Derek Lam is celebrating his independence. Since 2008, the majority of his successful brand has been owned by London-based luxury goods group Labelux, which announced today that it's sold Derek Lam back to its founders, Lam and CEO Jan-Hendrik Schlottmann.
According to a release from Labelux (who also own Bally, Belstaff and Jimmy Choo), the sale is part of a refocusing plan. "We have taken a strategic decision to refocus our activity on luxury leather goods and shoes," the luxury group's CEO Reinhard Mieck said. "We wish Derek and Jan well as we return the leadership into their capable hands."
Derek Lam seems pleased with his label's new independence. In a statement he said:
Jan and I are excited to assume sole leadership of the company and are grateful to all of our employees and partners for their talent and hard work in getting us to this point. We would like to thank Labelux for its support and strategic guidance over the last four years, allowing the Company to develop and affirm its position as a leading fashion brand in the global luxury market. Now, we look forward to our continued growth and to the many exciting possibilities ahead of us.
Lam's partnership with Labelux has proven to be a productive one--in the past few years, Lam has launched a diffusion line, shoes, handbags, and eyewear--but one that Lam doesn't really need anymore, it seems. He recently won a Fashion Group International award and designed a lower-priced line for Kohl's set to hit stores next spring. Plus, he's dressed the first lady a couple of times and now that she'll have four more years in the public eye, he'll likely have the opportunity to do so again.
The move is the latest instance of a mini-trend we're seeing of designers buying back their own labels, like Adam Lippes from Kellwood, and Kenneth Cole going private. Plus, we're always hearing about designers getting frustrated with corporations and shareholders these days, so we wouldn't be surprised to see more designers going the sole-ownership route in the future.