NEW YORK — Haute Hippie’s trip is continuing with fashion veteran Robert Feinberg as president.
Under Feinberg the company plans to continue to grow its retail and creative organizations and expand its network of wholesale accounts.
“It’s good to be a hippie,” Feinberg told WWD on Monday, his first day on the job. “We’re building a brand with integrity that we do not want to see on sale, we want to see it sold at regular price.”
Feinberg acknowledged that it’s been a tough time for the market.
“We’re not giving the customer the product that they want to buy at regular price,” he said, speaking broadly of the contemporary market. “Brands from overseas have been doing it better than we have and I think it’s a matter of giving newness. We’re not the first area of the store that’s going through this.”
The solution is simple, as Feinberg sees it.
“It’s a fresh approach to the product offering,” he said. “We don’t have to reinvent the wheel here. The woman wants the product. She hasn’t been getting it. The goal is to give her that.”
He brings with him a full Rolodex and plenty of experience. For the past two decades Feinberg has been chief executive officer of Kay Unger New York, a dress line he started after building brands at Gillian and AJ Bari.
Feinberg’s arrival marks the continuing evolution of the brand, which was acquired last year by Hilco Global, luxury distributor Madaluxe and licensing firm Earthbound.
Haute Hippie was founded by Trish Wescoat Pound in 2008 and quickly found a place in the market with its sexy, travel-ready styles. But the company, which managed to thrive even though it launched into a major recession, ran into hard times as the contemporary market struggled. It built up a small network of stores that has since been closed.
The new owners hired Cady Vaccaro, a former senior design director at Alice + Olivia, as creative director last fall.
“Our brand inspiration reflects the values of empowered women with a strong sense of style,” Vaccaro said. “The look leverages the brand’s original aesthetic while bringing in newness with great new fabrications and shapes.”
Vaccaro said the brand has taken unusual approaches to some looks; for instance, cutting leather into strips and weaving a jacket or using four different prints on one garment.
Haute Hippie is sold in more than 350 U.S. doors, including Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Nordstrom, and has a presence in more than 50 countries.
Hilco and crew are now looking to expand that base. The investment group has plans to aggressively support the brand and build revenue streams through strategic initiatives, including new designs, an omnichannel sales strategy, licensing and additional marketing.
Adam Freede, ceo of Madaluxe and operating partner for Haute Hippie said, “The brand is well positioned in the marketplace, which has really allowed us to attract top retail management and design talent.”
Jeffrey Hecktman, chairman and ceo of Hilco, added, “We are sending a clear signal to the marketplace that Haute Hippie will continue to be a leader in the women’s contemporary space.”