When Coach announced that Reed Krakoff would be leaving the brand in order to to focus on his own brand by mid-2014, the company also mentioned something interesting – that they were looking to sell the Krakoff brand, perhaps to the man himself, perhaps to investors. In essence, Krakoff wouldn’t just be leaving Coach, the brand, but he’d also be leaving Coach, the company, entirely. Earlier this week, Women’s Wear Daily reported that the first element of that separation is complete.
Reed Krakoff, with the backing of a currently anonymous group of investors, has bought his label from Coach, Inc. There’s no word on the value of the transaction or if or how the sale of the brand will affect Krakoff’s potential departure date at Coach, which still remains vague, or when new creative director Stuart Vevers, late of Loewe, will start his new job. For a company as large and corporate as Coach, it strikes me as odd that the transition hasn’t been dealt with more swiftly. The entanglement of Krakoff’s brand certainly complicated things, so hopefully we can get this show on the road soon and see how Vevers affects the brand’s aesthetic.
It’ll be just as interesting, of course, to see how the separation from Coach affects Krakoff’s brand. One of the most immediate ways could be a change in manufacturing – despite their elevated price points, Krakoff’s bags are made in China, just like Coach’s. Similarly priced bags almost always boast a European manufacturing end point these days, even if many of the components passed through China at some point, and high-end customers expect the warm fuzzies of knowing that their bag was birthed on Italian soil. Now that Krakoff doesn’t have the Coach supply chain at his disposal, it would make sense to shift toward a manufacturing process that customers will perceive as more high-quality and luxurious.