After months of searching for new business partners, Jhane Barnes has struck a deal with AW Chang Corp., which has acquired a 50 percent stake in the business.
This story first appeared in the January 11, 2010 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Terms were not disclosed.
Under the partnership, AW Chang will manufacture and market Jhane Barnes collection sportswear, neckwear, dress shirts and hosiery through its men’s apparel division, Excalibur, a vertically integrated company that produces neckwear and dress shirts under license; Barnes will continue to head design. The business will now be known as Jhane Barnes Collection.
The deal ends a period of uncertainty for the company, which had been looking to restructure since early last year. Over the summer, Barnes said she was looking for stakeholders, and was considering bids from two different parties.
At that time, Excalibur was named as the licensee for Jhane Barnes neckwear and ties. “But we soon learned that our company had the financial, sourcing and manufacturing capabilities to give Jhane what she needed,” said Warren Katz, president of both the new Jhane Barnes Collection and Excalibur.
“I used to have a licensing model, but since I’ve taken the collections in-house, I’ve had to spend more time on the business side,” Barnes said at the time. “I like design, not sales and figures.”
The partnership, which does not extend to Barnes’ home interiors and eyewear businesses, will give the brand the operational and sourcing muster it needs and provides Excalibur, best known as a private label manufacturer, a well-recognized brand. “It gives us diversity,” said Katz. “And a foothold in sportswear.”
The first Jhane Barnes product made by Excalibur will hit stores for Father’s Day. In addition, the company plans to bring back tailored clothing, which skipped the fall 2009 and spring 2010 seasons, as well as the brand’s diffusion line, Frequency.
Jhane Barnes’ signature digital print sportswear is sold in 300 doors, including Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus and Von Maur.