FASHION CROWD: Elizabeth Emanuel, the designer who’s best known for creating Princess Diana’s wedding dress with her ex-husband David in 1981, has turned to crowdfunding to finance her current label’s expansion. Emanuel has launched a page on the site Crowdcube.com, in a bid to raise 750,000 pounds, or $1.2 million, which represents 22.7 percent of the equity in the business, that will add to private investment to fund the relaunch of her Art of Being label (the designer lost the right to design under her own name to an investor in the Nineties).
The designer has also taken on Andrew Marshall as chief executive officer. Marshall, a management veteran who has held posts at Gucci Group, Dunhill and Montblanc, recently served as ceo of developing brands at Labelux and before that was ceo of Links of London. “My big, big dream is to create a luxury brand and commercialize on the fact that I was known, globally, albeit through Diana’s dress,” said Emanuel. The designer, who launched Art of Being in 2005, had in the past taken on investment from angel investors, but said that crowd-funding would enable the company to “plan ahead.” Marshall said the label’s incarnation would span a bespoke collection, signature designs — which can be customized — and ready-to-wear. “The main investment is to put this team together,” said Marshall. He also noted that the label is likely to extend into accessories and license opportunities, such as fragrance and eyewear.
The funding launched Oct. 12, and so far almost 30,000 pounds, or $48,000 has been pledged, with until the end of this year left to achieve the label’s target. Investors can pledge 10 pounds, or $16, through to 25,000 pounds, or $40,200 and above. Marshall said the second phase of the investment, taking the funding to 1.5 million pounds, or $2.4 million, will enable the label to expand into retail next year.