- Kristopher Fraser |
New York - Alexander Wang may have just left Balenciaga, but the young and gifted designer still has his very successful namesake label to nurture and grow. According to several market sources, Wang may have found an investment partner to help him grow his increasingly popular luxury label that has already won the hearts of the fashion industry. General Atlantic, the New York-based equity growth firm headed by CEO William Ford, is in talks with Alexander Wang to potentially become his investment partner.
The amount of the company that would be sold or how much investment General Atlantic is considering making is being kept tightly under wraps. Ford is very connected to the fashion industry being the husband of former Saks Fifth Avenue president Marigay McKee. He also serves on the board of Tory Burch.
General Electric's portfolio also includes Gilt Groupe, Too Faced, Airbnb, Vox Media, Buzzfeed, and Alibaba. Wang seeking out an investor to grow his own namesake label is presumed to be the reason that he left Kering-owned Balenciaga. Both sides agreed that his contract for the fashion house would not be renewed, which sent the fashion industry rippling with shock.
Alexander Wang reported to be in talks with General Atlantic for investment deal
Wang's last collection for Balenciaga will be sent down the runway on October 2 during Paris Fashion Week. A new creative director is expected to be announced in the next several months. “It’s been an incredible experience to work with a couture house in Paris. I am honored to have had the opportunity to work for this historical maison. I would like to thank the brilliant team at Balenciaga for their collaboration and for what we have accomplished together, and I am looking forward to taking my own brand to its next level of growth,” Wang said in a statement.
Wang began working at Balenciaga in 2012 after former creative director Nicholas Ghesquiere left after 15 years to join Louis Vuitton. Wang completely changed the direction of the fashion house using a lot of black and white in his collections, creating a more conservative but very chic and edgy Balenciaga. Sales for Balenciaga have done well under his tenure as creative director.
Wang's own namesake label has been independently own and family run since its inception, but, he has stated in the past he intended to seek an investor and further expand the business one day. Currently, the Alexander Wang brand is worth over 100 million dollars and is sold at 700 points of distribution around the world. The brand's main focus right now is building their infrastructure, retail, human resources, and corporate offices in New York, Paris, and Hong Kong to help further their growth.
After Wang opened his Paris office in 2014, the company's market share shifted to 60 percent European and 40 percent domestic. The UK is one of their biggest foreign markets, followed by China, Italy, and Canada. Last Saturday, August 1, Wang opened his biggest branded flagship to date in London's Mayfair neighborhood.
While Wang is still riding on his growing success and establishing his staying power as a fashion design titan, Balenciaga still seems to have no idea who his successor will be. They are considering going with a lesser known designer in the way Gucci chose Alessandro Michele as Frida Giannini's successor, and many fashion industry professionals think this could be an excellent idea. However, this has made this round of fashion designer musical chairs all the more difficult.
Interested in reading more about FashionUnited's predictions for Wang's successor? Then read further at: Who's next at Balenciaga?