Gareth Pugh is waking up his dormant fashion brand, assuming complete control of his trademark and plotting a comeback as soon as this fall.
The London-based designer recently bought back the 49 percent of his trademark that he quietly sold in 2006 to Rick Owens and Owens’ Italian production partner Olmar and Mirta SpA, WWD has learned. Owens and his wife, Michèle Lamy, have long been enthusiastic cheerleaders of Pugh’s inimitable brand of tough, goth-tinged glamour.
Financial terms were not disclosed, and it is understood the separation was amicable and all parties remain close.
“I’m really excited to start a new chapter,” Pugh told WWD. “We’re in a moment where we’re all being invited to invent the future, so for me it’s important to be part of that cultural conversation now more than ever.”
Asked about the development, Owens said: “Every designer should own his own name and I’m glad we were able to be any kind of help when he needed us. Gareth and [his husband Carson McColl] are family, and I love that we were all married for a minute. But we always will be.”
Pugh said he’s aiming to present a collection in some newfangled way in September, with the format and manufacturing set-up still a work in progress.
A consummate showman, Pugh is known for gripping runway shows — often with a futuristic, dystopian edge — and for being a pioneer with fashion films that are equally intense. One, shown on the biggest screen in Europe at an IMAX theater in 2017, merged fashion, choreography and clay in ways both gruesome and gorgeous.
Hailing from the coastal city of Sunderland in northern England, Pugh studied fashion design at London’s Central Saint Martins, graduating in 2003 and garnering attention from the fashion world for his sculptural, otherworldly designs.
Pugh met Owens and Lamy during an internship at Revillon, the furrier that brought Owens to Paris. Pugh launched his signature brand at London Fashion Week in 2006, after having participated in the group show Fashion East the year prior.
He won the prestigious ANDAM Fashion Award in 2008, and subsequently showed his collection in Paris, London and New York.
Pugh took a hiatus from fashion after his spring-summer 2019 show in London to focus on Hard+Shiny, a creative studio he founded with McColl in 2018. It has worked with artists such as Christina Aguilera, Nicki Minaj and Cardi B, and has collaborated with the New York City Ballet, the Opéra Garnier in Paris, the Dutch National Opera and The Royal Opera House in London.
Last year, Pugh and McColl directed their first feature-length documentary — titled “Soul of a Movement” and devoted to queer resistance in the U.K. — and launched a major collaboration with Richard Branson’s Virgin Voyages.