Dov Charney teased followers to “stay tuned.”
And the American Apparel founder and former chief executive officer apparently wasn’t just talking. Chad Hagan, managing partner and group president of Roswell, Ga.-based investment firm Hagan Capital Group, said he and Charney are currently working on a new apparel company that sounds very much like a rival to American Apparel.
The new endeavor is a basics brand for men and women that will be manufactured entirely in the U.S. and will begin with a focus on developing the wholesale channel, according to Hagan.
“What’s important to us now is we’re able to form this new venture and put Dov at the helm and we’re going to do basics again,” Hagan said. “We don’t want to just start with some funny, online brand. We’re going to do what Dov does best and then establish a robust e-commerce system. But we will not be debuting just as an online retailer.”
Charney, reached by phone Monday, declined comment and has dodged requests for interviews since last year, citing the amount of pending litigation he’s now involved in as it relates to his firing. Last month, the ceo allowed WWD into his Silver Lake, Calif., mansion for photographs and gave an impromptu tour of the concrete fortress known as the Garbutt House, but once again declined any on-the-record questions.
Hagan Capital — along with Silver Creek Capital Partners — went in with Charney late last year in an attempt to buy American Apparel and reinstall the founder into a leadership position there. The last offer totaled roughly $300 million and was ultimately rejected by the company. An attempt to stall American Apparel’s bankruptcy process via an objection by Charney to the company’s plan for reorganization was struck down by a judge in January.
Charney has been angling to find a way back into the firm since his late 2014 firing for what the company cited as “cause.” Charney has argued in multiple lawsuits since that time that he’s been the victim of proxy fraud and his firing was a way to rid the company of him in order to sell it.
That he was able to find allies to go in with him on a bid is a bit of a marvel considering the mud-slinging that occurred throughout 2015, a year that saw protests outside of headquarters, including one that involved a piñata of current ceo Paula Schneider, along with leaked texts and video painting Charney in a less than flattering light.
That didn’t deter Hagan, who said he was well aware of what had been written and said about Charney before reaching out to the retail executive’s financial adviser, Cardinal Advisors, last year about working on an offer for the company.
“Dov is a colorful ceo, but we’ve been witnessing a lot of emotions from both sides in this bankruptcy,” Hagan said.
The attempts to buy back the company late last year were a last-ditch effort to get Charney back into the doors of American Apparel. Things could change once the company emerges from bankruptcy, when Hagan said there’s potential for another go at American Apparel.
“We’re actively exploring it. We are on that path,” he said. “It can take a long time. It’s to our benefit to continue watching American Apparel.”