Group, majority owned by private equity firm TA Associates, was previously known as Dutch LLC.
Founded in 1968 and headquartered in Boston, TA Associates holds investments across business services, consumer products, financial, health care and technology. Its fashion holdings include Zadig & Voltaire, accessories firm Cath Kidston, and skin-care specialist Paula’s Choice, according to its web site.