NEW YORK — Mark Badgley and James Mischka, in a joint venture with footwear licensee Titan Industries Inc. and apparel licensee MJCLK LLC, have acquired the rights to the Badgley Mischka trademark and other Badgley Mischka IP from Iconix Brand Group for $16 million in cash.
“It’s really been our quest to own the brand again and control all the nuances that go into a business today. We missed a lot of those things and making certain decisions,” Mischka told WWD. They had been negotiating for about six months.
“We have had a productive 11 years working with the Iconix team to build Badgley Mischka from its red-carpet origins to a full lifestyle luxury brand,” added Badgley. “We are excited to manage our core product categories in-house on the luxury aspect in both product and image.”
Badgley Mischa, which has been in business 27 years, has developed into a lifestyle brand. Known for their simple, streamlined and elegant designs, the designers’ products now encompass eveningwear, day dresses, sportswear, outerwear, bridal, swimwear, footwear, handbags, eyewear, and timepieces. Among their celebrity clientele are Madonna, Jennifer Lopez, Sharon Stone, Jennifer Garner, Julia Roberts, Kate Winslet, Helen Mirren,Taylor Swift, Sarah Jessica Parker and Carrie Underwood. The collection is sold in such stores as Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, Harrods and Harvey Nichols, in addition to the Badgley Mischka flagship in Beverly Hills.
“We intend to capitalize on the strength of our women’s couture and ready-to-wear collections, and especially the success of the shoe collections, to further this partnership with Titan, a company with tremendous expertise in the luxury market,” added Mischka. “The core values of Badgley Mischka have always been luxury and timeless glamour; buying the brand back in this partnership will provide the basis to develop these attributes in a modern and exciting manner.”
Joe Ouaknine, cofounder and chairman of Titan, said, “As the long-time footwear licensee, I have always had a special affinity for the brand, as well as Mark and James as the eponymous designers.” He added that he was happy to help them to regain ownership of their namesake brand.
Titan, founded in 1998, by Ouaknine, holds the footwear licenses for such brands as Charles Jourdan, Lamb by Gwen Stefani, Joe’s Jeans and Daya by Zendaya, in addition to Badgley Mischka.
The designers noted that Titan has been their largest and most successful licensee (besides apparel), and when they were trying to put a deal together, they turned to them first. “It’s really a natural for us to team up. He loves our brand,” said Mischka of Ouaknine.
MJCLK was founded in 2008 by Badgley, Mischka, Christine Currency, Lara Piropato and Kimberly Lee-Siu to be the apparel licensee for the Badgley Mischka brand. The company is responsible for the design, sales, manufacturing and distribution of Badgley Mischka Couture, Badgley Mischka Collection and Belle Badgley Mischka worldwide.
The company has developed a strong business overseas, selling in the Middle East, China, Germany, Italy, France and the United Kingdom.
Now that they own the business, Badgley said that they plan to look at their core categories and expand where it makes sense. They would like to get back into the jewelry business and would also like to relaunch a fragrance. They would also like to expand retail.
Mischka said their decision to buy back the business had nothing to do with Securities and Exchange Commission investigation into Iconix’s accounting practices. “Our discussions started before anything happened with them,” he said. “They were terrific. They encouraged us to be more than red carpet, $10,000 ballgowns. They believed in our expansion and it’s been a huge help to our business. It’s become much more of a lifestyle brand.”
The designers declined to reveal the company’s current volume.
The designers met at the Parsons School of Design and started their business in 1988. In 1993, Badgley Mischka sought financial support to bring the company to the next level and joined forces with Escada. In October 2004, Iconix acquired Badgley Mischka from Escada.
The designers said they closed on the deal Monday night “and were sort of in shock.” They said they planned to celebrate Tuesday night before taking the collection to Paris to show retailers.