Knitwear maker By Design LLC has acquired a majority stake in David Kahn for more than $10 million and hired a new chief executive officer for the premium denim label.
This story first appeared in the June 10, 2010 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
By Design, a New York-based manufacturer that generates annual volume of $200 million in private label tops sold at retailers, including Nordstrom, Kohl’s and J.C. Penney, purchased the trademark and assets of Los Angeles-based David Kahn. It now owns a 90 percent stake in the firm, which was founded in 1999 and tallies annual sales of $15 million at more than 1,100 doors in the U.S. and Canada. Kahn and his manufacturing partners, Orosman and Ricardo Vizcaino, retain 10 percent in the company.
With the new ownership and an injection of cash for sales and marketing, David Kahn has hired Ron Perilman, a former senior vice president at Not Your Daughter’s Jeans, as president. Perilman’s wife, Jill, was named head designer to work with Kahn, who remains the design director at his namesake company. In addition to launching the women’s brand Jolt at Kellwood Co. and designing at Tarrant Apparel Group and Bella Dahl, Jill Perilman owns Denim Head, a denim trend forecasting service.
Ron Perilman, who has more than 30 years of apparel experience at French Dressing in Canada and City Girl Inc., said his goal is to grow David Kahn as a coveted denim brand among Baby Boomers.
“I believe the Baby Boomer really wants premium jeans,” Perilman said. “The young gal that was 21 to 28 doesn’t have the disposable money to spend on premium that she had in the past. Once women are established in the world, they can go for more premium jeans. I’m going after that marketplace.”
Perilman said he plans to expand the distribution for David Kahn jeans, which retail for $158 to $198, to Europe, Japan and high-end retailers such as Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue. Nordstrom is David Kahn’s biggest account.
After adding knit tops and sweaters retailing from $39 to $99 for fall, Perilman is spearheading a marketing campaign that will promote David Kahn online, on billboards and in magazines such as Vogue, Vanity Fair and InStyle.
“Now we have the money to really go out and tell the world what this brand is,” Perilman said.