It was announced this morning that the Japanese Cross Company has acquired a majority stake in Thom Browne. As beloved as Browne is by the industry, we've known for quite a while that he was struggling. Back in March, there were canceled orders and the possibility of bankruptcy was very real. The designer got a reprieve this summer when Cross bought 20% of the company saying "if we didn't support him now, he might have met his end." And now they've gone all in. According to WWD, plans are even in the works for Thom Browne Japan and a flagship store in Tokyo. That's a major turnaround from someone who was almost out of business mere months ago. And we're sure skinny fashion boys with a penchant for short pants are breathing a sigh of relief across the globe.
But it does beg the question (and we don't mean this as a slight to Thom Browne, who we love): how is there money out there for him and not for Christian Lacroix? Obviously there are investors out there willing to spend (and hopefully turn in proper paperwork on time.) And both are high-priced and fairly niche, which seems to eliminate a mass marketability issue. So what gives?