A trend among small fashion labels looking to expand has emerged recently: Instead of taking outside investors or loans, brands will sell a stake of the business to their factories or manufacturers — a move that will directly impact the designer's product in a positive way, due to the resources, skills and high-end materials that will be at their immediate disposal at competitive prices. The latest partnership between a young brand and its manufacturer is No. 21, the Italian label founded by Creative Director Alessandro Dell’Acqua (who's also currently the creative lead at French label Rochas) in 2010.
First reported by WWD, No.21's parent company 2112 S.r.l announced on Tuesday that it has sold a 30 percent minority stake of the business to Italian manufacturing company, Gilmar, which is currently in charge of all distribution and production of the No. 21 label. Alessandro Dell’Acqua will remain the majority shareholder with a 70 percent stake in the company.
No. 21 says it hopes the new company structure will "further strengthen the union between the creativity of designer Alessandro Dell’Acqua and Gilmar’s outstanding expertise in the luxury/knitwear sector." It plans to expand product offerings, focus more on communications and accelerate retail expansion in both established and new markets.
No. 21 has its sights set on North America (it's currently stocked at 500 multi-brand stores around the world) and on more licensing deals in the short term. According to a statement, the brand forecasts a total sales volume of 24 million euros in 2015, up 55% over 2014, so we'll be watching to see if this new partnership is as productive as No.21 hopes it will be.