Ariel and Shimon Ovadia, CFDA Awards 2019

The pandemic has caused another fashion brand to pivot.

On Tuesday, Shimon and Ariel Ovadia, who founded the Ovadia & Sons label in 2010, sent out an email unveiling the launch of Ovadia Bros., “a fashion and consumer product creative agency.”

In a telephone interview, Ariel Ovadia said that right before the pandemic started, he and his twin brother had been on the verge of signing a partnership arrangement with Roc Nation. But when the lockdowns started, that deal was put on hold.

This set their minds in motion as they explored the future of fashion and their place in it, he said.

They started two companies — Future Planet, to create sustainable, ethically sourced apparel with a charitable component and a business with Amazon Fashion, where they design and manufacture men’s and women’s everyday basic apparel. “People want to wear simpler and cleaner pieces, not statement fashion pieces,” he said.

With that as the backdrop, they created Ovadia Bros. “We don’t see fashion coming back any time soon,” he said. So he and his brother are putting their energies into helping other companies seeking help to navigate the new normal.

He said they currently have two clients, which he declined to name, citing confidentiality agreements, and they’re working with their design teams, “filling in the blanks in merchandising and helping on the marketing side.”

The Ovadias started their brand as a tailored clothing-skewed men’s label in 2010 and grew it to a multicategory lifestyle label that was sold at some 100 key retail accounts including Barneys New York, Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue. The brand expanded its reach into more casual offerings and it was adopted by the streetwear community including many athletes, artists and pop stars.

In 2018, in a move to expand beyond the U.S., relaunch e-commerce and offer more product categories, it brought apparel industry veteran Neal Kusnetz on board as president. An extensive denim collection was introduced the next year and the brand began showing in China.

But Ariel Ovadia said Kusnetz’s position was eliminated at around the time they began negotiating with Roc Nation. And although the brand was performing well pre-pandemic, the retail closures and bankruptcies of many of its retail customers had a significant impact.

The Ovadia twins were born into the fashion business. Their father, Moshe Ovadia, a professional soccer player in his native Israel, immigrated with his family to the U.S. in the early ’90s. He founded an apparel business named Magic Kids, a mass market children’s brand, and Ariel and Shimon Ovadia were involved from a young age.

Although Ariel Ovadia didn’t rule out one day revisiting the Ovadia & Sons label, it’s not going to happen anytime soon. “This sounds strange, but for us, COVID-19 has been a huge blessing,” he said. “My life is more relaxed and I haven’t been this happy in a long time.”

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