Oak's Founders Repurchased Their Brand from American Apparel

The latest in the American Apparel Saga.
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Eliza Brooke
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The latest in the American Apparel Saga.
A look from Oak's women's collection. Photo: Oak

A look from Oak's women's collection. Photo: Oak

Throughout all of American Apparel's financial woes and ownership battles over the past year, it's been easy to forget that the Los Angeles-based basics brand wasn't the only label whose future was at stake — there was also Oak, the small boutique chain that American Apparel acquired in 2013. On Thursday, Bloomberg reported that Oak's founders, with an outside investment group, have repurchased the brand during its bankruptcy proceedings for less than $600,000. The deal took place on Jan. 19, a rep for Oak confirmed.

Oak founders Jeff Madalena and Louis Terline said in a statement that they started talking about an exit when American Apparel came under new management and the resources available to them grew more limited. Since they maintained creative control of Oak after the 2013 acquisition, its aesthetic vision won't change much moving forward, they noted, and the brand's 30-person team will stay on through the transition. In addition to selling its own drapey, neutrals-heavy collection, Oak stocks a mix of labels including Comme des Garçons, Ksubi and Costume National.

A rep for American Apparel declined to comment when reached Friday. Most recently, the brand gained court approval to exit Chapter 11 bankruptcy and become privately held once again; with this decision, the court also rejected American Apparel founder Dov Charney's takeover bid.