Derek Lam RTW Fall 2019

Reducing its New York ranks, Derek Lam has handed out pink slips to 10 staffers.

The New York-based company had a team of 65 prior to the layoffs. A spokeswoman for the designer declined to identify which job titles or individuals are out of work. The label’s creative director, knitwear designer and product development manager were said to have been dismissed.

The spokeswoman said Lam’s mainline collection continues to go forward, disputing claims to the contrary. The designer’s secondary label, Derek Lam 10 Crosby, will also go forward, she said. As for the company’s scaling back of employees, that was “just something that needed to be done at this time,” the spokeswoman said.

Lam did not respond to a request for comment Monday and his business partner, Jan-Hendrik Schlottmann, deferred comment to the spokeswoman.

The cost-cutting comes only a few weeks after Lam received strong reviews from WWD and Vogue for his fall 2019 collection.

For the second consecutive season, Lam opted not to stage a runway show or presentation. For fall, the designer decided on one-on-one appointments with private mini-shows that WWD described as “extremely civilized and a bit haute couture. But the set-up in his New York showroom spotlighted “terrific, modern city clothes,” according to WWD’s Alessandra Turra. Double-breasted coats with internal padding, mannish flannel pants with a hyper-feminine draped blouse and a black cocktail frock with a sharp cut on the back were in the mix. The lineup showcased the best face of American fashion with its authenticity and practicality updated with creative twists. Turra wrote, “Straightforward yet gracious, realistic yet exciting, the lineup showcased the best face of American fashion with its authenticity and practicality updated with creative twists.”

The designer’s secondary line drew inspiration from Ali MacGraw’s character in the 1970 film “Love Story.” The collection’s design director Shawn Reddy did not respond immediately to an e-mail Monday afternoon.

Lam’s use of color was a highlight among the fall collections for Nicole Fischelis, consultant and former group vice president and fashion director at Macy’s.

In December, the Derek Lam beauty license was acquired by the Premiere Group. At that time, the designer’s beauty business consisted of the Derek Lam 10 Crosby scent collection. Although terms of the deal were not disclosed, as of the end of last year industry sources estimated the business generated about $2 million in sales. Premiere’s plans include developing a higher-end fragrance that would be more in line with Lam’s premium fashion label that is slated for spring 2020, according to a WWD report that cited Brian Vander Meyden, executive vice president of global marketing at Premiere.

While media companies like Condé Nast, Vice and Gannett have had a healthy number of layoffs in recent months, reductions have not been as rampant with designer companies. Opening Ceremony and Banana Republic are among the apparel brands that tightened up their respective staffs last year.


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