Tomoko Ogura is leaving the New York retailer with which she's become so closely associated over the past 12 years. Most recently Barneys's senior fashion director — a role she was promoted to four years ago following the departure of Amanda Brooks — Ogura is now headed to Vince, the New York-based contemporary label that's currently in turnaround mode, where she will be vice president, brand director. The brand has also brought on Terence Bogan, formerly the vice president of womenswear at Canadian department store Holt Renfrew, as senior vice president of retail. Before joining Holt Renfrew, Bogan spent 18 years at Barneys himself; Barneys is a longtime stockist of Vince.
It's been a somewhat tumultuous road for Vince since around the time it went public in November 2013. The brand has switched creative hands several times since then: In June 2014, Natalie Ratabesi replaced Doo-Ri Chung, who was let go just before the IPO. Ratabesi left at some point (we honestly can't figure out when) and the company's Chief Creative Officer Karin Gregersen had the reigns until she resigned last July. In November, Vince hired back its co-founders Rea Laccone and Christopher LaPolice, who had left in January 2013 — a decision made by the company's new-ish CEO Brendan Hoffman, who came on board last October. They've been tasked with going back to Vince's roots, product-wise. Along this road, sales have not been great.
"Late next month we will ship the first collection that recaptures the DNA of Vince, so the timing couldn't be better to have Terence and Tomoko help lead the efforts to grow the brand again," said Hoffman in a statement, adding that, “They have been long supporters of Vince and drivers of its past success in their prior roles."
Ogura will lead the marketing, public relations and creative teams, as well as work with retail partners and international business development teams to "elevate the visual presentation of Vince product across all platforms." She'll also be tasked with making sure the creative message is consistent across all categories. Bogan will work on leading the brand's direct-to-consumer retail channels. "Our mission is to create a meaningful, one-of-a-kind omni-channel experience for the consumer. This is paramount in the digital age," he said in a statement.
As the retail landscape has seen major shifts that many traditional apparel companies have found difficult to navigate, Bogan and Ogura are the latest examples of a trend towards individual brands making strategic hires from the retail sphere. In March, Italian menswear label Brioni hired Justin O'Shea — formerly the global fashion director of e-commerce site MyThersa — as its creative director. Many saw that move as a follow-up to LVMH-owned Kenzo hiring Opening Ceremony founders Carol Lim and Humberto Leon as creative directors. Of course, Ogura and Bogan's roles aren't as focused on design, but there's no doubt that their extensive experience in retail will be valuable to Vince as it works to get itself back on track.