Their purchase has just been finalized, and Sonia Rykiel’s new owners are starting with social media as they set out to breathe new life into the label, which has been shuttered since last July.
“In this current context, we wish to focus and mobilize our efforts on the reopening of the brand’s social media that already have a large community,” said Eric Dayan and Michael Dayan, citing the historic label’s 450,000 Instagram followers, 140,000-strong Twitter following and 90,000 Facebook followers.
“We want to share the messages of support we have received for the brand, and convey its uniting and inspiring key values,” the brothers said in a joint statement. The siblings have experience in retail and online commerce as founding members of Showroomprive.com, an online private sales business for branded goods that started in 2006.
Stressing interest in preserving the brand’s heritage while focusing on modernity and creativity, the brothers hope to revive the house through their purchase of the intellectual rights of Sonia Rykiel and Rykiel Homme as well the sister line, Sonia by Sonia Rykiel, encompassing fashion, fragrance, beauty and lifestyle categories. The Dayans said the coronavirus crisis has caused them to postpone presenting details of their relaunch plans, but noted they are thinking hard about the artistic direction and cited knitwear as an emphasis.
Reopening social media, by the end of this week, will serve as a link with brand followers in the meantime, they suggested.
The famous knitwear label, which is closely associated with its late, fiery-haired founder Sonia Rykiel, known as the “Queen of Knits,” captured the lively, liberated spirit of the French capital’s intellectual Left Bank, with signature stripes that carried broad appeal.
The house struggled to find its footing in recent years, despite strong heritage and approval from fashion critics for collections by its last designer, Julie de Libran, symbolizing the challenges facing smaller labels in the highly competitive apparel industry. The rise of digital commerce has brought on the need for deep investments in technology and infrastructure, and larger fashion groups are better equipped, with high marketing budgets and leverage for negotiating prime real estate. The coronavirus crisis, which has brought much of the industry to a standstill, is further complicating the environment for fashion companies.
The brand’s previous owner, Fung Brands, which had bought the brand from the founding family in 2012, invested hundreds of millions of euros into the house, including 50th anniversary celebrations throughout 2018.
They sought a buyer for the label in early 2019, but by April it had entered receivership and was liquidated last July. Assets were then put up for sale, and the Dayan brothers emerged as winners of a bidding contest in November led by court-appointed liquidators Fides and Montravers Yang-Ting who were advised by Richard Morgan Advisory that had drawn international interest.
The pair said they would draw on their experience in the fashion industry and the digital realm to ensure the label will have a presence in France and abroad.