Congratulations, you've made it through 2016! We've already broken down some of the year's biggest fashion stories and brand turnarounds, as well as what we're most looking forward to seeing take shape within the industry over the next 12 months, and the common thread of it all has been change. With the never-ending game of creative director musical chairs, the consistent folding of magazines and the rapid declines of once-successful retailers, the industry was in a state of flux last year that we only expect to continue — especially with the 15 fashion brands we've listed below. From creative director debuts at Oscar de la Renta and Calvin Klein to the bankruptcy-fueled acquisitions of American Apparel and Nasty Gal, read on for the companies we're sure to follow closely this year.
Oscar de la Renta
At NYFW this February, Fernando Garcia and Laura Kim are slated to present their highly-anticipated debut collection for Oscar de la Renta, where they both worked for many years before launching their own line, Monse, in 2015. The American legacy brand has been in need of some fresh creativity for some time. However, Garcia may be presenting it alone if Carolina Herrera (where Kim also worked post-ODLR) wins her non-compete lawsuit against Kim and ODLR. A hearing is scheduled for Jan. 10.
In its lawsuit against Kim and ODLR, Carolina Herrera made very clear how important Kim was to the success of the label's collections — noting that the first collection she was responsible for was the brand’s most commercially successful to date. Meanwhile, Kim suggested that Herrera, the woman, was unaware of the company's plans to hire Kim to replace the namesake founder as creative director. That CH bothered to sue suggests the company is in a tough spot without her and intends to hire someone to take over the creative director role sooner rather than later.
Kate Spade & Co. ended 2016 shrouded in rumors that it might explore a sale. The latest reports say the brand plans to initiate a formal auction process later this month, with "interest from six possible bidders." In the past year, the brand has announced plans to switch to a "see now, buy now" format, expanded its successful "Missadventure" video series, and further diversified beyond handbags as it worked towards becoming a full-blown lifestyle brand.
In an announcement that shocked some more than others, Nasty Gal declared bankruptcy in November amid reports that founder Sophia Amoruso, who'd already stepped down from the CEO role, would leave the company. Later this month, UK-based, online fast-fashion company Boohoo is expected to acquire Nasty Gal for $20 million, which could mean significant international expansion and expedited production for the LA-based retailer. Though without its #girlboss founder — and with new investors to answer to — will the brand lose some of its off-beat (if not slightly controversial) cool?
Speaking of which, Boohoo is also a company to watch this year. The Nasty Gal offer indicates that the Manchester, England-based retailer is taking U.S. expansion seriously. It saw shares increase 260 percent last year while competitors suffered, leading Bloomberg to ask if it might go on to become the next Zara. Read more about the company here.
American Apparel & Gildan Activewear
While we're on the topic of bankrupt, LA-based companies, American Apparel is now in a similar boat to Nasty Gal. Later this month, the long-struggling retailer, which has declared bankruptcy twice now, will officially be acquired by Canadian company Gildan Activewear Inc. — AA's intellectual property assets, that is — for $66 million. No significant details have emerged in terms of what Gildan plans to do with AA; despite both focusing on basics and screen-printing, the two companies have very different brand images. It will certainly be interesting to see how they influence each other.
The husband-wife duo behind Brock Collection, Laura Vassar and Kristopher Brock, won the prestigious $400,000 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund last year. The women's casual-luxury line quickly became an industry favorite after launching in 2013, and we expect to see its profile grow significantly in the coming year.
Last summer, the designer brand most associated with French cool girls (and those who aspire to be them) took on outside investment for the first time, selling a majority stake to the investment fund Montefiore. Expect many store openings and expansion into new categories in 2017.
One of the biggest questions people are asking as Donald Trump prepares to enter the White House is how his and his family's business ventures will be handled without any conflicts of interest arising. This includes daughter Ivanka's women's apparel and accessories line, which she has been criticized for promoting while on the campaign trail. Though Ivanka won't be president (or have a "formal" role in her father's administration), she'll still need to separate her business dealings from her political ones as she and her husband prepare to move to D.C. and she potentially fights for childcare legislation. As for how her brand perception has been impacted by the election, one study claims it has actually improved — so this could all mean growth for the Ivanka Trump brand, even if Ivanka herself takes a step back.
Last June, Adidas announced plans to take its super-successful Yeezy collaboration to the next level with an expanded, long-term partnership that involves a dedicated team and special retail hubs. Fans can expect the brand to make big moves this year, assuming West's controversial Yeezy Season 4 show, apparent mental breakdown and hospitalization, and affiliations with Donald Trump haven't soured the deal in the months since.
Raf, Raf, Raf. In one of fashion's most highly anticipated designer debuts ever, Simons will present his vision for iconic American brand Calvin Klein during NYFW in February. The show will include both men's and women's apparel and accessories, and unlike past creative directors, Simons has full creative control over the whole company — from marketing and branding to home goods, denim, and underwear — so expect a 360-degree reimagining of the nearly-50-year-old label.
After selling a majority stake in her business to Renzo Rosso's Only the Brave in 2012, Marni founder Consuelo Castiglioni announced last October that she and her family were leaving the brand in a "personal decision." Creative direction is now in the hands of Prada alum Francesco Risso, and we'll soon see if he can fill the beloved designer's shoes.
Donna Karan International
Last year was a tumultuous one for Donna Karan International. LVMH sold the company to G-III, which announced plans to restructure and expand the company, including relaunching the designer line Donna Karan Collection. This lead to the departures of CEO Caroline Brown and Public School's Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne, who were creative directors of DKNY for just three seasons. G-III's CEO has said he plans to double the overall business within the next three years.
American Apparel's ousted founder has been hard at work in the South Central area of Los Angeles on another USA-made basics brand. Save for an online photo series, the brand has kept details under wraps, but will presumably launch publicly in 2017 following a $10 million investment this past fall.
Band of Outsiders
September 2016 marked the debut of Band of Outsiders 2.0 without its founder Scott Sternberg — three Belgian designers were hired to replace him — and February 2017 will mark the debut of Band of Outsiders 3.0. This time around, the Belgians are out; a new version of the line will be created by Brand Director Daniel Hettmann and London-based designer Angelo Van Mol. It will be comprised of only men's clothing, and will be shown during New York Fashion Week: Men's.