LOS ANGELES — Eric Kim has resigned as designer and chief executive officer of Monarchy, the men’s premium denim and sportswear brand owned by HMX LLC.
This story first appeared in the January 11, 2010 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Kim, 37, who founded Monarchy six years ago, said, “It was just time to move on.” He declined to elaborate.
Before departing Los Angeles-based Monarchy on Wednesday, Kim said he created enough collections for the brand to release through the end of the year.
When Kim sold the brand to Hartmarx, the predecessor to HMX, in 2007, Monarchy generated annual sales of $20 million and employed 70 people. He said current sales total about $30 million, but the number of employees had dwindled to about 25 because of the weakened economy and duplication of responsibilities.
Last January, Chicago-based Hartmarx filed for bankruptcy protection. In June, London-based Emerisque Brands and SKNL North America B.V. won the auction to buy Hartmarx out of bankruptcy for $128.4 million, which included $33.5 million in liabilities. After the announcement of its new ownership, Hartmarx lost three key executives: Glenn Morgan, chief financial officer; Paulette Garafalo, group president of the luxury group, and Susan Falk, group president of women’s.
HMX was formed as a new company, taking over the brands and operations formerly under the Hartmarx umbrella.
Kim said the bankruptcy proceedings and corporate restructuring affected his health and work.
“I come from a creative background,” Kim said. “I know what it’s like to be creative. It needs to be a free environment. It’s not so much [HMX] didn’t allow [Monarchy] to become that. They were going through a bankruptcy. Through that time, there were a lot of problems and a lot of stress with that. It held us back.”
HMX didn’t return a call to seek comment.