Farfetch appears to be making good on its word to become something like the Netflix of fashion.
According to published reports, Farfetch’s New Guards Group has acquired the Opening Ceremony trademark and intellectual property, with the intention of taking over production of Opening Ceremony’s in-house line.
Executives at Farfetch and Opening Ceremony couldn’t be reached for comment Monday evening.
New Guards Group was founded in 2015 by cofounders Claudio Antonioli, Davide De Giglio and Marcelo Burlon. The company was acquired by Farfetch in August for $675 million.
Opening Ceremony cofounders Humberto Leon and Carol Lim are expected to remain at the helm of the relaunched brand as co-creative directors.
Opening Ceremony is known for breaking the mold, acting as brand, retailer and collaborator all at once. Leon and Lim operate four multibrand, directional Opening Ceremony stores: two in New York (one at the Ace Hotel and one on Howard Street), one in Los Angeles (on La Cienega Boulevard) and one in Tokyo. What will become of the stores couldn’t be learned.
As reported, Farfetch shocked Wall Street in August when it bought New Guards Group, which holds the license for Off-White and is also responsible for Palm Angels and Heron Preston. It appears that Farfetch is eager to make its own content, a departure from its original platform connecting buyers and sellers online for a piece of the action.
“These things take time to settle, for people to digest them,” José Neves, chief executive officer and founder of Farfetch, recently told WWD about the New Guards Group. “We’re very, very excited with the acquisition. New Guards is a platform. They use common infrastructure and a comment model and modus operandi to launch a portfolio.”
Lim and Leon founded Opening Ceremony in 2002, having become friends at University of California, Berkeley. What began as a single store on a quiet street in downtown New York has grown into four stores, a wholesale showroom, an in-house clothing line, a blog and an e-commerce site.
In 2018, after laying off 23 employees, Lim and Leon said they were trying to ”streamline and be smart,” and take the right steps to “ensure the future” of the business. The cuts were across the board, including some on the design staff. Opening Ceremony took an investment in 2014 from Berkshire Partners, which had helped the company develop its operations. Berkshire was seen as being instrumental in helping to strengthen the back-of-house operations at Opening Ceremony, while also offering strategic insight. The company said last year that they had bought out Berkshire’s stake, and they were testing the market for a new investor.
Over the years, Opening Ceremony has found a following for its numerous collaborations, ranging from Disney and Vans to Chloë Sevigny, Columbia Sportswear, Birkenstock, Marmot and Jordan Brand x Russell Westbrook. Lim and Leon won the Cooper Hewitt Design Award for Fashion Design in 2016.
Last July, Lim and Leon departed from Kenzo, where they had been creative directors since 2012, to focus on their U.S.-based Opening Ceremony store chain and fashion label. During their tenure Leon and Lim repositioned Kenzo as a contemporary label, revived key archival signatures like the embroidered tiger and launched collaborations with everyone from Vans to fast-fashion retailer H&M.