Map of brands in luxury fashion, pt. 2

Fashion, News and commentaries

For the 2nd in this series of posts on mapping some brands, I’m mapping a mix of private and public companies. It was more difficult finding the exact information such as how the brands are grouped under the parent companies and their revenues so I’m grouping them mostly based on a mix of information found on the company websites as well as news features. The MaxMara maps is pretty much self-explanatory but OTB, Fast Retailing and JAB Holdings need more context

Brands map, pt.2

  1. OTB stands for Only The Brave and is a holding company chaired by Renzo Rosso, the founder of Diesel. What I find especially interesting is Staff International and Brave Kid which are production and distribution companies for brands within and outside the OTB Group. For Staff International, other than Viktor&Rolf, Maison Martin Margiela and MM6, it also has licenses for Marc Jacobs Men, DSquared2 and Vivienne Westwood Red Label. Meanwhile, Brave Kid has licenses for Diesel Kids, DSquared Kids and John Galliano Kids.
  2. Fast Retailing is based out of Japan and most well-known for the Uniqlo brand. The company was recently in the news for its rumored bid for J. Crew, which I wrote about here. The company acquired Link Theory Holdings which owns Theory and Helmut Lang brands.
  3. JAB Holdings, a private German conglomerate, is probably the  most interesting of these companies because of its seemingly small reach in fashion, having acquired brands such as Jimmy Choo; unless we examine its beauty products manufacturer, Coty. It is actually so far-reaching that I will have to devote a completely different map for it on my next post. Incidentally, the luxury brands used to be under the Labelux holding company but has since been fully integrated into JAB Holdings. JAB, which stands for Joh. A. Benckiser also owns Reckitt Benckiser, a consumer goods company that owns a range of products from Clearasil to French’s Mustard. The conglomerate also acquired Peet’s Coffee & Tea in October 2012 for $1B.

J. Crew’s rumored IPO

News and commentaries

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Back in early 2000s when I was in yachting, J. Crew was (probably still is) the go-to for the typical yachting uniform of white shirts and khakis. In a word, boring – unless preppy is the height of your sartorial taste.

Then, a few years ago in late 2010, a twenty something cousin of mine who dresses more hipster than preppy mentioned that J. Crew was her absolute favorite brand. Being in Montreal, Canada where the brand is absent meant I had to visit the store online to see what she meant.

Sure enough, the J. Crew that I knew was transformed: young, on-trend and completely wearable beyond Nantucket and the Hamptons. These changes could largely be credited to the leadership of Jenna Lyons as creative director and Millard “Mickey” Drexler as CEO. I remember Jenna Lyons as the one who wore a sweater and a maxi feather skirt to the 2011 Met Gala. If that’s not the epitome of cool and owning it kind of style, I don’t know what is. Fast forward to today and J. Crew has only grown bigger and has garnered a cult following. More importantly, that cult following translates to $2.4B in revenue last year, a 9% increase and a valuation of $5B.

If J. Crew IPO’s with the partnership of Lyons and Drexler intact, I would certainly bet on its success. But, there’s also a possibility that J. Crew is not going to IPO at all and instead get acquired at its current valuation by Japan’s Fast Retailing, the parent company of Uniqlo. Either way, it would be a nice exit for TPG Capital and Leonard Green & Partners who bought J. Crew for $2.8B in 2011. I’m wondering though, would an acquisition adversely affect J. Crew’s current leadership structure and company culture? Not to say that Fast Retailing does not know fashion. Its brands: Uniqlo, Helmut Lang, Theory, etc. have themselves good followings. Still, it would be interesting to see how this works out.