Proenza Schouler buy back their own house
Proenza Schouler has bought control of its own house from Castanea Partners, in the latest change of ownership of the avant-garde New York fashion house. As part of the move, the house will also radically overhaul its senior management team, with both the current CEO and CFO departing.
The change in control marks the fifth significant ownership structure in a decade and a half at the admired downtown Manhattan fashion marque. Though backed by every editor of note in fashion, Proenza Schouler has been something of a financial merry-go-round.
The founding design duo of "Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez together with a new group of private investors, have bought back Proenza Schouler in its entirety. Additionally, a significant round of fresh capital has been raised during this process for the purpose of investing in the company’s growth and development strategies,” the house said in a press release.
“We are thrilled to embark on this new, very exciting chapter of Proenza Schouler and are delighted about the team of industry leaders we have assembled who, together with us, will help drive the business to its full potential,” said the duo in the statement.
This new capital injection “will enable the brand to expand globally by focusing on its core businesses of luxury ready-to-wear, leather goods and (diffusion line) PSWL, and well as continuing to support its existing licensing partners L’Oreal and Onward Luxury Group.”
Founded in 2002 by the two Parsons School of Design graduates McCollough and Hernandez, Proenza Schouler is called after the maiden names of the pair’s mothers.
Few fledgling NYC houses have ever received as much critical acclaim. Proenza Schouler won the inaugural CFDA Vogue Fashion Fund award in 2004; and the CFDA Womenswear Designer of the Year three times in 2007, 2011 and 2013. Their recent two-season stint showing couture in Paris also received rave reviews.
However, the house’s artistic prowess has never really been matched by commercial success. They were initially backed by a German coffee house chain owner, before Valentino Fashion Group acquired a 45-percent stake in 2007. Four years later, a new team of investors, including Andrew Rosen and John Howard became partners; before Castanea Partners took a minority stake and installed Judd Crane as CEO in 2015.
The fashion house added that both CEO Judd Crane and CFO John Paolicelli will both step down, effective immediately. They will be replaced by Kay Hong and Jonathan Friedman; while Mary Wang comes on board as chief operating officer.
Hong is a retail industry veteran, who was most recently CEO of Torrid Inc, while Wang was most recently executive vice president of Alexander Wang, after spending 20 years at Calvin Klein.
Friedman, who has been consulting with Proenza Schouler for several months, is a veteran CFO, though not well known in fashion or luxury.
Perhaps, finally, after opening a tiny brand in a shabby Chinatown at the start of the century, the duo will finally build a major global brand.
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