Maria recently looked into whether designers should name their labels after themselves, given the challenges that can arise when the founder leaves and the brand lives on. But with Band of Outsiders, it's become clear that such challenges can arise regardless of the brand's name.
To members of the industry at least, the 11-year-old, L.A.-based clothing label is so linked to its founder Scott Sternberg — from the aesthetic of the clothes to the genius branding that surrounded them — that to continue operating the label without him almost doesn't make sense. But that's what is happening.
As we reported back in May, the company laid off staff and cancelled fall orders after being unable to pay off debts to Belgian holding company CLCC. Sternberg later confirmed that he had cut all ties with the brand he founded; and now, CLCC has confirmed to WWD that it plans to fully resurrect Band of Outsiders and bring it to retail for spring 2017, still without Sternberg.
Before its debt issues came to light, Band of Outsiders seemed by all accounts to be doing well. In addition to its standalone stores in Tokyo and New York, the label had impressive wholesale partners like Barneys, Opening Ceremony, Saks, Nordstrom and many more — not to mention its cult following of fashion insiders and "cool" Hollywood types, like Aziz Ansari, Frank Ocean and Kirsten Dunst, many of whom starred in the brand's beloved look books, shot on Polaroid film by Sternberg. CLCC, it seems, hopes to return it to that level, telling WWD it has hired "a collective of ambitious, highly skilled fashion designers as well as merchandisers, graphic designers and key support staff," with the intention to "have our collections present in the best international boutiques, but with a strong anchor in Los Angeles." Meanwhile, a source told the trade that former employees declined job offers out of loyalty to Sternberg.
Whether retailers will be interested in BOO sans Sternberg is another story. But for now, there's still a decent selection of the brand's old inventory for sale at Filene's Basement (with items more than 50 percent off) if you want to snap up his designs before they're gone for good — or he launches a new brand.
Homepage photo from Band of Outsiders' fall 2015 look book.