NEW YORK — Rosa Chá designer Amir Slama is leaving the company he founded 21 years ago. Alexandre Herchcovitch, a Brazilian designer who was recommended by Slama for the job, will become the brand’s creative director.

This story first appeared in the May 15, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

A swimwear company with rarified styles such as jewel-like necklaces on tops, embroidery with ropes and shells and elaborate patchworks of fabric, Rosa Chá had worldwide sales of $20 million in 2008. Prices range from $200 to $650 for bathing suits. The company operates 22 stores in Brazil, plus units in Lisbon and Istanbul, and opened its first Manhattan location on SoHo’s West Broadway in August.

“Of course, I will continue to produce my collection,” said Herchcovitch. “In the past I worked for two other labels in Brazil. I always like to work for a lot of companies. It’s good for me as a person and a professional to work with other people.”

Herchcovitch, who designs both men’s and women’s lines, said he doesn’t plan to radically change Rosa Chá’s style. “I plan to keep the Rosa Chá DNA,” he said. “Rosa Chá is the most important beachwear label. Of course I’m going to follow Amir’s lead.”

“Rosa Chá was the first to bring fashion to the beach,” Slama said. “I was the first to introduce prêt-à-porter to beachwear, pieces that bring you out of the beach to the city and back to the beach with style. Rosa Chá has always been highly influenced by the Brazilian culture.”

Three years ago, Slama sold a 75 percent stake in his company to Marisol S.A. Recently, he decided to sell his remaining stake. “I finished the summer collection and I’m going to start a new project,” he said. “For sure, I will stay in the fashion business. In three to six months, I will start to develop the Amir Slama swimwear brand.” Slama has been guest lecturing at Cambridge University and has other irons in the fire, including a consulting gig with Lejaby for swimwear, and an invitation to develop a line for a Brazilian department store.

Herchcovitch, who starts his position at Rosa Chá on Monday, said his first collection will be winter 2010.