2012 is shaping up to be a year of (attempted) revival for fashion brands. The latest? Ungaro. Almost exactly a year after it was announced that Giles Deacon, Ungaro's most recent short-lived creative director, had left the company, followed by CEO Jeffrey Aronsson and other advisors, WWD reports that a new team has taken the reigns with plans to return the label to the runway next season. The new creative director?
Another question the Fashionista team is often asked, mostly by design students: "What does it take to launch my own label?" Well, it takes a lot of hard work, talent, and yes...money. The big problem: There aren't a ton of investors willing to put down cash on a new designer. As one serial investor once explained to me, "Fashion is a risky business. But it's not as sexy as film. Sometimes, people are lured by the glamor, but in general, the return on investment is so unlikely, most aren't willing to take the risk." In the movies, on the other hand, investors will still probably get to hang out with the star--even if the film doesn't make any real bank. So what's a young designer to do? Working for a bigger label is always an option. Adam Lippes worked at Polo Ralph Lauren for years before launching his own label. Chris Benz worked at J.Crew. Richard Chai worked at Marc Jacobs and Donna Karan. Loans from friends and family always help, but we understand that's not viable for most. Another way to do it? Get one of the few investors who do spend money on younger brands to notice you. Now, we're not advocating knocking down these people's doors. And you're probably going to have to come up with your own money to establish the company initially. But doing good work and networking should get you closer to your goal. Here are 10 companies/people known for investing in younger brands.