Arnold Brant Silverstone has resigned as creative director of Samuelsohn.
Silverstone, a respected men’s wear designer who was the creator of the Arnold Brant label and had also served as design director for Nordstrom’s tailored clothing, joined the Montreal-based brand nearly a decade ago as president. He was tasked with revitalizing the venerable label following its acquisition that year by Grano Retail Holdings, a Canada-based investment and advisory company headed by Stephen Granovsky.
In 2013, Grano acquired all the tangible assets of the Hickey Freeman brand and Silverstone also took over the role of chief designer of the brand, whose trademark is owned by Authentic Brands Group. Silverstone stepped back from that role around two years ago, but continued to oversee the design of the Samuelsohn collection.
In a meeting with WWD on Wednesday, Silverstone said the decision to leave was his own. “I was not pushed, I was not encouraged,” he said. “In May, I will have been there 10 years and I’m very proud of what we achieved.” He said he polished the formerly “dusty” Samuelsohn brand, which is nearly 100 years old, and re-branded it to have a more modern aesthetic. “We refreshed it and the business more than doubled in five years,” he said.
He made similar strides with Hickey Freeman while he was working on that brand. Hickey, which celebrated its 120th anniversary last year, has had a number of challenges over the years, including stints in bankruptcy court and a number of ownership changes. Most recently its retail store in Brookfield Place in lower Manhattan closed after three years.
Granovosky said he had a “great relationship” with Silverstone over the past decade and wished him well in his next chapter. He said the company, which had initially experienced great growth, has stumbled a bit in recent years but he has a gameplan to turn around its fortunes. “We need to expand in channels that are non-traditional by doubling down on custom, which is the only thing doing well for specialty stores, and entering new categories successfully, which we haven’t done. We need to invest our merchandising resources in new ways. It’s time to take a fresh approach.”
For Silverstone, he’s eager to draw on his multi-faceted experience for his next role. “I love to create product and build businesses,” he said. While most designers stick to strictly creating collections, he also oversaw sales, financial performance and marketing. His last collection for Samuelsohn is fall 2020, which was shown to retailers this week.
“Even though the business is challenging and the retail market is not easy, I’m ready for a new challenge,” he said. “It’s not like I want to retire.” And although he hasn’t lined up his next project, he said he’s open to any and all possibilities. “I may consult with many brands — or one — or even start a new brand,” he said. “I’m not sure what I’ll do.”
Aliya Morehead, who had been vice president of design and merchandising for Hickey Freeman, will now take on the creative role for Samuelsohn, Granovsky said. “Samuelsohn will become Aliya’s primary focus and we are adding merchandising resources in Hickey Freeman which she will continue to oversee,” he said.
Grano also acquired other men’s brands including Culturata sportswear and Lipson Shirtmakers, and created the Luxury Men’s Apparel Group division to house the labels.